We are a European knowledge sharing alliance for cities and urban regions; the DNA of cities is what differentiate them from one another, this is why they are unique. Each city is special and provides added-value to the discussion, being capital or leading and smaller European cities.
In the CityDNA community, we are city people! We all share a passion for working with our cities because they are so powerful! They are drivers for innovation with all their complex stakeholder dynamics and manifold experiential offerings. We define our business territory as the destination.
Cities are melting pots for our society, they are our home and also the gateway to other cities and regions. People feel – hopefully – emotionally connected to their city and they are proud of what makes it unique.
Being an alliance reflects this bold and broader step we would like to take. We are much more than a network. We want to publicly advocate for our common goals while still learning from each other.
As City Destinations Alliance, we believe that the need for strategic destination management is greater than ever before. We help DMOs to demonstrate that the visitor economy can benefit the destinations’ social inclusion, cultural repertoire and relations, knowledge societies and local communities. DMOs are instrumental for strategic city management: they act as agenda-setter, project initiator and facilitator for the many stakeholders working for a better city. And together, we are committed to a sustainable and responsible visitor economy that works for people, place, and planet.
Did you know…?
The colour of the City Destinations Alliance’s logo was inspired by the UN SDG #11’s orange colour. The official mission of SDG #11 is to “make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable”, one the main goals of all CityDNA’s member cities.
City Destinations Alliance is developed for the members and by the members. Our European community has a unique culture with a high degree of trust, engagement, and professional curiosity, all of which helps catalyse the power to share… our identity reflects the familiar, yet progressive spirit of our community. We have a true European DNA that we want to preserve. We are Europeans in heart and mind. We see Europe in its largest definition.
It is about sharing, learning, meeting – and through that growing both as a community and as individual destinations and destination leaders.
Destinations is meant in its broader sense, meaning that the Alliance also welcomes National Tourist Boards, National Convention Bureaux and Regional entities (whether it refers to Leisure, Meetings Industry or City Marketing) to establish permanent contact and working together with cities, one of the bases to enhance national business.
The new CityDNA Strategy was released in April 2023. Welcoming Wegeneration is CityDNA’s long-term purpose and vision. It invites broad collective action. It sets the tone and direction for City Destinations Alliance until 2026.
The rebranding into City Destinations Alliance marked a key shift that has been underway for several years, and accelerated by the pandemic, namely that destination leadership involves much more than marketing. And last but not least, we are much more than a network; we are an alliance.
More and more cities adopt a more holistic approach in the way they work, seeking for a better balance between visitors and inhabitants. A third forum on City Marketing was recently added to the portfolio in order to meet those needs. In addition to the President, there are now three Vice-Presidents who represent the three main subject areas that modern destination management and destination marketing organizations deal with. The name European Cities Marketing then revealed its full potential and the brand was refreshed in 2013.
Both associations merged forming European Cities Marketing, including one forum for Leisure and one for Meetings Industry related activities.
ECT and EFCT were both working in the Tourism and Meetings Industry landscape and significantly expanded over the years. More than 50% of ECT and EFCT members belonged to both Associations and discussions logically came up to find synergies.
FECTO built a more powerful identity which became European Cities Tourism (ECT).
A handful of CEOs of French Tourist Boards regularly worked with their German counterparts and naturally wished to enrich their discussions with more European destinations. The Federation of European Cities Tourist Offices (FECTO) was officially created in 1989 and held its first General Assembly in Heidelberg.
A few far-seeing European Convention Bureaux got together to form the European Federation of Conference Towns (EFCT) in Brussels. Its main ambition was to be the focal point for the Europe’s emerging Meetings Industry, the independent source of information for clients to search for destinations in Europe.
Over the years, EFCT has become the voice of experience in the European Meetings and Events Industry and a network that is playing a significant role in the International Meetings World.
Welcoming Wegeneration is our long-term purpose and vision. It invites broad collective action.
DMOs have the unique opportunity to make a real difference, they can connect people, cities and cultures and contribute to the quality of life in European cities.
Now it is the time for inspired collective action and meaningful co-creation.
This new strategy sets the tone and direction for City Destinations Alliance until 2026.
We call it Welcoming Wegeneration.
Why join us
We are a knowledge sharing alliance for cities and urban areas. With a holistic approach our vision is for all cities in Europe to flourish. We are open and visionary, and want to inspire. We believe in sharing, and see our alliance as a community, a family, where we all work together. We promise to always be inclusive, to trust in each other and be forward thinking. We promise to uphold a strong competence within the fields of urban development and economy, and never stop learning.
Think City Destinations Alliance – think inspiring, positive, uplifting and encouraging. That is our DNA, that is who we are.
Attend Destinations Exchange Europe (formerly known as City Fair), the most well-known European workshop on city tourism. A 30% discount is available to CityDNA members.
Through the Global Destination Sustainability Movement, benchmark your city’s socially and environmentally sustainable strategy and share best practices all around the world.
Understand how best to prepare your DMO strategically and ethically for the impact of AI with the AI Opener for Destinations – a collaborative learning programme and curious exploration of generative AI as it unfolds in the landscape of global travel, tourism and destinations, and impacts the focus, functions, and competencies of DMOs and CVBs.
Take part in the VivaCITY Challenge a three-year funded engagement with CityDNA, Simpleview, and a team of three global experts in destination development and implementation.
- Get regular and recent data and insights on the development of city destinations, and see at a glance the latest performance of your European colleagues:
- City Travel Report by CityDNA (formerly known as the CityDNA Benchmarking Report): features the volume of urban tourism in Europe.
- CityDNA Meetings Industry Future Trends Survey: results from a survey about future trends of the meetings and incentives industry.
- CityDNA Finance Survey: gathers financial models of City Tourism Organisations.
- CityDNA City Tourism Monitor: tracks perceptions of immediate and future trends.
- ForwardKeys Air Travellers’ Traffic Barometer: analyses Europe as a destination regarding travel behaviour.
- MMGY TCI Research Recovery Dashboard: tracks cities’ e-reputation, residents’ sentiment, cities’ iconic attractions and visitors’ satisfaction.
- Lighthouse Short-Term Rentals Report: monitors European short-term rentals market.
- Attend the TourMIS Users’ Workshop & Seminar so you can learn how to enter your data on tourism, attractions, meetings, CO₂ emissions estimation and to benchmark your destination.
- Benefit from unique cross-related studies prepared by the Knowledge Groups on digital KPIs, TICs, etc.
- Attend our twice-yearly inspirational and forward-thinking Conferences and our regular Webinars on current and future trending topics featuring renowned speakers.
- For a successful introduction to the Meetings industry, learn from experienced professionals through hands-on workshops and a challenging hackathon during the CityDNA Summer School (discount rate for our members).
- Catalyse your mindsets and develop your skill sets to lead a more regenerative tourism, meetings and events industry by attending the GDS-Academy with collaborative, interactive and fun modules. (Discount rate for our members)
- Show that your organisation belongs to the alliance of leading destinations in Europe.
- Facilitate dialogue with your politician leaders through specific events like the IMEX Policy Forum.
- Network with CityDNA’s partners at our events and benefit from new and exclusive business opportunities: Arcus, ETOA, ForwardKeys, IMEX, Lighthouse, Mabrian, MMGY TCI Research, Simpleview, St Elmo’s, The Data Appeal Company, Toposophy…
- Join the Advisory Council and be consulted on CityDNA’s current projects and events.
- Build relationships and partnerships with other European cities during our events
- Get access to the CityDNA Intranet and all its content (members’ contacts, reports, presentations, groups, forums…)
How to join us
- Fill in the CityDNA application form whether you are a city or region / nation
- Send it back to the Head Office
- Your application will be submitted to the Board
- Once the Board approves and after reception of your payment, you will be a CityDNA member
- Welcome to City Destinations Alliance and enjoy all benefits of membership!
Need more complete information? Download the documents below.
Any questions? Please contact the Head Office