CityDNA Autumn Conference to be held in Bruges in 2024

Wednesday, 13.12.2023
The conference is expected to generate around 1,250 overnight stays.

In autumn 2024, numerous industry representatives will come to Bruges for the CityDNA conference; photo: lucentius/iStockphoto

Visit Bruges Convention Bureau has successfully secured the hosting rights for the CityDNA Autumn Conference and GDS-Forum in Bruges from October 15 to 19, 2024. The conference, organized by City Destinations Alliance (CityDNA), an association of city tourism organizations and convention bureaus with 115 members from 38 countries, is expected to generate around 1,250 overnight stays, providing a significant midweek boost to Bruges’ accommodation sector. Bruges has been a member of CityDNA since 2006.

The CityDNA congress will be linked to the GDS Forum

The conference, held twice a year, gathers members for plenary and working group sessions. In 2024, Bologna and Bruges will be hosting, with the CityDNA congress linked to the GDS Forum. The Global Destination Sustainability Movement (GDS Movement), an affiliate of CityDNA, focuses on creating regenerative destinations and is a collaborative community of destination changemakers.

Petra Stušek, President of CityDNA, expressed excitement about the conference in Bruges, highlighting the city’s rich history and commitment to sustainability. Bruges aims to be climate neutral by 2050, aligning with the focus on ‘better’ rather than ‘more’ tourism. The conference aims to explore industry trends and foster connections in the welcoming environment of Bruges.

“Create initiatives for greater regenerative destination management”

Guy Bigwood, CEO of the GDS Movement, commended Bruges as a pioneer in responsible tourism. The GDS-Forum in Bruges will bring together destination leaders and sustainability champions to discuss strategies, best practices, and initiatives for regenerative destination management. The event adopts a non-conference format, emphasizing using tourism and events to regenerate ecosystem health, promote social inclusivity, preserve cultural heritage, and support local economic sustainability.

Mayor Dirk De fauw expressed his pleasure at bringing the conference and forum to Bruges, emphasizing the city’s strengths as a sustainable convention destination. He acknowledged the appreciation and trust of the association, showcasing the success of Visit Bruges, an active member since 2006. The event presents a unique opportunity to highlight Bruges to industry professionals as a city committed to sustainable practices.