Authenticity and Innovation at the Forefront of City Destinations Alliance’s “Reality Check!” International Conference

City Destinations Alliance (CityDNA) successfully wrapped up its annual International Conference & General Assembly on April 26, 2024, after three days of dynamic discussions and innovative presentations in the historic city of Bologna. Themed “Reality Check! On Fact and Fictions in Urban Tourism,” the conference brought together over 225 urban tourism professionals to confront the evolving challenges and opportunities in urban tourism with a critical focus on authenticity, sustainability, and creating meaningful visitor experiences.

The conference, facilitated and moderated by Group NAO, saw a diverse range of sessions that delved into various aspects of urban tourism, from sustainability to technology integration. Highlights included critical insights into authenticity in an era of increasing digital influence, strategic discussions on sustainable tourism practices, and the introduction of cutting-edge technologies to enhance visitor experiences.

Here’s a recap of the conference’s highlights:

Sustainable Urban Tourism:

Experts emphasized the need for sustainable development within tourism, showcasing innovative strategies to minimize environmental impact and promote responsible travel practices.

Technology and Authenticity:

The conference explored how technology, including AI and extended reality, is being used to enhance the authenticity of cultural experiences without compromising traditional values.

Resilience in Crisis:

Lviv presented its adaptive strategies amidst crisis, offering a poignant example of resilience, focusing on inclusivity and community support as fundamental to recovery and sustainable growth.

Visitor Dispersal Strategies:

A panel discussion provided insights into the effectiveness of dispersal strategies in alleviating tourist congestion and enhancing local experiences.

Community Engagement:

Sessions highlighted the role of DMOs in community tourism, demonstrating how community engagement can lead to enhanced visitor experiences and greater community well-being.

City Destinations Alliance’s newly elected President, Barbara Jamison-Woods, stated, “This year’s conference has not only provided a platform for thought-provoking discussions but also set a dynamic course for our future endeavours. We are committed to continuously exploring innovative approaches to urban tourism and the visitor economy that are sustainable, inclusive, and impactful.”

Participants got the chance to hear from members and destinations (Aarhus, Amsterdam, Antwerp, Bologna, Copenhagen, Florence, Glasgow, Helsinki, Ljubljana, Lviv, Reykjavik, Rotterdam, Turin, Valencia, Veluwe Arnhem Nijmegen, Vilnius) as well as CityDNA partners and collaborators (ForwardKeys, GDS-Movement, IMEX, Modul University, Simpleview, The Data Appeal Company, TOPOSOPHY) and companies and universities (Cesarine, CitizenLab, DataEthics, InHolland University, Mastercard, MiPrendoeMiPortoVia, RAUWcc, SCOTO, The Travel Foundation, Uncomfortable Oxford, University of Glasgow).

The next CityDNA Autumn Conference will be held in Bruges together with the GDS-Forum on October 15-18, 2024.

The Call for speakers is out, and registrations are open:

This year’s conference has set the stage for a series of initiatives aimed at enhancing the effectiveness, sustainability, and authenticity of urban tourism. City Destinations Alliance remains dedicated to fostering an environment where tourism professionals can thrive and where cities can sustainably manage their cultural, social, and environmental assets.



About City Destinations Alliance
We are a knowledge sharing network for cities and urban regions working to unfold the potential of the visitor economy. Our vision is for all cities in Europe to flourish as great places to live, work, meet and explore. As a community of professionals, our promise to each other is to always be curious and forward thinking, share our inspiration and never stop learning.

For more information and pictures, please contact:
Bénédicte Lack,, +33 380 56 02 03