Global travel and tourism has more than 10-doubled over the last 50 years from 100 million international arrivals in 1968 to more than a billion in 2018, and it is projected to almost double again over the next 15 years. All this time, destinations have fought for their share of the action. Destinations have been pursuing and celebrating growth in bednights as the golden measure of success - as an indicator of the city's progress and prosperity. The more, the merrier, let it boom as long as they consume!
But as the impact of climate change and over-tourism is becoming more evident, so is the doubt and hesitation in our industry and communities. As the Western societies navigate times of migration crisis, digital polarization, cultural divides and rising social inequality, pursuit of more tourism as a policy for public good, seem to slip rank on the urban agenda. City marketing, as we know it, might seem obsolete.
Speaking about the next ECM International Conference, Dieter Hardt-Stremayr, ECM President, said: "Maybe it is time to ask what tourism can do for the city, and not just what the city can do for more tourism? Maybe it is time to ask the big and brave question: WHY we do, what we do as DMOs? For this conference we invite our members and others in the industry to discuss, how we can make tourism matter again, and how tourism can give back to the city. We will debate how tourism might help cities tackle the challenges of integration of immigrants, how tourism can help re-generate neighbourhoods or re-vitalize our struggling retail communities. Together we will elaborate the true legacy of scientific conferences and popular events. Let's talk about tourism as a means to a greater goal, and not a goal in itself."
Keynote speaker is Doug Lansky, Travel Writer, Author and Destination Advisor. He will ask an important question: "Why more?", Why do destinations always want more tourism? Do we really want the visitor economy to be 100% of our GDP? Lansky says NO, instead we need to ask how our communities can benefit from tourism, and how DMOs can create real value for both visitors and the city.
Participants will get the latest from ECM Member cities such as Antwerp, Copenhagen andStockholm but also from companies like, Burson-Marsteller Sport, Conscious Travel, Curbed, For the Love of Place, GenderAvenger, Magda Hotel Vienna and Plastic Whale, and from ECM Partners like Destinations International, Eurail Group, GainingEdge, MCI Group, TCI Research, The Iceberg Project and Toposophy.
The conference will be co-moderated by Petra Stusek, ECM Vice-President Leisure & Tourism and CEO of Visit Ljubljana and Peter Rømer Hansen, Founder and CEO of Rømer Agency.
More information and complete programme can be found on: