Driving Positive Impact at the City Destinations Alliance 2023 Autumn Conference

The CityDNA Autumn Conference will offer optimism in a cynical world, urging attendees to believe in positive change and take part in shaping a better future.

25th Sep, 2023

From October 3-7, 2023, the GDS-Forum and City Destinations Alliance Autumn Conference will unite forward-thinkers and visionaries in pursuit of sustainable urban tourism and experiencing with positive impact for urban destinations.

The 2023 GDS-Forum will rise above conventional boundaries by not only discussing transformation from the outside but also catalysing change from within. Sustainable leadership, collaboration, and innovation will become the cornerstones of the forum’s discourse.

City Destinations Alliance Autumn Conference: Unveiling Destination Positive

In April 2023, City Destinations Alliance unveiled its mission of “Welcoming WeGeneration“, accompanying in a new era of net-positive tourism for Europe’s urban destinations. This mission will take flight in October as participants converge in Valencia to explore the ongoing work of WeGeneration — a collaborative endeavour aimed at driving positive impact and transformation.

Building Blocks for Destination Positive

Attendees will transition from addressing challenges to fostering positive change through collective action. This includes exploring the Solarpunk movement, which promotes the right optimism, imagination, and creative vision for a hopeful future, as discussed by Rhys Williams, a Senior Lecturer at the University of Glasgow. Additionally, Professor Xavier Font from the University of Surrey will highlight the significance of decarbonisation in shaping a positive future, comparing long-haul and short-haul strategies. These sessions address mindset shifts and essential strategies for a thriving future.

Creating People-Positive Destinations

The Conference will focus on crafting socially sustainable cities, exploring urban belonging, sensory experiences, and diversity. The central question: How to design people-positive destinations? David Allison, Founder of The Valuegraphics Project, will introduce value-based approaches for building positive communities and turning human values into data. Sofie Burgos-Thorsen, an Industrial PhD Fellow at Aalborg University, will discuss mapping the sense of belonging and lived experiences in cities. Alison Brooks, Vice President of Destination Experience & Advocacy at Visit Mesa, will share how Visit Mesa became an autism-certified city and developed sensory destination experiences for inclusivity.

Tech Positive Cities: A Glimpse into the Future

The exploration will examine how technology can reshape cities and destinations. Session will focus on the positive potential of AI and advanced algorithms for participatory urban planning and co-design, led by Damiano Cerrone, Co-Founder of UrbanistAI, aiming to shift the narrative from fear to excitement about technology’s role in our future.

Build better Cities with Community and Culture

This session will explore culture and community as vital components of city life. Shain Shapiro, Founder of Sound Diplomacy & Center for Music Ecosystems, will discuss music’s impact on urban life. Csaba Faix, CEO of Budapest Brand, will talk about community engagement through Budapest Tuning, citizen-initiated events. Anne-Signe Fagereng, Director of Marketing at VisitOSLO, will highlight the synergy between culture, community, and tourism, including unplanned attractions that transform cities.

Empowering Resident Well-being through Regenerative Development

The conference will conclude with a discussion on regenerative development and resident well-being, led by Chris Armstrong and Peter Jordan from TOPOSOPHY highlighting how regenerative practices shape thriving communities with practical strategies.

From Dream to Reality: Building Towards Destination Possible

The City Destinations Alliance Autumn Conference 2023 will offer optimism in a cynical world, urging attendees to believe in positive change and take part in shaping a better future.

Participants will also get the chance to hear from other members and destinations (Amsterdam, Barcelona, Bologna, Bolzano, Copenhagen, Flanders, Florence, Glasgow, Gothenburg, Hamburg, Helsinki, Ljubljana, Mechelen, Valencia, Vienna) as well as CityDNA partners and collaborators (ForwardKeys, Mabrian Technologies, Modul University Vienna, Place Generation, Simpleview, The Data Appeal Company) and other companies (#MEET4IMPACT, RIFF Restaurant, Teejit, ÜberQuell Hamburg).

About the event, Petra Stušek, President of City Destinations Alliance states: “Among the background of global challenges, we gather in Valencia for the GDS-Forum and City Destinations Alliance Autumn Conference 2023 with a resounding pledge: to embrace optimism and unite in collective action. Our mission, ‘Building Blocks for Destination Positive,’ transforms negativity into hope, and we believe in the power of WeGeneration to shape better cities and destinations. Let us shift our focus from problems to solutions, from obstacles to opportunities, and together, we can turn the dream of Destination Positive into our shared reality.”

The conference will be moderated by Signe Jungersted and Peter Rømer Hansen from Group NAO.

The programme is specifically curated for leisure and business tourism professionals. Registrations are open until September 28, at City Destinations Alliance 

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