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CityDNA to support the Meetings Industry and destination strategy with sustainability and regeneration at its heart

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Turin hosted the 36th edition of the CityDNA Summer School on August 27-31, 2022, the first in-person edition since the pandemic. This year’s edition graduated 43 students from Europe and South Africa.

Ongoing education and professional training are crucial to face the continuing changes within the Meetings and Events Industry. Since 1987, the aim of the CityDNA Summer School (formerly known as EFCT Summer School and then ECM Summer School) is to provide incisive insights into the structure and functioning of the Meetings Industry, bringing delegates face to face with top industry practitioners. 

“The CityDNA Summer School is an invaluable Network. I learnt so much best practice that I have already been able to implement in to my day-to-day role as Tourism Sales Manager. I would encourage anyone starting out in the Meetings Industry to attend this centre of excellence.” said Jackie Geddis, Business Tourism Sales Manager at Visit Belfast and student during the 36th CityDNA Summer School in Turin.

“I had the chance to learn a lot from different people and their expertise, to meet colleagues from all over Europe and to make connection with them. Thank you all for this opportunity!” said Margherita Ferrero, Project Manager at Bologna Congressi and student during the 36th CityDNA Summer School in Turin.

After two years of holding this event online, CityDNA offered an improved and refreshed programme containing all the hot topics and relevant tools that newcomers may need to thrive in their career.

Among the most important changes in the new programme was the addition of a session on sustainability and regenerative destinations. According to the 2022 Sustainable Travel Report by Booking.Com with 30,000 respondents from 30 Countries, 71% of travellers said they want to make more effort in the next year to travel more sustainably (up 10% from 2021). Led by Inge Krogh Larsen, Chief Changemaker of the GDS-Movement, this session focused on giving the newcomers in the meetings industry all the necessary tools to implement a strategy in their destination with sustainability and regeneration at its heart. This session was followed by a more hands-on workshop where students discussed all the practical details and collaboratively looked for ideas and solutions.

A new session this year also focused on diversity, inclusion and equity strategies in destinations by Gabrielle Austen-Browne, Founder of the Diversity Alliance. She explained why Diversity, Equity and inclusion is the key to staying relevant and sustainable. City Destinations Alliance commits to encourage a meetings industry where everyone is welcome and to ensure that systemically overlooked voices and perspectives are finally heard and respected. 

Finally, the topic of legacy was added to the programme as impact of events for destinations and beyond doesn't stop when the participants leave. This session was led by James Latham, long-term partner of City Destinations Alliance and Editor-in-Chief of The Iceberg.

“It was a good mix of content and it gave me some new insights in the industry. I feel that with this new acquired knowledge I can step up my game and be an even better professional in the meeting industry.” concluded Stefan Stuijvenberg, Account Executive ACB at amsterdam&partners and student during the 36th CityDNA Summer School in Turin.

The faculty are all members and partners of City Destinations Alliance and gave their time on a voluntary basis – a way of giving back to the meetings industry: Gabrielle Austen-Browne (Diversity Alliance), Tamara Bernstein (ICCA), Prof. Tommaso Castroflorio (European Aligner Association), Barbara Jamison (London & Partners), Sam Johnston (Dublin Convention Bureau & Convention Bureaux of Ireland), Catherine Kalamidas (Rotterdam Partners), Inge Krogh Larsen (Global Destination Sustainability Movement), James Latham (The Iceberg), Cain Leathem (GB Fitness & IMEX Group), Sabrina Meyers (Hot Hospitality Exchange), Christian Mutschlechner (Congrex Switzerland), Mathias Sondermann (SAP), Petra Stušek (Ljubljana Tourism & CityDNA), Stéphane Talboom (K.I.T. Group & IAPCO), Serena Tallarico (London & Partners) and Daniel Waigl (CIRSE) led by the course leader Pier Paolo Mariotti, CMP CMM (EURAC Research Bolzano).

The next CityDNA Summer School will be held in Gdansk August 26-30, 2023.

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