15 destinations have already joined new initiative: AI Opener for Destinations – a collaborative learning programme and curious exploration of generative AI as it unfolds in the landscape of global travel, tourism and destinations, and impacts the focus, functions, and competencies of DMOs and CVBs.

AI Opener for Destinations is not solely about realising the potentials and promises of AI for organisational efficiency and innovation. It is also about understanding how best to prepare your DMO strategically and ethically for the impact of this technological shift.  

New research by Group NAO and City Destinations Alliance shows that 3 in 4 destination professionals say AI is NOT a strategic priority in their organisation. Just as many (72%) say their organisation is NOT prepared to adopt AI tools and platforms, and the data also clearly reveals early divides within DMOs in adoption and approaches to AI in the workplace.

This is why, we are now launching AI Opener for Destinations. The programme is relevant to any destination – urban, rural, national, regional – that wants to empower its organisation with updated insights, inspiration, new tools, policies, and ethical guidelines in the deployment of AI technologies across all functions of the DMO. The goal of the programme is to enable and support the DMO in developing their own AI strategies and gain the full creative and organisational potential of AI, whilst also preparing for the ethical challenges that come with it.

The programme is developed and initiated by Group NAO and launched in association with City Destinations Alliance. Over the next 12 months, the programme partner destinations and expert advisors will deploy a wide range of case studies, masterclasses and learning labs, hands-on demos and prompt school, bootcamp, research – and ongoing output such as cheat sheets, guidelines and news updates. All customised to the world and work of DMOs.


The 15 destination partners that have joined the programme all share the awareness that AI is not business as usual and new capabilities and guidelines are needed:

  • AI represents a transformative leap in travel and tourism:   The partners recognise that the future relevance and value creation of the DMO and CVBs may well depend on the ability to work with AI as a co-pilot to destination marketing, content production, visitor management, sustainable development, event planning, audience segmentation, data analysis, and much more.
  • A fast-moving target: The speed at which new AI tools and platforms are launched is breathtaking. New developments come up daily, and with it also new and urgent concerns. We are waking up to a world of deepfakes and misinformation, which brings along an urgent need for strengthened AI stewardship. This could very well become a paramount role for DMOs in the future, but also a call for collective action and positioning. We need responsible, curious exploration, and we need to get our hands into the machine to stay relevant – locally and globally.
  • We are better together: The partners in this programme are committed to learn together by sharing, experimenting and collaborating. We will share best practices, deploy joint research and we will call on leading experts and innovators to guide and demonstrate along the way. As part of that, we have a panel of confirmed experts who will advise progress throughout the full programme.



Together with City Destinations Alliance, Group NAO recently launched the first comprehensive survey of how destination professionals perceive the future with Gen AI and its impact on DMOs and CVBs. We surveyed more than 210 destination professionals in the autumn of 2023 and found a profound paradox:

Whilst the vast majority of professionals are convinced that AI is coming with great promise of transformation and increased efficiency to their workplace, they also find their own organisations are both unprepared and without strategic priority of AI. At the same time, there is clear evidence of divides and potential organisational disparities when it comes to the familiarity and usage of AI tools. This is also reflected in early evidence of a gender gap in AI adoption and familiarity. The first results from the survey show…


  • DMOs are generally unprepared: Only 12% of surveyed destination professionals believe their organisation is ready for the coming of Gen AI.
  • Curious, but without strategy: Only 26% of destination professionals say that AI is a high strategic priority. This is despite the fact that more than 7 in 10 respondents say they are curious about the new opportunities of Gen AI, and almost 6 in 10 think that AI will have a positive impact on their work life.
  • Mind the gaps: Among surveyed destination professionals, 53% of men say they are very or somewhat familiar with Gen AI, but only 30% of women say the same. Meanwhile, 48% of men feel optimistic about AI, whilst only 17% of women share the same sentiment. However, 86% of women indicate that they feel curious about AI.



The AI Opener for Destinations programme is taking off in January 2024, and we will soon close the partner circle. However, dear AI curious DMO, RTO, NTO or City Tourism Department, we still have some open spots – so reach out to Programme Lead Magnus Hessbo on magnus@groupnao.com.