I had the great fortune to be able to participate in the FuTurisme.com conference plenary discussion on mass tourism and the future of tourism at IMTM 2015. I was there at the invitation of Tel Aviv Global which is a municipal corporation tasked with promoting the economic development of the city attracting investment and developing tourism.
One theme that was very prominent in their strategy is to leverage the tech start up ecosystem of the city.
The conference had 42 travel related digital startup companies pitching their ideas and vying for the mayor’s digital travel award.
The Roschild boulevard at the heart of the city is a wonderful pedestrian and cycling oasis.
Getting a tour of the startup ecosystem in Tel Aviv. The big questions seemed to be that starting things was happening in an organic way but holding on to the dividends of that innovation was the challenge. Keeping successful startups in the city and making sure international investment was not just pulling the human capital out of the city.
That evening I was invited to a cocktail at city hall with the mayor of Tel Aviv where they unveiled a commemorative stamp of the city. Tel Aviv has been recognized by UNESCO as a world heritage site for its white city collection of Bauhaus architecture. It also recently was recognized by UNESCO as a creative city in the digital sphere and they are running with it as a branding element for the city.
The Tel Aviv Global team also came up with a wonderful idea to put a call out to students to volunteer as local hosts for the conference speakers. This was an opportunity to meet someone with an interest in your subject matter, but also they acted as ambassadors and sometimes interpreters or even personal assistants. I found it to be invaluable and rewarding, helping me develop more insights and broadening the conversations I had.
My student host Marina Balkarey
After my presentation I was interviewed by Ayal Zaum, a City & Place branding consultant that also writes a popular blog called cityncountrybranding.com
here is the article he wrote: