City Nation Place Awards
Finalists announced!View the shortlist
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Asbjorn Overgaard took up the position as CEO in Copenhagen Capacity on 1 June 2020 being at the forefront of attracting and retaining foreign companies and talents, with the aim of creating growth and development in Greater Copenhagen. Throughout his career, Asbjorn has worked in both private companies and public organizations and close to the political decision-making process. Asbjørn have a long experience from positions as Director of Danish Shipping, a number of positions in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, including Private Secretary to the Minister of Trade and Investment, Deputy Ambassador and Deputy Director of Invest in Denmark.
Astrid is the Director of Marketing Drenthe, a destination marketing organization for Drenthe, a province in the North East of the Netherlands. She has more than 30 years of experience in tourism, marketing and communication, and public-private partnerships and has worked for several Dutch destination marketing organizations. She did this for both regions and cities in various positions in which she was responsible for marketing policy and strategic relationship management.
Clare is the founder and director of City Nation Place, the global forum for place branding and place marketing. City Nation Place creates connections and shares best practice between country brands, regional brands, and city brands around the world through articles, interviews, surveys, white papers, a membership group, and conferences.
Clare’s interest in the complex area of place branding was sparked whilst working on a series of Nation Branding Masterclass events, led by Simon Anholt, one of the first thought-leaders to speak about and promote the concept of place branding. Having listened to Simon address audiences in Accra, Delhi, Dubai, London and Singapore on how policy, governance, and symbolic actions need to combine with branding and marketing to create a competitive identity and drive economic growth, she continued to follow the growth in this sector. Clare launched the first City Nation Place Global conference in London in 2015: CityNationPlace.com has been steadily building followers and in 2017, she launched the first City Nation Place Americas conference, in 2018 City Nation Place Asia Pacific took place in Singapore, and 2019 saw the first City Nation Place UK, specifically for towns, cities and regions across the UK, and the launch of the first City Nation Place LatAm & Caribbean event. Clare manages the small team at City Nation Place alongside providing event consultancy and management for a number of clients in the publishing and trade association sector, including running the World Media Awards for the World Media Group and event consultancy for the UK Association for Online Publishers.
As president and CEO of VISIT PHILADELPHIA®, Jeff Guaracino is charged with building Greater Philadelphia’s image, driving visitation and boosting the economy through day and overnight leisure visitation. Guaracino has a 20-year track record of success in tourism and organizational management with expertise in growth, change and collaboration. In 2020, leisure visitation to the five-county region (comprised of Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties) made up 94% of all tourism.
Guaracino consistently forges creative and innovative partnerships with organizations such as the James Beard Foundation, Live Nation, Comcast/NBCUniversal and the City of Philadelphia. He also has significant crisis-management experience, which has guided his work to rebuild the hospitality and tourism sector with a cross-functional team of municipal, regional and state leaders in the wake of COVID-19. In 2020, 30 million people visited Greater Philadelphia, creating $6.81 billion in economic impact. That decline from 2019’s record-breaking 46 million visitors and $12.33 billion in economic impact is a direct result of the pandemic.
Under Guaracino’s leadership during the COVID-19 crisis, VISIT PHILADELPHIA continued to fulfill its mission through omni-channel marketing efforts. Highlights include Philly Live Weekends, a Facebook-based collaboration with NBC10; Love + Grit, a podcast focused on authentic and diverse Philadelphia stories; a Black- and Brown-owned business initiative that culminated in City Council’s Shop Black Business Friday declaration; and two marketing campaigns for various stages of the pandemic: Our Turn to Tourist, which drove regional spending at the height of the lockdown, and Pack Light. Plan Big. For Philly., which highlights the ease, accessibility and wonder of the reopened region. Thanks, in part, to this work, Philadelphia is outpacing 2021 hotel forecasts by 43% and is experiencing the quickest recovery to 2019 levels among competitive East Coast destinations, according to data released by STR and Tourism Economics in July 2021.
Guaracino previously served as president and CEO of Welcome America, Inc., and executive director of the Atlantic City Alliance. Before being named to lead VISIT PHILADELPHIA, Guaracino spent 11 years at the organization — from 2001 through 2012 — as a director, and later, as vice president of communications.
He sits on the board of directors for the U.S. Travel Association, Global Philadelphia Association, Independence Visitor Center Corporation, Welcome America, Inc., Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau, Dr. Magnus Hirschfeld Fund and The Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia. In 2020, he was named vice chair of the Chamber’s Regional Tourism, Arts and Cultural Recovery committee. He also serves on the Philadelphia International Airport’s advisory board and Temple University’s School of Sport, Tourism & Hospitality Management Board of Visitors.
Guaracino is a sought-after writer and speaker on the topics of leisure tourism, marketing and LGBT travel, stemming from his work on the groundbreaking 2003 VISIT PHILADELPHIA campaign Philadelphia – Get Your History Straight And Your Nightlife Gay®. He is the author of two books: 2007’s Gay and Lesbian Tourism: The Essential Guide to Marketing and 2017’s Handbook of LGBT Tourism and Hospitality: A Guide for Business Practice, co-authored by Ed Salvato. In addition, he’s been authoring a travel column for the Philadelphia Gay News since 2009.
Guaracino, a Philadelphia native, resides in Society Hill and is a graduate of Rowan University and Camden County Community College.
Burkhard Kieker has been Chief Executive Officer of Berlin Tourismus & Kongress GmbH, operating under the trade name visitBerlin, since 1 January 2009. He is responsible for marketing Berlin worldwide as tourism and congress destination as well as maintaining the brand Berlin.
In his career to date, he held positions in the German industry with Deutsche Lufthansa AG and headed the Aviation Marketing of Berlin Airports. As journalist, he worked for RIAS Berlin, the weekly newspaper DIE ZEIT in Hamburg, and the television channel Deutsche Welle. Burkhard Kieker completed the International Executive Program (IEP) at INSEAD Business School.
Mark is Professor of Public Policy at King’s College London. He has been a government adviser at the No10 Strategy Unit, a civil servant at the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, and a policy director for all three London Mayors, leading a range of policy work on the economy and business, migration, urban governance, regulation, smart cities and technology, housing and homelessness, and Brexit.
Mark has held academic posts at the University of Cambridge and the London School of Economics, as well as a chair in International Social Policy at the University of Bristol. In 2015, he was a Visiting Scholar at the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto, and in 2019 a Visiting Fellow at the City Futures Research Centre, University of New South Wales. He is a former Policy Fellow at the Centre for Science and Policy, University of Cambridge
He is the author or co-author of four books, including A European Welfare State? (Palgrave) and Working Capital: Life and Labour in Contemporary London (Routledge) and more than 100 published papers. He has spoken at many academic and policy conferences in the UK, Europe, USA, Canada, Australia, China and Japan. Mark has also been a consultant to the OECD, the European Commission, government departments, local authorities, and major UK and global companies.
Liina Maria is the Director of the Estonian Tourist Board since March 2020 when the tourism as we knew it ended. Her previous background has been in different sectors - she was active in finance sector and building an Estonian bank for over a decade, few years in film industry kickstarting Tallinn Film Industry hub and recent years as Estonian digital society promoter managing e-Estonia Briefing Centre. Kick-starting new projects and rebuilding strategies, managing changes and innovation have been a recurring theme and exciting challenges. And something she believes Estonian tourism also needs in this moment of time.
Jaume Mata is the head of sustainable tourism at Visit València Foundation (the city’s destination management organization), where he coordinates the city’s strategy to become a sustainable destination. He has more than 25 years of experience in tourism planning, marketing and communication. He also has experience in large events organization as Marketing and Communication director, and director of the CEO’s office, of the public Consortium Valencia2007 (created to hold the 32nd America’s Cup).
He was the Deputy Director of Visit Valencia when the DMO was accredited in 2006 by UNWTO as SBest DMO, and awarded with the Ulysses Award for Innovation in Tourism Governance in 2008.
He holds two Master’s degrees: MSc in Tourism Management from the University of Surrey (UK), and master in Tourism Management from the Polythecnic University of Valencia (Spain), as well as a BSc degree in Economics and business administration (University of Valencia).
He is lecturer at the University of Valencia and the Open University of Catalonia. He collaborated in the UNWTO Handbook. Introduction to Tourism (UNWTO, 1998). He is the author for the chapter: Intelligence and Innovation for City Tourism Sustainability, The Future of Tourism (Springer, 2019)
Jason is a research, communications and reputation strategist with 15 years' global experience providing strategic council to public, private and non-profit clients regarding their reputation strategies, competitive positioning, stakeholder engagement, marketing and communications. Jason consults with clients on their reputation measurement and evaluation programs, and how they can optimise their marketing and communications programming for the greatest reputational impact.
Matt Painter is the UK Managing Director of Ipsos Corporate Reputation. He leads a team of 40 people, based in London and Edinburgh. Previously Head of Research at Echo Research Ltd and Ebiquity plc, Matt has specialised in brand, reputation and corporate communications for 20 years. Over this time he has worked with some of the world’s most renowned businesses, as well as national governments, universities, NGOs and media outlets.
Matt is a regular speaker and author on reputation issues and the emerging trends facing corporate communicators.
Claire was appointed Head of Brand Scotland Marketing in November 2020, and also leads Scottish Government’s Climate Change marketing team. Prior to that, Claire spent 7 years leading award-winning behaviour change campaigns for the Scottish Government across health, road safety and justice, and also has extensive agency experience having spent 5 years as Account Director at one of Scotland’s leading advertising agencies, the Union.
Claire has most recently been appointed vice Chair of the Marketing Society Scotland.
Brand Scotland is a strategic marketing and communications collaboration, supported by a bold values-based narrative and clear vision: that Scotland is recognised as a leading global citizen and a highly desirable country in which to live/work, study, visit and do business. It brings together the collective communications efforts of the Scottish Government and key partners, to harness our energy, expertise and resources and to increase the impact of all our work in building Scotland’s global reputation and in order to stimulate renewed and sustainable opportunity.
Øyvind Såtvedt is the managing director of Oslo Region Alliance, which consists of the City of Oslo and 64 neighbouring municipalities. The Oslo Region Alliance organizes campaigns to attract international investors and talent to the Oslo Region, and was together with Oslo Business Region awarded the City Nation Place “Place Brand of the Year” award in 2015. Øyvind is a political scientist, has worked as consultant and researcher, and was chief of staff for Oslo’s Governing Mayor from 2000 to 2007. He lives in Oslo with his wife and two children.
Bloom Consulting CEO
Since 2003 Mr. Torres has been advising Countries in the field of Nation Branding and City Branding, working directly with heads of state, directors of National Tourism Organizations and Investment Promotion Agencies.
His clients include Countries, Regions and Cities such as Australia, Costa Rica, Israel, Jamaica, Poland, Sweden, Stockholm and many others spread across all five continents.
Mr. Torres collaborates directly with the World Economic Forum in the matters of Nation Branding and is a guest speaker in some of the most prestigious universities in USA and Europe, such as HARVARD, the London Business School, Stockholm School of Economics and many others, being interviewed by The Economist, BBC, Guardian and CNN.
Since 2011 his company performs a global research project called the Bloom Consulting Country Brand Ranking and most recently the Digital Country Index and the Digital City Index
Jos Vranken (1967) has been NBTC’s Managing Director since 1 September 2007.
NBTC is all about the development, branding and marketing of the Netherlands as a destination.
As the national destination management organisation of and for the Netherlands, NBTC provides a national vision for tourism based on relevant knowledge and insights. We use this vision to inspire, connect and facilitate cities, regions, business owners and other stakeholders. To make our country a liveable, popular and valuable destination for residents, visitors and companies.
After graduating from the Breda University of Applied Sciences, Jos Vranken started his professional career in 1990 at NBTC’s predecessor, the Netherlands Board of Tourism (NBT). In 1996, having held various positions, he joined Stayokay, the Dutch hostel chain, as its Sales & Marketing Manager and member of the Management Team.
In 1999, he moved to London to head up NBTC’s UK & Ireland office. Soon after, his role was extended to Regional director for the Nordic countries. Following a five-year tenure in London, Jos Vranken returned to NBTC head office to take on the role of International Marketing Director and join the Management Team.
In 2005, Jos Vranken accepted a new challenge at the contract catering company Avenance Nederland (which has since become part of Compass Group), where he fulfilled the position of Commercial Director and was a member of the Board.
On 1 September 2007, Jos Vranken re-joined NBTC as its Managing Director.
He holds various board memberships as well as supervisory roles, among which a non-executive role at the Dutch Football Association (KNVB).
Patricia Yates is the Deputy CEO of VisitBritain/VisitEngland. Patricia has been with the national tourism agency since 2005 and was previously its Director of Strategy & Communications. She is responsible for research, tourism affairs and communications. Patricia started her career as a journalist including a long period editing Holiday Which? She also launched and edited the Which? Guide to Hotels for many years. Patricia is the Chair of TIER – the Tourism Industry Emergency Response group - which coordinates the tourism industry messaging at times of crisis.