AI Opener
for Destinations

The Project

36 European destinations and 23 American destinations have already joined the new initiative '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.

AI Opener for Destinations goes beyond realising the potentials and promises of responsible AI for organisational efficiency and innovation – it is also about best preparing DMOs strategically and ethically for the impact of technological shifts.

New research by Group NAO and City Destinations Alliance shows that 3 in 4 destination professionals do not see AI as a strategic priority in their organisations, and a significant 72% feel ill-equipped to adopt AI tools and platforms. While the prospect of being replaced by AI may seem distant, the data also clearly reveals early divides within DMOs in adoption and approaches to AI in the workplace.

This is why 'AI Opener for Destinations' launched. The learning programme is relevant to any destination – urban, rural, national, regional – that wants to empower its organisation with updated insights, inspiration, new tools, policies, and ethical guidelines in the deployment of AI technologies across all functions of the DMO. The goal of the programme is to enable and support the DMO in developing their own AI strategies and gain the full creative and organisational potential of AI, without losing sight of the ethical challenges that come with it.

Meet the Team

To what extent do you think that Artificial Intelligence will have an impact on our work lives? At Group NAO we are restlessly dedicated to exploring this very question. Driven by our authentic AI curiosity and former experiences in tourism, it naturally pushes us to set the path for the DMOs’ potential workday of tomorrow. Get to know the AI Opener Team:

Signe Jungersted

CEO / Founding Partner, Group NAO
AI Opener Co-Lead

Signe leads NAO's forward-thinking and dynamic culture. As a perpetual learner across industries, she applies insights and research to develop strategic concepts. She is a renowned speaker on strategy, trends, and destination development. Previously, at Wonderful Copenhagen, she introduced the 'localhood' concept for their 2020 strategy and led projects like 10XCopenhagen, rethinking tourism for 2030.

Magnus Hessbo

Senior Advisor, Group NAO
AI Opener Programme Lead

Magnus infuses Group NAO's explorative missions with his commitment. With a versatile background in research, management, media, tourism, and market intelligence, he creatively addresses complex challenges. He has a fondness for data and the ability to simplify complex data insights. Previously, he was the Marketing Manager of Business Intelligence at Visit Stockholm and chaired the “Research & Insights” Knowledge Group at the City Destinations Alliance.

CA Clark

Sr. Strategist, Miles Partnership
AI Opener Programme Lead for USA Cohort

The leader of the USA cohort, C.A. is a Sr. Strategist at Miles Partnership. With over 20 years of experience working directly with destination and hospitality clients, his blend of curiosity, technical know-how and creative flair make him the perfect captain to steer us on our journey through the AI universe.

Peter Rømer Hansen

CCO / Founding Partner, Group NAO
AI Opener Co-Lead

Peter directs NAO's commercial relationships and new ventures, known for his strategic vision that transcends daily challenges to anticipate a brighter future. Previously, he has guided executives through strategic transformations, developed market and destination strategies, and led innovation and organizational transitions. His experience includes roles as EVP of Strategy and Market Communication at Wonderful Copenhagen, advisor to the European Commission.

Sarah Frosh

Research & Project Manager, Group NAO
AI Opener Research & Content

Sarah drives Group NAO's research and emphasises community engagement, ensuring stakeholders shape the discussion. With experience in design and futures anthropology, she meets user needs for forward-thinking decisions. Known for her adaptability, curiosity, and agile approach, Sarah excels in creating meaningful client relationships and partnerships. Her work at The Index Project enhanced sustainable innovation skills among designers and leaders, and she has contributed to research in AI and healthcare for the Copenhagen Institute for Futures Studies.

Rebecca Adelman

Account Manager, Miles Partnership
AI Opener Project Manager for USA Cohort

Rebecca is the Account Manager on Miles' Destination Optimization team. Through her work, she helps destinations understand the importance of empowering their local businesses to be part of a sustainable tourism economy. Her previous experience includes project management, social media and digital strategy at a mid-sized destination. She is passionate about telling stories, finding the analytics & data to prove them, and connecting the dots.

Emil Rømer Hansen

Associated Advisor – Strategy, Group NAO
AI Opener Research & Content

Emil joins Group NAO as Associated Advisor - Strategy. With a strong analytical and strategic mindset, Emil's primary area of expertise lies at the intersection of business and politics, where he has +5 years of experience with advising companies, political stakeholders, and public organisations on strategic and business critical issues. Most recently, Emil worked as a Global Advisor in Danfoss - a large Danish multinational corporation operating in the energy sector - and has previously worked for various Copenhagen-based consultancies.

Skye van den Oever

Digital Projects Lead, Miles Partnership
AI Opener Project Support for USA Cohort

Skye develops and manages digital projects and teams designed to inspire travel and promote experiences from both the traveller's and businesses’ viewpoints. Skye has a wide range of knowledge across all aspects of digital marketing, including website development, Search Engine Optimisation, Search Engine Marketing, email and analytics.

Junanto Xu

Research & Project Manager, Group NAO
AI Opener Research & Content

Junanto is Group NAO's forward-leaning consultant/nerd. His interests and expertise lie at the intersection of sustainability, technology, and communication. Jun spent 3 years in Southeast Asia's travel media industry before moving to Europe. Prior to NAO, he worked with GDS-Movement to advocate for sustainability in the tourism industry through creative communication. At Group NAO, Jun finds joy in empowering the visitor economy as a force for good through experimenting with both art and science.

Latest Updates

Pool of Cool Tools - Download your Copy!

Eager to start your AI explorative journey but you just do not know how to? In the joint AI learning programme 'AI Opener for Destinations', all programme partners are encouraged to test tools and the ones that are specifically useful for DMOs and NTOs have been cherry-picked and put in certain overviews. This sort of overview is called 'Pool of Cool Tools' and throughout the programme already four different ones have been prepared. Each one of them is focusing on one specific DMO function. AI tools for CVBs, the Marketing team or perhaps the Tourist Information Centre? Have a look and start testing!

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Did you wake up feeling creative?

JUN 2024: If not, we can gladly recommend spending one hour with creativity wizard Jordan Ellis, Community Relationship Manager at Adobe. After that, you will be loaded with eagerness to explore the creative AI opportunities for destination marketing and imagery. Trying AI tools is essential to actually getting started with AI. During AI Opener’s third Deep Dive, and the very first global one, DMO professionals from both the US and Europe got to explore the possibilities of Adobe Firefly, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Express and Adobe Photoshop. Being member of Content Authenticity Initiative, Adobe also presented ways of verifying content with Content Credentials.

5th Live Session (EU): AI-Igniting the CVBs and Event Teams with Project SPARK

MAY 2024: When discussing "AI for CVBs & Events", all participating CVB and event professionals got to experience Project SPARK, presented by Gevme. The tool can change ways of working and in the Live Session Wonderful Copenhagen shared their initial moves with AI. German Convention Bureau also took the crowd on an AI tour, and many AI tools pinpointed for meetings and events were highlighted. How are YOU introducing AI to your CVB and Event organisation? We believe that it is especially relevant to reflect upon after the recent game-plan-changing updates from OpenAI and Google, and in this joint learning programme we keep digging deeper and wider.

4th Live Session (EU): Balancing the AI-powered Welcome with the Human Touch

APR 2024: Boosted by a Grand Tour of the AI landscape for Guest Services, presented by AI Opener Expert Advisor Joshua Ryan-Saha, all joined participants got to discuss ongoing initiatives, potentials and pitfalls when AI-powering Welcome & Guest Services. Austrian National Tourist Office's "Austria Concierge" and mind-blowing Mindtrip served as inspiration before looking into the future of travel reviews and bookings by Tripadvisor. AI travel assistants are getting more personalized (if data allows), and next step might be hyper-personalization. Can AI offer more personalized service than an actual person?

Classic Storytelling in an AI World

APR 2024: AI is an incredible accelerator, igniting the human spark of creativity. That came clear in very first episode of the US Deep Dives, when myth-making content wizard Jordan Wollman, VP at Odyssey Studios, engaged interactively with curious US destinations. Stories connect, inspire and even outlive us. And AI can be part of it.

3rd Live Session (EU): A Curious Crowd of 100 (or 99?)

95 super curious destination professionals, 4 keynote speakers and 1 virtual influencer got together for the AI Opener's third European session about "AI for Virtual Storytelling and Image Generation". The two-hours session was jam-packed with insights from Getty Images, RAUWcc (and their virtual brand ambassador Esther Olofsson), the national tourism organisation of the Netherlands (NBTC) and with some mind-blowing content from one of the learning programme's Expert Advisors. Participating humans and the only digital human gained new knowledge about AI in the creative parts of Destination Marketing.

AI Opener Deep Dives!

MAR 2024: AI Opener for Destinations is all about getting destinations started with AI. But the learning programme also offers challenges for medium-level and advanced professionals. Just two months after the kick-off, the AI Opener Expert, Prof. Dr. Dr. Roman Egger has introduced the very first Deep Dive in image generation. More AI Opener Deep Dives are just some waves away.

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Twice as much fun!

MAR 2024: Group NAO is proud to introduce the great collaboration with Miles Partnership, responsible for running the US Cohort of "AI Opener for Destinations". This ambitious partnership means that the AI peer-sharing levels up massively by welcoming 23 curious American DMOs to the already confirmed 36 European ones. We gladly wish all US peers welcome onboard this explorative AI journey!

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Is GenAI Greek to you?

MAR 2024: Over 4000 participants joined the second European "GenAI Summit" in Athens, Greece. The AI learning programme "AI Opener for Destinations" also gained interest on the stage, when GenAI in Tourism/Hospitality was discussed in a panel debate facilitated by Dimitris Georgiou, Deloitte. Together with Travelmyth's Co-Founder John Nousis and Master Coffee Roaster Antonis Tzarougian, the Global Programme Lead of AI Opener, Magnus Hessbo, shared his thoughts on GenAI for DMOs and the travel sector in general.

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The Programme's Prompt Queen

FEB 2024: Is prompting an art or actually engineering? Either way, the AI Opener Expert Janette Roush shares her best pieces of advice in the learning programme. A specially designed "Prompt School" contains essential guides on how to become a master of prompt engineering art.

Ready for Resources?

FEB 2024: Launch time for the AI Opener Resource Center! This learning platform will week by week be filled with AI learnings, recordings, interviews, guides, reports, prompt school and much more. In the end of the year all DMOs will have a complete AI toolkit for getting started (or continuing) with their AI initiatives.

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Live Sessions tailor-made for DMOs

FEB 2024: "AI Opener for Destinations" is an AI learning programme uniquely created for DMOs/NTOs/CVBs. Each Live Session of the programme is based on the various functions of a DMO. First themed topic to be discussed: Destination Marketing! Over 100 participants got the latest news about AI tools for marketing, user cases from both Europe and the US as well as exploring concrete platforms like Intentful's HappyPlaces.

Welcome! Powitanie! Welkom! Benvenuto! Välkommen!

JAN 2024: Finally kick-off for 'AI Opener for Destinations'! About 85 participants got to meet the avatar of Signe Jungersted, CEO at Group NAO. The first introduction live session will be followed by another 11 deep-dives tailor-made for each function of the DMO.

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ETC is new Collaborative Partner

JAN 2024: European Travel Commission, representing the National Tourist Organisations of Europe, is new Collaborative Partner to 'AI Opener for Destinations' (along already confirmed CityDNA). Since best practice sharing is one of the ETC's core principles, this unique learning programme is a great match when offering AI up-skilling and peer-to-peer learning in the travel sector.

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Ready or not, here (A)I come!

JAN 2024: CityDNA and Group NAO are excited to publish the results of a new survey exploring the transformative impact of generative artificial intelligence (Gen AI) on the work of destination professionals. The results reveal an interesting dichotomy: Whilst destination managers agree that Gen AI will have a significant impact on the entire industry, DMOs and CVBs seem neither ready nor prepared to adopt the new technology.

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AI Opener Expert Advisory Group

DEC 2023: Four prominent AI experts are hand-picked to co-steer the high-qualitative learning programme. Group NAO is very excited to collaborate with the geniuses Damiano Cerrone, Janette Roush, Prof. Dr. Dr. Roman Egger and Joshua Saha-Ryan.

City Destinations Alliance is AI Opener's Collaborative Partner

NOV 2023: The AI-related wonderings from European destinations have echoed for some months, and CityDNA is determined to facilitate the AI-upskilling among DMOs by joining the learning programme as Collaborative Partner.

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Group NAO is launching "AI Opener for Destinations"

NOV 2023: AI is on everyone's lips and minds. And the AI development goes amazingly quick. How to get started? In the true spirit of "we are better together", Group NAO launches a multi-client AI learning programme that promises to be both hands-on and brains-on. This unique joint learning programme is tailor-made for DMOs, CVBs and NTOs and is aimed to actually get destination professionals started. Let's go and let's go together!

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Participants

The rapid development of AI engages DMOs, CVBs and NTOs all over the world. From sunny California (US) to arctic Greenland and many parts of Europe, 59 Programme Partners have already joined forces to collaboratively learn how to re-skill and up-skill destination professionals for the AI-impacted years ahead.

EUROPEAN PARTICIPANTS: Visit Aarhus, amsterdam&partners, Visit Antwerp, Athens Development & Destination Management Agency, Visit Berlin, Visit Bruges, Visit Brussels, City Destinations Alliance, Copenhagen Capacity, Wonderful Copenhagen, Destination Fyn, Destination Nord, Visit Dresden, European Travel Commission, Fáilte Ireland, Destination Florence Convention & Visitors Bureau, Atout France, Visit Gdansk, Visit Gent, Gothenburg & CO, Graz Tourismus, Visit Greenland, Investment and Development Agency of Latvia, Visit Lisboa, Visit Ljubljana, Visit Luxembourg, Luxembourg City Tourist Office, City of Malmö, Visit Mechelen, National Tourism Organisation of Montenegro, Visit Norway, Congress & Tourismus Nürnberg, Stockholm Business Region, Switzerland Tourism, Trentino Marketing, Vienna Tourist Board.


US PARTICIPANTS: Breckenridge Tourism Office, Colorado Tourism Office, Destination DC, Destination North Myrtle Beach, Discover Lancaster, Discover Puerto Rico, Experience Kissimmee, Explore Louisiana, Greater Miami CVB, New York City Tourism + Conventions, San Diego Tourism Authority, Travel Oregon, USVI, Visit Buffalo Niagara, Visit Estes Park, Visit Greenville SC, Visit Lake Charles, Visit Loudoun, Visit Myrtle Beach, Visit Salt Lake, Visit Sarasota, Visit St Pete Clearwater, Wyoming Office of Tourism.

Visit Aarhus
amsterdam&partners
Visit Antwerp
Athens Development & Desti- nation Management Agency
Visit Berlin
Breckenridge Tourism Office
Visit Bruges
Visit Brussels
Visit Buffalo Niagara
Colorado Tourism Office
Copenhagen Capacity
Wonderful Copenhagen
Destination DC
Destination Fyn
Visit Dresden
Visit Estes Park
Fáilte Ireland
Destination Florence Convention & Visitors Bureau
Göteborg & CO
Experience Kissimmee
Malmö stad
Atout France
Visit Gdansk
Visit Gent
Graz Tourismus
Visit Greenland
Visit Greenville SC
Visit Lake Charles
Discover Lancaster
Investment and Development Agency of Latvia
Turismo de Lisboa
Ljubljana Tourism
Visit Loudoun
Explore Louisiana
Luxembourg City Tourism Office
Visit Luxembourg
Visit Mechelen
Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau
National Tourism Organisation of Montenegro
Visit Myrtle Beach
New York City Tourism + Conventions
Destination North Myrtle Beach
Visit Norway
Congress & Tourismus Nürnberg
Travel Oregon
Discover Puerto Rico
Visit Salt Lake
San Diego Tourism Authority
Visit Sarasota
Visit St Pete Clearwater
Stockholm Business Region
Switzerland Tourism
Trentino Marketing
Vienna Tourist Board
USVI Department of Tourism
Wyoming Office of Tourism

Join the Programme

The first European edition of 'AI Opener for Destinations' kicked-off in late January 2024, and the US Cohort started just a bit after (March 2024). Are you interested in how the programme evolves? Or do you simply want to be part of it? Do not hesitate to contact Group NAO for learning more about this joint learning programme.

Contact Group NAO