With this Call for Speakers, we are starting programming for the upcoming conference of European Cities Marketing on September 23 – 24 2021. The theme of the conference is: THIS IS NOT A TOURISM CONFERENCE.

WHY? Because the future of tourism is about much more than tourism – and with this conference, European Cities Marketing in association with Group NAO invites ECM members, destination and tourism professionals to seek above and beyond tourism to inspire our industry’s future.

THIS IS NOT A TOURISM CONFERENCE, because we want to remind ourselves to look outside our industry echo chamber – reinforced by our SoMe feeds, our inboxes, the reports we read, and in the tourism conferences, where we meet. With this conference, we want to deliberately expose ourselves to inspiration beyond tourism – for purpose, new solutions and understanding.

To give you an idea: What can MICE professionals learn from streaming services? What can destinations learn from the F&B industry on circular economy? What can the fashion industry teach us about responsible marketing? Or airlines about consumer loyalty? How can nature inspire new destination designs? What can we learn from lifestyle retail about user involvement? … and much more.

THIS IS NOT A TOURISM CONFERENCE, because tourism and visitors are increasingly fluid concepts; as we have become involuntary tourists in our own home, as we shift between work and leisure while holidaying, as we tune into an international conference from our living room, as we are technologically enabled to experience places on insider terms, as the attractions are increasingly non-touristic or as negative perceptions of tourists make us want to appear as anything but.

What are the longer-term consumer and traveller trends post-COVID? How will this shape the experiences, services, and destinations in demand? Will we continue to shy away from crowds? How will localism develop as we are again allowed to travel abroad? And what is the post-COVID sentiment towards tourism?

THIS IS NOT A TOURISM CONFERENCE, because we will not only seek inspiration outside our industry, we will also address the broader needs of our destinations and cities:  Over the past years, we have seen a paradigm shift in focus from tourism as a goal in itself to tourism as a means, as a resource to building better and thriving cities – more specifically in terms of job creation for diverse groups, technological innovation, cultural offerings, community resilience and place making, heritage protection, social inclusion, public transportation etc.

How can tourism add value to this broader context? What and how, precisely, can DMOs make a difference? And how does this impact the long-term relevance of the DMO and of tourism to industry stakeholders? To residents? And to policy and decision makers?

If you have something to share, for example a case or initiative, a new and different strategy, relevant insights and research, an approach or methodology, or a fresh perspective to share on any of these questions, we would love to get your proposal to speak.

With this Call for Speakers, ECM in association with Group NAO invites speakers both within and outside the tourism and hospitality sector to share your ideas and suggestions. We invite member DMOs, knowledge partners, experts and thought leaders within and outside tourism to help us unfold why THIS IS NOT A TOURISM CONFERENCE.

The conference will be virtual, September 23-24, 2021. If you answer this call, you need to prepare for a digital format, with many different session formats. Please feel free to let us know, if you prefer a particular format or have ideas for a different approach or element. Please also note that the conference will be in English.

We always look for content and quality, relevance and topicality, and we strive for diversity – in gender, cultural background, in geography and more. We welcome and encourage leads and submissions from everyone. This also includes speakers of varying exposure and experience – the important thing is that you tap into the theme and have something to share.

Please submit your proposals and leads to ECM associates and conference designer, Group NAO (, before May 29, 2021.  Expect to hear from us in late June.

Read more about European Cities Marketing here.