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Ramona Wagner

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For this year's DTIC we have taken the brave step of introducing the topic of 'Destination Transformation' as the headline of the event. This has been something that we had a strong interest in for a number of years. Most destinations that have spoken to us in recent years will know that we advise them to take a holistic approach towards everything that they do, and that an overall transformation needs to take place within their organisation. This is, of course, neither an easy nor quick thing to achieve. Slowly but surely, we have now evolved the description of this process, until we are happy with the concept of 'Digital Transformation'.

Why DTIC?

Throughout 2015, we are developing the #DTTT Destination Transformation framework, which is our model to transform every city, region and country with the aim of overall digital competitiveness. A lot of thought has gone into this and we as a team are passionate about the topic, but can also see that for destinations this is in an area where guidance and an example model to follow is needed. Our transformation model was therefore developed exclusively with destinations in mind. From the process of exclusively working with them, we intimately understand their needs, how they work and also how transformation should and can work for them.

During this year's #DTIC, we are thus focusing the two day programme on 'Destination Transformation'. We believe that this is a great opportunity for us to introduce the concept of digital readiness to our #DTIC community, and share what it really means to be a 'ready' destination.

Why Now?

We ourselves have transformed our business, having faced many hurdles. It was essential for us to overcome them in order to continue to innovate and think completely different to our competitors. Our transformation process has also led us to build a dream team of great people in the industry, that helps us transform destinations.

The fact that Digital Tourism Innovation Campus is now enjoying its fourth consecutive annual  edition also meant that it was time for us to take a step back, and examine what we have brought to the industry in the past. When working on this year's concept, programme and overall event, it was clear that something was missing. As passionate individuals and an enthusiastic organisation, we strongly desire to add value and bring something unique to our community which can assist them, and ultimately provide clarity and inspiration regarding the future direction of the industry. Digital Transformation, a model and framework for the industry to work with is something we consider exciting, and are very much looking forward to presenting.

What is Destination Transformation?

Around 18 months ago, we had become accustomed to working quite closely with Antwerp Tourism & Conventions, initially working on their digital strategy. But we quickly came to understand that this project was really so much more. Working with their passionate team also meant that the project was then carried forward by Miek de Roeck, Charis De Craene and the entire Antwerp Tourism & Conventions organisation.

We witnessed at close quarters how they have not only have implemented the strategic direction into the new website that is launching this summer, but also worked hard on pulling all of their activities together strategically, aligning them with their visitor needs and expectations, looking at latest trends and tapping into opportunities. Antwerp Tourism & Conventions and its team are also working hard on reorganising and restructuring the work that the front office of the organisation is involved with, actively transforming more traditional areas of the DMO and ensuring that they are both digital and visitor-ready.

This shift has not only necessitated a lot of work and changes occurring within the organisation, but also for the team to actively embrace this process and be passionate about the fact that as a city and organisation they are moving towards becoming 'ready' for digital. For us, digital readiness is not something you should aspire to achieve, it is where you need to be right now if you are to remain competitive.

What can you expect at DTIC?

Nick, myself and the team will set out the journey to transformation, beginning with where you currently sit, through the 'status quo', to pre-empting where you can add value to your future visitor. Digital Transformation cannot be achieved by any one person, team or organisation. There are many aspects to consider, from your mission and remit, to your people, teams and execution.  Beyond this, understanding your competitive positioning, identifying visitors, what they're saying and how to engage them is essential. Fundamentally, we will share at #DTIC all about how DMOs can have a real impact beyond just conversation and buzz. This therefore makes it the perfect fit for this year's #DTIC.

For more information visit our event pages, outlining all about the event, the programme and speakers.
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