Following the announcement of the latest report by Best Place, yet I am already looking forward to meet up again soon with good colleagues and dedicated experts such as Juan Carlos Belloso, Martin Boisen, Joao R. Freire, Raquel Goulart, Robert Govers, Björn P. Jacobsen, Mihalis Kavaratzis, Stefan Roesch, Gildo Seisdedos, and Sebastian Zenker, and discuss with them about conceptual issues and practical implications of place marketing and place branding.

On a personal note, this well-structured report gave me the opportunity to reflect on why strengthening the brand of Athens and bringing back actual results via integrated destination management & marketing efforts has probably been the most difficult project to be involved with. Together with academic knowledge and professional experience in tourism planning and development, ‘This is Athens’ project was a rather valuable asset. Above all, it helped me grasp the importance of a holistic perspective on the various elements that constitute and sustain the very essence of each place. To remember the accurate observation of Juan Carlos Belloso inside the same report, place brands incorporate emotional links and passions which are triggered by the managerial objectives and approaches of various stakeholders.

The key here is that a place brand must be true and enduring in order to be always part of changing marketing priorities. In this sense, place marketing is about ensuring that the brand message and the story of an area are strategically and methodically delivered to the right audiences through the appropriate channels, to successfully reach set targets and compete for a place in target visitors’ hearts. Interestingly, the generation of emotional links does not necessarily involve sales instruments, which is also why Stefan Roesch has a great point in identifying film productions as an ideal vehicle for place marketing.

All in all, Place Marketing & Branding 2015+ is both a great resource for practitioners and academics within the field and a call to action for more research and practical innovation.

In Toposophy, we are excited to be part of this ongoing effort and we are looking forward to add more interesting insights in the future. As such, we will certainly continue to count on the hard work of the Best Place Institute Board of Directors including Adam Mikotajczyk, Magdalena Florek and Jarostaw Gorski, whom we thank for their full commitment and ongoing assistance.


The Millennial paradox: why speaking to Millennials means getting personal

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Originally posted on Gen C Traveller:

Millennials are ambitious but lazy, hyper connected but self-obsessed, extremely confident yet highly insecure, optimistic yet worried about the future. Where to start when you need to engage them?

This week I’ve been at Youth Marketing Strategy 2015 in London and this two-day event has given BarclaysLifeSkills2a massive amount of insight into how youth are the most amazing group of consumers to work with, and yet increasingly difficult to reach with a generic marketing campaign. By participating in YMS 2015 it was great to move out of the travel sphere for a change and discover the latest general consumer trends being led by the UK’s youth population. The UK is globally respected for its creative marketing industry, so it was great to hear from experts at the top of their game.

Actually, let’s forget the fuzzy concept of ‘youth’ (something many in the travel industry are just catching up with)…

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To build a tourism strategy that lasts and that works for all, you have to be realistic in analysing what works and what doesn’t. In the second of this ‘‘Uncovered’’ series of reports, experts at TOPOSOPHY lift the lid on tourism trends in Mexico and make an honest, frank assessment of the top priorities for government and business in the country today.

Domestic and international tourism in Mexico is continuously growing. The tourism industry growth continues to ride higher than the average national GDP growth and investment in the tourism sector is pouring into the country as the main source market, the United States, recovers from the global financial crisis.

Nevertheless image remains the main concern as incidents relating to organised crime continue to affect parts of the country and Mexican citizens have mobilized to demand more security as mid-term elections approach (Summer 2015). As this report will explain, the media often reports a distorted view of the reality of daily life in Mexico. Furthermore, Mexicans’ views of their own country can often be subject to an inferiority complex or over-influenced by current events.

Discover TOPOSOPHY’s take on the current state of Mexican Tourism in this candid report that aims to provide an external view and an independent perspective on how a tourism industry with high potential can deliver for the country in the future.

6 inconvenient truths about Smart Cities

Originally posted on The Urban Technologist:

(When cities forget about people: La Defense, Paris, photographed by Phil Beard)

(I recently took the difficult decision to resign from IBM after nearly 20 years to become IT Director for Smart Data and Technology for Amey, one of the largest infrastructure and services companies in the UK, and a subsidiary of the Ferrovial Group. It’s a really exciting opportunity for me to build a team to create new Smart City services and infrastructures. If you’d like to work in the Smart Cities field, please have a look at the roles I’m hiring for. I’ll be continuing to write the Urban Technologist, and this seemed a good point to share my view of the current state of the Smart Cities movement.)

The last year has shown a huge acceleration of interest and action in the Smart Cities market – in the UK, and around the world. What has long been…

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Here at TOPOSOPHY we believe that you can only take the best decisions when you can see the bigger picture – so we’re starting the New Year with in-depth analysis of the biggest trends emerging in global tourism and

Will the Apple Watch break new ground where other tech wearables have failed to do so?

Will this be the year when we see Airbnb take the leap and merge with a major online travel agent?

Will we ever reach ‘peak selfie’?

Will DMOs take more initiatives in community and economic development?

Discover our top 15 travel trends for 2015…

Want to know more about TOPOSOPHY? Find out here.




In recent years, the sharing economy has begun to transform many aspects of life. It is enabling individuals, companies and communities to re-imagine how they live, grow, connect and operate sustainably. Tourism has emerged as one of the leading sectors for growth in the sharing economy as visitors and residents share homes, cars, boats, four course meals and a whole lot else.

As the sharing economy has ballooned to attract users and providers of all ages and walks of life, it’s clear that sharing someone’s apartment or car isn’t always just about saving money. A multitude of drivers have pushed sharing to become the mainstream practice that it is today and there are many lessons that tourism destinations and businesses can learn from that as they grapple with reforming laws to keep consumers safe, and competition fair.

In the coming weeks you’ll be able to learn more as TOPOSOPHY’s experts release a groundbreaking report called The Sharing Economy in Tourism and the Hospitality Sector with lessons to be learned on all sides and many opportunities to share opinions as TOPOSOPHY plans Sharing Economy Workshops across Europe in 2015.

Here’s a sneak preview of the report. Enjoy!




Are you wondering where the name ‘TOPOSOPHY’ comes from? Viewing a destination through a narrow lens, it’s easy to fall into the trap of presenting a destination in terms of its tourism activity today, rather than what it could offer tomorrow. TOPOSOPHY likes to do things differently. We take a step back and study the whole place (‘topos’ = place in Greek) with a critical but enthusiastic look at where the destination sits compared to its competitors, both near and far. The result for our clients is the choice of a totally integrated range of services including destination strategy and planning, place marketing & branding, market intelligence, trade marketingpolicy advice & government support among many others.



“TOPOSOPHY” set to become the leading integrated destination marketing agency in Europe.

Aiming to become the leading integrated destination management & marketing agency in Europe, TOPOSOPHY is celebrating its official launch today (30/10/2014) as a new corporate entity offering a full range of specialized, end-to-end solutions in destination management & marketing. With a broad network of experts around the world, the company is well-equipped to work with a diverse clientele base within the travel and tourism industry using an innovative approach, flexible operations and fully committed partners at all levels.

TOPOSOPHY is the totally reengineered and rebranded entity derived from ABOUTOURISM Destination Consultants. Founded in 2010, ABOUTOURISM has already received several distinctions in the consultancy arena. In just over four years, the company’s portfolio has boasted high-level projects and a global network of associates from some of the industry’s leading brands.

TOPOSOPHY’s CEO Manolis Psarros explains: “Having a clear overview of the international industry developments and the changing needs of our clients, we decided it was time to put our flexibility in practice and take a truly bold step. Over the past few months we have worked hard to redesign our entire set of services, and truly enrich our strategically driven solutions to make sure that we offer our DMO, tourism board, hospitality, airline, tour operator and all tourism industry clients,  top notch, creative and effective solutions with measurable results”. “We’re now drawing on a much broader base of expertise from across the globe, and that’s going to give a big boost to the services we offer” he added.

TOPOSOPHY’s top digital applications and marketing offering is powered by the ATCOM Group of Companies, the leading web agency in the Greek market, with an extensive project portfolio and unrivaled experience on the creation of portals, e-Shops and web and mobile applications. As a Business Unit of ATCOM, TOPOSOPHY will share resources with the whole group of ATCOM Companies & Business Units (ATCOM/Mindworks/UXLab) in web development and digital marketing services, enabling brands to obtain the visibility they need with a focus on delivering perfect integrated digital experiences.

“‘Toposophy’  means gaining an understanding of the whole place, not just viewed through the narrow view of a destination. That’s why we make the effort to understand the latest industry conditions, engage partners and the local community so that we can reveal a destination’s uniqueness in every form; online and offline. That’s the surest way to plan for a tourism destination’s future” explains Manolis.

TOPOSOPHY’S services focus on offering complete solutions in the following areas: destination strategy & planning destination marketing & branding, market intelligence, trade marketing, policy advice & government support, events & workshops, website & mobile solutions, content & social media marketing, performance marketing & search services, tailor-made to every destination’s distinct needs.

We are strategists and we have an in-house team of more than 150 designers, developers, imagineers, marketers, tourism consultants and magicians along with an elite international dedicated network of hand-picked associates and ensure that everything is possible!

Whether we have worked together in the past or not yet, or you simply want to tell us how much you just love our new website (we certainly do!), get to know us better by scrolling through each section and discover our ready-made reports, white papers, case studies and future plans.  Connect with us on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn or talk directly to one of our destination management & marketing experts on +30 2102419654 or email (info@toposophy.com).

Sharing Economy & Tourism


More and more destinations around the globe gradually become aware of the influence that the growing start-ups of the sharing economy have upon them. We refer to a fascinating thematic area, which involves so many different issues such as the changing perceptions of new demographic groups about the nature and quality of travel-related services, the reaction of destination authorities according to the cultural and political context of each place, the regulations that could contribute to the establishment of a level playing field for all stakeholders involved, and several others.

In fact, About-tourism has been monitoring this trend for quite some time and today we are ready to announce the conduct of a research concerning the influence of the sharing economy in tourism and hospitality industry in Europe. Our key objectives are to explore what trends and factors have led to the emergence and expansion of this new phenomenon in the field of tourism as well as to emphasize on those opportunities and challenges international destinations are facing in trying to integrate such activities into the economic and social fabric of their areas.

Accordingly, we are excited to invite members of the start-up community in the field of tourism along with tourism industry leaders and destination authority officials to provide their valuable insight through the online questionnaires of About-tourism. This integration of viewpoints will allow our research team to expand the scope of research and made valid statements about current trends and future prospects.

We estimate that it takes approximately 15-20 minutes to complete the survey, so if you feel you can to contribute to this project please click on the link below that corresponds to your group of stakeholders, or cut and paste the respective URL into your browser to access the questionnaire.

1st Questionnaire – Sharing-Economy Start-Ups:


2nd Questionnaire – Tourism Industry Associations & Private Sector Leaders:


3rd Questionnaire – Destination Authorities:


Your input is very important to us and will be kept confidential. Furthermore, we will send you a report of the main findings and conclusions after completion of the project hoping to stimulate a vivid debate about ongoing development in Europe and elsewhere. Stay tuned!