Our Featured Speakers

Leah is the Chief Marketing Officer for the Puerto Rico Destination Marketing Organization, Discover Puerto Rico. Leah is charged with strategic marketing leadership for the organization; including oversight of paid media, creative, public relations, brand management, and digital strategy. Prior to her move to San Juan, Leah was the CMO for Explore Branson, leading the growth of the community’s tourism industry for five years, repositioning the destination brand and posting back-to-back record ROI for the organization’s marketing program.

Julia Pars became the Managing Director of Visit Greenland in 2018 after 10 years as the Managing Director of Katuaq - the Greenland Cultural Centre. Julia Pars has 25 years of experience in the tourism industry and she has held a number of different positions in the Greenlandic Tourist Board (the current Visit Greenland), most recently as Information Manager. Furthermore Julia Pars has many years of experience as a board member including chairman of the board for Air Greenland and Katuaq.

Peter Kentie is director of Eindhoven Marketing, the organization responsible for city marketing of Eindhoven region, named Eindhoven365. Eindhoven connects various sectors and stakeholders to communicate their smart society and citizens to a relevant global audience with the aid of digital media technologies.

Callum Mack is the Industry Partnerships Executive at the Australian Tourism Data Warehouse and his role primarily is to work with governmental organisations in order to assist them in building efficiencies into their digital processes, specifically as it relates to digital tourism content. Working with the ATDW allows Callum to assist the national tourism industry by building operators digital exposure by working with governmental stakeholders and thus expanding consumer knowledge of Australia’s vibrant and diverse tourism industry.

Jeff Robinson markets the city he loves, and it is a privilege he is passionate about. He works to make the city of Indianapolis the destination of choice for leisure travel and meetings. In the time he has been at Visit Indy, convention room bookings have climbed from just over 400,000 rooms to over 900,000. Leisure travel has grown from 21 million in 2005 to more than 28 million. All of this growth has fueled a thriving tourism industry that supports over 78,000 jobs and contributes a $4.5 billion economic impact.

Kerri Verbeke Kapich is the COO for the San Diego Tourism Authority. Kapich is a frequent guest speaker at industry conferences nationwide as well as a guest lecturer at the San Diego State University School of Hospitality.  In 2001, she was named as one of the “Top 100 Marketers” in the nation by Advertising Age magazine. In 1997, Kapich joined the San Diego Tourism Authority where she has been responsible for strategic planning, brand management, community engagement and partnership development.

Kaisa Kosonen has started at her new role as a Digital Development Manager at Visit Finland in January 2018 and put together with a team of experts an ambitious plan of making Finland a smart destination by end of 2020.

With over 21 years of experience in building global brands, Diane Bures currently leads the Consumer Marketing team for Banff & Lake Louise Tourism. Diane’s background leading digital, experiential and client-service divisions for both international and independently owned advertising agencies has brought a wealth of knowledge to clients in every industry.

Katja Presnal is an American Advertising Award-winning marketing strategist and a social media trailblazer. Katja currently is the CMO of Space Nation, where she coined space lifestyle as one of the universal trends.

Hoor Alkhaja is Deputy Director Asia Pacific in International Operations within the Dubai Corporation of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DCTCM).  Since 2014, Hoor has been developing and working on the China Market Strategy, working to highlight Dubai’s position as a global business and leisure destination. She also plays an instrumental role in ensuring Dubai achieves its tourism targets in line with the Dubai Tourism Vision for 2020.

Signe leads the development and innovation department in Wonderful Copenhagen, working with stakeholders in- & outside of the tourism industry. One of her personal key learnings from the strategy process has been: the focus of innovation shouldn’t only be on the new end point, but also on the way there and the detours that often prove more valuable than the road originally planned.

Tine Kastrup-Misir heads the communications and marketing department at Wonderful Copenhagen, working with a broad range of stakeholders and partners. Working with the strategy on a daily basis means to dare continuously challenge the way we do storytelling about our destination. Our mission is to enable our destination to be shared more and this shareability is very closely linked to social media and digital transformation.

Tia is a brand and marketing communications professional with a strong background in leading teams in Finnish advertising agencies, working with well-known brands aiming to grow internationally. For Tia, brand communications also means well-designed services. She’s in charge of Helsinki's new brand identity spearhead, the MyHelsinki concept – all Helsinki city marketing is based on open data and genuine, shared recommendations. Currently developing MyHelsinki WeChat mini program in co-operation with Tencent team in China.

Kaj Pyyhtiä is the Head of Market Expansion, focusing on bringing Whim to new markets around the world. He combines his experience of serving the end customers’ needs, with developing new business opportunities for companies, in creating successful market entries that benefit all parties involved. Prior co- founding MaaS Global, Kaj has been working in the digital service and advertising industries for more than 16 years. Kaj wants to bring the vision of MaaS into reality in the Whim app, making sure both customers and partners alike can live the future of mobility, already today.

Mr. Eero Knuutila is responsible for non-aeronautical sales development at Finavia, operator of almost all of Finland’s commercial airports – including the leading North European transfer hub between Asia and Europe, Helsinki Airport. Prior to joining Finavia in 2014, Eero worked for over 10 years in the ICT industry in sales and development roles in both start-up and multinational corporation environments. Eero holds an M.Sc. (Eng.) degree in Industrial Management from Aalto University, Helsinki.

With 20 years of experience in international marketing, Laura Aalto was appointed CEO of Helsinki Marketing in September 2017. Previously she has worked as Development Director in Helsinki Marketing leading the company's transformation from Tourism Marketing to City Branding and Marketing Organization.

Amrita Gurney is the VP Marketing at CrowdRiff, where she leads a team responsible for brand (content, speaking, brand design), demand generation and marketing operations. CrowdRiff is a visual marketing platform loved by over 200 travel brands who use it to discover, organize, acquire rights and publish the most engaging visual content across every channel, at scale. For the last 15 years Amrita has run marketing at high growth startups including Audiobooks.com and Asigra. She loves digital marketing, drinking tea and traveling. She once owned a contemporary art gallery as a side gig.

Kristiina is leading Finnair new leisure business (Finnair Holidays and Destination Nordics) since this this year. She has a strong background in international tourism and travel industry and before joining Finnair she worked as as CEO of Levi CMO- the biggest Lapland destination in Finland. Kristiina has been working with brands and marketing, digitalisation and international sales. She loves transformation and leading inspiring teams - and strongly believes in the power of co-creation and networks. Currently Kristiina has a full focus on the "Destination Nordics" and how to digitalize the Nordic happiness.

In 2008, Manuela Nicoletti joined Ticino Turismo as Country Manager Switzerland and Germany. She took on responsibility for the Market Department in 2012, as well as for the Product and Content areas in 2014. Since November 2015, Ms Nicoletti has been Head of Marketing and she is a Member of the Board of Directors of the “Agenzia turistica ticinese” (ATT).

Nico (Mulder) is marketing strategy manager at Amsterdam Marketing (“I amsterdam”). He will present how Amsterdam copes with increasing amounts of visitors and now uses (and connects) data to develop innovative solutions to influence and optimise how people learn about, understand and experience the destination.

Katharina Szücs has been working as an authorized officer in the Kitzbüheler Alpen Marketing GmbH since 2006. The company consists of four independent partner regions (20 villages) with 4 shareholders: Kitzbüheler Alpen - Brixental, St. Johann in Tirol, Region Hohe Salve and Kitzbüheler Alpen PillerseeTal. Katharina has more than 25 years experience in the tourism industry and held various positions.

Gunes leads the development and innovation of digital operations at the European Travel Commission. He is working with public and private partners and members of the European and international tourism industry to change the destination marketing sector through tackling old problems in new ways. Having worked in and around EU institutions, currently, his main focus is on the Chinese market to increase visitor flows from China to the EU under the European Commission initiative of the 2018 EU-China Tourism Year.

Wesley Put Breda is a teacher at Bread University of Applied Sciences (former NHTV). She is specialised in Tourist Experience. Over the years, she has build up expertise in the area of overcrowding and she is part of the winning team at the WTM Destination Challenge. She will be presenting the MobCard concept, solution that has been ideated and created in one day.

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© 2017 Digital Tourism Think Tank