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Reshaping the Visitor Economy

I believe it was February when we started thinking about how feasible it was to run our next event. Organising two flagship events twice a year presents us with a very tight schedule when it comes to finding speakers, selecting venues, coordinating with sponsors and dividing the work amongst team members.

Therefore, right after Global 2019 in Helsinki, we plunged straight into Campus 2020. At the time, we did not know what was about to happen. Throughout the whole month of February and beginning of March, we had daily meetings, even lasting a few hours, trying to figure out what to do with our event.

And here comes the story of X. Festival. We were planning to merge DTTT Global and DTTT Campus in one unique event that included both insightful presentations and hands-on workshops. After a series of brainstorming meetings, we came up with a brand new concept.

X. Festival is a 5-day event, where people will explore different topics and themes that matter in the tourism industry. Every topic is featured in five unique daily tracks, designed to inspire and deliver future-proof solutions for destinations.

X. Disrupt is all about discovering incredible industry talent, the future leaders of tourism and the change-makers through their innovative and disruptive ideas and their focus on diversity and inclusivity. This is a day focused on entrepreneurship, future technology and communities.

X. Purpose focuses on learning how to create meaningful experiences and positive impact through tourism. From fulfilment to giving back, the world is evolving and the drivers of travel are, more than ever, rooted in purpose.

X. Rebuild is led by data. This track is all about how to understand the product and market shifts and explore new demand segments to shape a resilient come-back through product diversification.

X. Engage guides us through the identification of growth opportunities that drive more effective engagement, relevance and conversion with your audience.

X. Imagine explores the future of tourism and gives us the place to ideate and co-create the right strategy for a more sustainable future, alongside think tanks, leaders, experts and co-creators.

We are certain that these tracks will be inspiring and informative and will provide the audience of X. Festival with heaps and heaps of best practices to enhance and innovate their own strategy.

We are pretty excited about the programme too. I have already explained how each day will focus on a different theme, but I have not mentioned any of the incredible speakers that will take part in the event.

We are working hard to line-up all the speakers in the programme. We used to focus mainly on DMO best practices; however, this time we want to take a step farther and bring "on stage" businesses, organisations and the most talented change-makers.

The work and commitment of DMOs in the promotion and support of their destination is always at the heart of what we do at the DTTT, so we have lined up top DMOs to speak at X. Festival. We are looking forward to hearing from the Singapore Tourism Board, Tourisme Îles de la Madeleine, Tourism Flanders, Vienna Tourist Board and Turismo de Portugal.

Moreover, to make this event even more exciting, we will gather insights from big brands, who have a lot to share: you will be listening to experts from Google, IBM, Pinterest, Culture Trip, Euromonitor International, ForwardKeys, the Global Sustainable Tourism Council, Adara, Sojern, Whalar and Culture Trip.

Not enough? To spark innovation and learn from people who had ideas that changed the way we see and experience travel, we have added many other bright minds to the programme. They will come from thecamp, Innovation Norway, Healing Hotels of the World, The Travel Foundation, Traveltech Scotland and the Earth Changers.

Of course, it does not end here. Keep in mind that X. Festival is not just an ordinary virtual event. I am afraid you will not just be sitting at your desk enjoying the show. We truly believe co-creation and Design Thinking can be drivers for innovation and success.

That is why we are going to dedicate part of the event to co-creation, interactivity and collaboration. We want the X. Festival audience to ideate and contribute, first hand, to reshaping travel. At the end of this packed week, we are going to create a Manifesto, a pledge to commit to a more sustainable, purpose-driven Visitor Economy.

How can the industry solve the biggest challenges it faces today? We believe this is done by sharing passion and expertise and by collaborating in the creation of a new visitor economy, where everyone can learn from the other and together we can shift towards a new model of travelling.

We created X. Festival intending to respond to the most critical needs of the industry. Our commitment does not finish here: there are some incredible examples of resilience and innovation out there, and many of them come from the tiniest entities existing in the industry.

We want to empower local heroes. We have found a solution to reward local businesses by giving them a platform to exchange ideas and design solutions, alongside the global leaders of Tourism. Our Small Business Fund enables local heroes to drive change for the whole tourism community and get their voices heard.

This initiative is also an amazing opportunity for DMOs to show support to the industry of the destination by inviting Small Businesses to attend the event under their brand. Is it not a wonderful Christmas gift? (too early, I know...). What's left to say is that you can spread the word so that SMEs all over the globe can take advantage of this initiative.

There are so many amazing things about X. Festival and we are announcing them every day! If you follow us on our social media, you can already get a glimpse of what this event is about.

In these challenging times, it is good to have something we are so excited about. We are talking to people from all parts of the world on a daily basis and everyone is responding positively and looking forward to attending. This is so flattering and also so much needed right now!

There is one last thing that is left to say: we are looking forward to you to enjoy the very first edition of X. Festival this year! You can book your ticket here.

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