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The second day of X. Festival is over. We have now gone through 40% of the programme.  

Let’s recap on what we have seen today, on X. Purpose.

Alex Herrmann, Director of UK & Ireland at Switzerland Tourism, gave us another daily dose of Switzerland.

We have opened the day with an incredible piece of content shared by Sarah Woodhall, Innovation South Greenland, and Alex McNeill, Quark Expeditions. We've long been admirers of Quark Expeditions and their incredible success in becoming the world's leading polar expedition company. They truly are incredible storytellers and together with South Greenland, we learnt what it takes for two incredible partners to come together with an aligned set of values, a mutual objective and a commitment to ensuring that tourism and local communities can be mutually strengthened by approaching things in the right way.

The first Keynote of X. Purpose was aimed at building the foundations of sustainable development. Randy Durband, form GSTC (Global Sustainable Tourism Council) has shared heaps and heaps of best practices of organisations that applied the GSTC criteria to align and implement real changes. This is very relevant to educate people about the importance of setting standards through retainable targets and a reasonable timeline. What we do and the way we are successful might have a negative impact on other people. Sustainability is often used as an excuse and does not drive real change. These are just a few of the limitations we experience as marketers.

Then, Elke Dens introduced us to the concept of a regenerative system. Visit Flanders exists to make communities flourish: tourism is a mean to achieve better results, to empower all the communities involved. Hence, shifts are needed. Elke mentioned 5 fundaments shifts that marketers need to consider to drive change: a shift in our worldview, a shift in our purpose, a shift in the relationship with the stakeholders, shift in the way we consider our customers and a shift in our role.

As a destination and as a community, Tampere is all about reinvention. Starting out as a village, turning into the industrial capital of Finland and most recently transformed again into one of the most high-tech, cleanest and most dynamic place to live in. But how do you share this story in the midst of a global pandemic? Grigory and his team decided that the most impactful way to share and reach out to people at this difficult time is to share these values and stories through the curation of everyday stories of the people who represent Tampere. For Visit Tampere, these stories aren't only stories of tourism or the visitor economy, but stories which relate to every aspect of Tampere, through many different perspectives.

Jeremy Sampson has joined us on X. Purpose to talk about the invisible burden of Tourism. Here are the questions: can't public and private strategies be shaped by a shared agenda? How can we drive that and make it happen? How can we address sustainability head-on without just tinkering around the sides as we have been doing? This is why The Travel Foundation led a new initiative with the Future Tourism Coalition with the goal of reframing what success looks like whilst putting tourism and communities at the centre of the destination's future. This simple initiative is something that hundreds of people have already signed up to. Their aim is to encourage greater collaboration between businesses and the public sector, with a community behind that is determined to make tourism a force for good and a development priority. To do this, success needs to be reframed around new KPIs, such as quality of life, equity for communities, environmental benefits and impact and many more. Transitioning to this however requires a new approach to destination management, as we see many shifts from marketing to management.

Vicky Smith, founder of EarthChangers.com wisely suggested that minimising the negative effects of tourism isn't enough: we need to also maximise the positive effects tourism has on society. With research showing that many consumers are expecting sustainability to become more relevant after the pandemic, the next question is how this will take place. What we have learnt in the pandemic is that we don't always need to fly for meetings, for business travel and for trips which just no longer seem essential. What we will likely see is a stronger appreciation for travel which is more meaningful: to get away, to discover and to spend time with friends and family. So what now? Well, we have an opportunity to look at these key issues, address and correct what is wrong and set new targets and success metrics which define the future we want for ourselves and our industry.

Glenn Mandziuk shared a lot of insights during one of the most complete and insightful keynotes (+interview) of X. Purpose. As a destination management organisation, Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association (TOTA) is required to apply good data to be able to identify, understand, rise up and respond to bigger global trends. Key to this is improving comprehension to create change and net benefits for communities. Whilst focusing on this mission, the current challenges remind us that we need to be more holistic, timelier, more regular, more geo-referencing and more detailed in what we do to understand changing situations whether that is the pandemic or whether that is growth. Be clear on your intentions, from the outset and through the entire project phases. In order to know where we are going and how we are going to get there, we need to do our homework first. As an organisation with limited resources and capacity over a vast territory, it is important to be realistic in what we can do and what we can achieve.

Next, we have been joined by Su Johnston from Crowdfunder, Many might ask, with so much effort in making #crowdfunding work, why should anyone bother? One reason to consider crowdfunding is that first and foremost by putting your idea out there, you're also testing your idea in the market. By succeeding with crowdfunding, you can be sure that there's demand out there and this is a good way to take a product or concept to market with minimal risks taken. The awareness-building process is key. Ultimately, crowdfunding is not about reaching huge numbers of strangers, but reaching out through your extended networks and making the word of most really rock for business innovation. Add into that the opportunity for match-funding through partners, whether it's public funding or banking sponsors, this really allows your ideas to lift off.

Jacob Dencik (IBM)  & Roxane Kaempf (IBMiX) have shared their insights and presented the findings related to the report "The Rise of Sustainable Enterprise". An insightful contribution that has brought us into the effective world of human-centred design thinking and agile working.

Leena Lassila and her team at Helsinki Marketing, joined by Rina Sirén have presented their view on sustainability in relation to the event and MICE sector. They have told us the story of how they managed to ensure that a sustainable meeting and event industry emerges after the pandemic.

Helga Lukač drove us through the story of Expano Regional Promotion Centre in Murska Sobota, Slovenia. She shared the incredible story of how the former Slovenian Pavillion at EXPO 2015 has been repurposed and recycled to create a centre aimed to revitalise a degraded area.

Natalia Bayona, UNWTO, has joined us to present the amazing work they are doing and how to use innovation as a catalyst for sustainable development. The talk helped reconsider the way we use data, encouraging for a more ethical use of it, as well as the power of cooperation to drive innovation.

Alice Gifford (ATTA) has moderated an interview with Christina Beckmann (Tomorrow's Air) and Celine Olesen (Climeworks). They have discussed innovative approaches to actively work on reducing carbon dioxide emissions to lower the negative impact of travel on the environment. It has been amazing to see the passion and motivation behind the work of these amazing women.

At the end of the day, we followed the conversation that Gergana Nikolova (ATTA) run with Ambros Gasser from ASI Reisen. Motivated by his father, Ambros is actively working on creating a world where financial transparency and sustainable development can thrive. A big highlight, the amazing headquarter they have built in the Alps.

Another fantastic day has gone: lots of inspiration, but also optimism and chances to learn how to be driven by purpose. 

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