Call for Speakers | The Elephant in the Room

We all know it’s there: The Elephant in The Room – that magnificent, big-eared presence that is too complex, too difficult, too sensitive, too uncomfortable to talk about in the open. It is hidden in plain sight, ever-present in most meeting rooms we enter, board rooms we are addressing, even in speaking to members, partners, colleagues, team members or in your communication with visitors – in what you highlight and what you don’t, in those invited and those not invited…

This is a Call for Elephants (and speakers too ;-)) to come out of the room and join us in Sofia, as we meet for the City Destinations Alliance General Assembly & International Conference, April 19-22, 2023.

And we want you to bring your elephant too.

Your elephants could involve…

  • … the real value of tourism to cities and how to measure it: When numbers of economic growth and bednights are no longer enough? What will be the trunk of future DMO funding?
  • … the Dumbos of Jumbos: Addressing the elephant in the room of DMOs working with route development, airlines and long-haul markets in a time, where air travel is identified as challenging to reaching the world’s net zero ambitions?
  • … the elephant of scalability in sustainable tourism solutions – and how solutions become economically sustainable in themselves?
  • … whether the idea of regenerative tourism is really a white elephant of tourism since 24% of destinations in the last CityDNA conference are still unsure how it is practiced – not to mention the awareness among consumers…
  • … the elephant of the corner office – and why the management styles it reflects no longer work? Exploring the new work experience and formats, and how DMOs and CVBs are adapting too.
  • …the elephant of past rituals such as campaigns that we are not really sure appeal to anyone or taking part in trade shows that are all about getting leads, but don’t clearly lead anywhere.
  • … remembering that an elephant never forgets – much like a visitor never forgets a poor service experience: How do we address and solve the work force crisis of tourism and hospitality?
  • … calling out the elephants from countless conference and meeting rooms that are slowly dying by overdose of PowerPoints or suffocating from frozen conference formats. Will the way we meet and create change?

Do you have an elephant to share? You can bring a really big one that we need to address collaboratively – or tell us about the one you have already found a way to set free and just want to share!

We want to hear your ideas and thoughts, so please do not hesitate to pitch your elephant to this call. Write us 2-3 paragraphs with your core message and relevance, and why this should be shared with a DMO / CVB audience.

Please note that if you answer this call, you are excited to prepare for an interactive and co-creative format. We welcome great ideas for formats or different approaches to presenting, sharing and learning together. Please also note that the conference will be in English, and no translation will be available.

Practicalities: We always look for quality content and topicality first. We strive for diversity, cultural background, in geography, gender, and more. We welcome and encourage leads and submissions from everyone. This also includes speakers of varying exposure and experience – the important thing is that you tap into the theme and have an elephant to share.

Please submit your proposals and leads to CityDNA associates and conference designers, Group NAO at before December 30, 2022. No proposal submitted after the deadline will be considered. CityDNA and Group NAO reserve the right to select the best suited proposals regarding the theme of the conference! Expect to hear from us late January 2023.