What the sharing economy has done to accommodation and transport, it is now doing to food and fine dining.


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This report discusses the role of the sharing economy in city tourism. While it’s easy to see the sharing economy as a cluster of challenges, in reality it can be a useful tool for city authorities to manage destinations effectively, connect visitors with local experiences and bring economic benefits to local people. However it also has to be regulated in a way that is fair to all stakeholders.

The more the different segments of the tourism sector realize the dynamics of the sharing economy the more we expand the scope of our work on practical aspects and implications. TOPOSOPHY has produced this free discussion paper for DMOs to help understand their role, and plan the way ahead. The paper includes:

  • Analysis of recent trends in the sharing economy, and consumer motivations for using sharing economy services
  • Discussion of how DMOs can update their regulations on sharing economy activities
  • Practical tips on building a sharing economy impact assessment, and monitoring systems
  • Step-by-step guide to making the sharing economy work in favour of the destination and local residents

Visit our new website or Click here to download the full report (free)


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Encouraging visitors to leave crowded hotspots and go in search of more enriching experiences has never been more important for destinations looking to capitalise on the rising tide of visitors from Asia’s emerging outbound markets. This is especially the case in Europe, where local residents in some of the continent’s most popular tourist hotspots have already started calling for restrictions on visitor numbers and outright bans in some neighborhoods.

While better visitor management is clearly needed in some cities, we believe that not all solutions to this dilemma have to involve clamp-downs, restrictions, bans and penalties. Just as forward-looking cities are learning to integrate the sharing economy into their tourism ecosystem (something we’ve talked a lot about recently in countries such as Portugal and Croatia), they are also finding creative ways to spread visitor spending further away from the city centre, or even to surrounding towns and villages.

This is something that we make clear in the report ‘Stepping Out of the Crowd, Where the Next Generation of Asian Travellers is Headed and How to Win a Place on their Travel Itinerary’.

This comprehensive 150-page report draws on unique consumer research carried out among Asian Millennials, as well as expert opinion, case studies from leading travel brands and data from PATA’s own forecasts on cross-border travel. It also gives practical recommendations on where to start when putting a dispersal strategy in place.

Main features of the report:

  • Unique consumer research from Millennials in 13 outbound markets across Asia on their attitudes towards trip planning, city visits and going ‘off the beaten track’.
  • Data from the PATA five year forecast to show how international arrival arrivals will affect APAC destinations in the coming years
  • Expert opinion from 14 market-leading tourism organisations, travel brands and influencers on how to set out an effective dispersal strategy.
  • Recommendations to public and private sector organisations on how to create more effective and rewarding products that encourage dispersal for Asian Millennial travellers.

How to get the report:
Full report – PATA Store (free for PATA members, US$100 for non-members)
Executive Summary (free download)
PATA press release

Video & Case Study

TOPOSOPHY makes the best of what every place has to offer

As a destination marketing and management agency whose long-term commitment is to help destinations to ‘make the best of what every place has to offer’, TOPOSOPHY is delighted to have been part of such a groundbreaking project. We believe in smart planning that understands market dynamics, combined with innovative marketing that makes use of creative technological solutions. We also know that ‘hidden gems’ are what can put your place on the map. So if you’re interested to learn more about how to make the best of what your place has to offer, just drop us an email or come and meet us at our forthcoming events. We’d be pleased to talk with you!

Click here to watch the case study video 



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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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

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!