Logo Green Destinations 2023 Estonia

Conference Program



Visit Tallinn
Visit Estonia

Sat 7 Oct – Pre-Conference Tours

GD2023 Pre-Conference Tours and Field trips

Additional payment is required.

Sun 8 Oct – Delegates Welcome

GD Representatives and Partners Day

11:00 – 16:00, Nordic Hotel Forum. Invitation Only. 

The first day of the conference is dedicated to the partners and representatives of Green Destinations to discuss current topics.

Conference Delegates Welcome

16:30 – 18:30, Nordic Hotel Forum. Registration required.

The City of Tallinn invites all delegates to participate in a walking tour of Tallinn’s Old Town. After the tour, we will visit the Niguliste Church Museum, located in the 13th century St. Nicholas Church, one of the few museums in Northern Europe housed in a former church building.

Mon 9 Oct – Conference Day 1

Join us for ‘Sustainable Tourism Solutions’ day, with speakers and interactive sessions on solutions for sustainable destination management, climate action, marketing, communications and more. Meet with peers, share experiences and discover innovative approaches.

Day 1 last

Conference Day 1 – Registration

9:00 – 9:30

Conference Day 1 – Opening Session (Plenary)

9:30 – 11:15

Welcome session

Albert Salman – Green Destinations Foundation, President
Liina Maria Lepik – Estonian Business and Innovation Agency, MOB
Anna Pollock – Conscious Travel, Founder

More information here

Coffee Break

11:45 – 11:45

Conference Day 1 – Morning Sessions (Breakout rooms)

11:45 – 13:15

Panel: Climate Action - Measurement & Reporting (Plenary - Room 1)

Actionable strategies for measuring and reporting climate change effectively

Defining measurements for climate action is critical in addressing climate change effectively. Accurate and comprehensive measurements enable governments, organizations, and individuals to track progress, set targets, and make informed decisions.  This panel delves into challenges and solutions in collecting, analysing, and using data to develop and implement climate action initiatives for tourism enterprises and destinations.

Host: Patice Talaue (Green Destinations)


  • Patice Talaue, Green Destinations HQ, Philippines – “Challenges and Opportunities for Measuring Destination Carbon Footprint
  • René Channouf Jacobsen, Klimascore, Denmark -“Climate score – a powerful climate tool for hotels, events and destinations.”
  • Melony van der Merwe, Weeva, UK/ USA – “From intention to impact. Using data-driven technology to transform tourism, one bit and byte at a time”
  • Nina Vesterinen, City of Helsinki, Finland – “Achieving more together in measuring and reporting”
  • Sofya Muhrer-Muromets, TourRadar, Austria – “Measuring Impact”

More information here

Panel: Private Sector Engagement (Room 2)

Practical solutions for businesses to lead sustainability efforts in the tourism industry

The panel will discuss how private enterprises at a destination can create remarkable travel experiences that are more sustainable, primarily through conscious practices, meaningful partnerships, and innovative technologies. By attending the panel, attendees will receive actionable strategies to meet the growing demand for sustainability through inspiring real-life examples. This will empower businesses to drive positive change and thrive in the sustainable tourism landscape.

Host: Masaru Takayama


  • Masaru Takayama, Asian Ecotourism Network, Japan – “Accommodations Can Save Money while Achieving Sustainability”
  • Susan Santos de Cardenas, Society for Sustainable Tourism, Philippines – “Promoting the Good Travel Program in Southeast Asia- Challenges & Opportunities”
  • Monique Chen, Sustainable Travel Taiwan, Taiwan – “Challenges and Experience of implementing GTS in Local, East Asia Taiwan”
  • Raphael Fassoni, EstoniaHub, CEO, Brazil – “Connecting with Nature: Barra Grande’s Digital Nomad Haven in Brazil”
  • Olga Skepetari, Green Destinations HQ, Greece – “Good Travel Seal – A GD Solution for Businesses”

More information here

Workshop: Mastering Sustainability Communication for Business Growth (Room 3)

hosted by Josephine Piplits, CEO of TripDoodler. 

This session will immerse you in the world of sustainability communication, revealing its impact on your business’s success. Josephine will lead you on a journey to grasp the vital role of sustainability messaging, showing how to leverage your current customer base to attract new business opportunities. You’ll also navigate communication regulations and ethical guidelines with ease. You’ll learn to shape your business identity through inspiring real-life examples and turn sustainability into profitable opportunities. By the workshop’s end, you’ll leave with a practical toolkit of techniques and creative ideas to drive ethical and profitable growth through sustainability communication. Join us to simplify sustainability and supercharge your business’s future.

More information here

Panel: Digital Transformation of Tourism (Room 4)

Technology-based strategies to foster cooperation and positive change in the tourism sector

The session will explore innovative tools to equip destinations and businesses with technology-based solutions to streamline operations, improve customer experience and promote sustainability. Attendees will learn how to use data, embrace smart mobility and employ gamification to create a more sustainable and digitally integrated future for the tourism sector.

Host: Holger Sigmund


  • Holger Sigmund, GreenDACH/ Tourism Impact, Switzerland – “Go climate-smart: can car and ride sharing be an effective solution to the last mile problem?”
  • Katrin Erben, Austrian National Tourist Office,  Austria – “How data can improve a destination’s mobility infrastructure”
  • Júlia Nagy, Innotime Hungary – “Development of I-DEST Integrated Tourism Management Software”
  • Simon Reuter, Outdooractive AG, Germany – “Smart destinations, tourism data standards, and AI: The digital future of sustainable visitor management”

More information here

Lunch Break

13:15 – 14:15

Conference Day 1 – Afternoon Sessions (Breakout rooms)

14:15 – 15:45

Discussion Panel: Green Destinations’ Integrated Approach (Plenary - Room 1)

Collaborative regional efforts for sustainability combining the public and private sectors

This panel discussion aims to support Green Destinations Representatives and DMOs in enhancing sustainability of entire tourism systems by taking a comprehensive approach involving DMO, local governments, tourism businesses and other stakeholders  . GD’s regional branches, GreenDACH and Balkan Green, will share their experience with implementing this approach. The panel will also review Green Destinations projects involving the destination and the business level, like in Bonaire (Caribbean), Guyana, Brazil, Finland and Sri Lanka.

Host: Hugo de Jong, Green Destinations, Netherlands


  • Holger Sigmund – GreenDACH/ Tourism Impact, Switzerland
  • Dr. Michaela Hölz – GreenDACH/ Hoelz Consulting, Austria
  • Jana Apih – Balkan Green/ GoodPlace,  Slovenia
  • Kirsi Hyvaerinen – BalkanGreen/ HYVÄ, Montenegro
  • Albert Salman – Green Destinations, Netherlands
  • Pekka Alhojärvi – GD Finland / Silvacultura, Finland
  • Iyad Kayali – GD Middle East & North Africa, Greece

More information here

Panel: Marketing & Communication (Room 2)

Explore practical and real-time approaches for destinations and businesses to communicate sustainable tourism

Experts will share insights on innovative marketing strategies and communication channels to engage travellers in more sustainable experiences. Discussions will focus on the power of storytelling, leveraging digital platforms and social media to raise awareness about sustainable destinations. Attendees will gain actionable knowledge to build strong brand identities and foster positive change, attracting responsible travellers who prioritise sustainability. The panel aims to equip DMOs and businesses with the latest tools to make a meaningful impact in the travel industry.

Host: Glenn Jampol, Global Ecotourism Network, Costa Rica


  • Glenn Jampol, Global Ecotourism Network, Costa Rica – “What is truer than the truth? The story! Green Marketing”
  • Ivana Alilović, Zagreb Tourism Board, Croatia – “Sustainable tourism as an export product & what we do in the Zagreb county”
  • Beatriz Barreal Danel, Riviera Maya Sostenible, Mexico – “Sustainability as a Path Towards the Revaluation of the Identity and Pride of Tourist Destinations within the local community”
  • Dr. Kaewta Muangasame, Mahidol University International College, Thailand – “Phygital Rural Cultural Heritage:” A Digitalisation Approach for Destination Recovery and Resilience”
  • Teddy Florea, Soul Dreamers/EcoManka, Colombia – “Soul Dreamers Urban Stories: Crafting Empathic Immersive Experiences in Favela Tourism”

More information here

Workshop: Strategies for planning more sustainable events (Room 3)

hosted by Peter Reelfs, Northflash, Sweden

Participants will learn from Enterprise Estonia’s efforts in organising the Green Destinations 2023 Conference, serving as a model for sustainability in the events and MICE industry. The workshop will explore practical and collaborative approaches for event organisers to minimise environmental impact, promote social inclusivity, and deliver meaningful, sustainable experiences for attendees. Through this workshop, attendees will gain valuable insights to positively impact the event industry’s sustainable future.


  • Katre Kahre, Jolos, Estonia
  • René Channouf Jacobsen, Klimascore, Denmark
  • Olga Skepetari, Green Destinations HQ, Greece
  • Josephine Piplits, TripDoodle, Denmark

More information here

Panel: Climate Action: Mitigation and Adaption (Room 4)

Actionable strategies for effectively mitigating and adapting to climate change

Climate mitigation and adaptation are two distinct but interconnected approaches to addressing the challenges of climate change. This panel focuses on showcasing innovative solutions that can inspire destinations to take actionable solutions for coping with climate change.

Host: Patice Talaue, Green Destinations HQ, Philippines


  • Patice Talaue, Green Destinations HQ, Philippines – “Building Capacities for Climate Adaptation & Mitigation for Tourism”
  • Vanessa Vivian Wabitsch, The Transformational Travel Council, US & Austria – “The journey to a regenerative destination – A story from the field”
  • Joe McKenna, University of Galway, Ireland – “Ireland’s Climate House: a Green Destination at the Planning Stage”
  • Ulf Sonntag, NIT – Institute for Tourism Research in Northern Europe, Germany – “Tackling Climate Change Adaptation in Tourism Destinations: The Case of Lower Saxony, Germany” 
  • Alex McCaffery, Greencase Consulting, Belgium – “A Gap Analysis of Tourism and Climate in the Caribbean”

More information here


Conference Day 1 – Evening Program

GD2023 Conference Dinner

Join us at the GD2023 conference dinner, where we will celebrate the newly Awarded and Certified Destinations, and unveil the 2023 Top 100 Stories. It promises to be a memorable evening of recognition and inspiration.

18:00 – 22:30, Seaplane Harbor.

Tue 10 Oct – Conference Day 2

‘Tourism Good Practices’ day is dedicated to sharing best practices in the industry, featuring a broad range of topics from destination management solutions to culture and marketing. It presents a valuable opportunity to learn from each-others mistakes and successes, discuss global contexts and identify synergies with potential new partners on your journey to sustainability.

GD2023 Day 2 New

Conference Day 2 – Registration

9:00 – 9:30

Conference Day 2 – Opening Session (Plenary)

9:30 – 11:00

Opening session

Albert Salman – Green Destinations, President
Rainer Aavik – Visit Estonia, Department Manager
Kalle Killar – City of Tallinn, Director
Rob Holmes – GLP, Founder
Gopinath Parayil – The Blue Yonder, Founder

More information here

Coffee Break

10:45 – 11:15

Conference Day 2 – Morning Sessions (Breakout rooms)

11:15 – 13:15

Discussion Panel: National and Regional Perspectives (Plenary - Room 1)

Inspiring leaders from Estonia, Slovenia, Finland, Austria and the Baltic Sea region share their sustainability goals and the strategies employed to achieve them within the tourism industry

These national and regional leaders will explain and discuss their efforts to push their respective tourism sectors forward on the path to sustainability, catalysing transformation and propelling initiatives far and beyond. Attendees will gain insights into the challenges they have encountered along the way, and what elements have brought success. Through powerful storytelling and visionary leadership, this panel will motivate local, regional and national leaders to inspire their stakeholders to collaboratively create a legacy of responsible tourism that enriches communities and safeguards our planet for future generations.

Host: Hugo de Jong, Green Destinations


  • Liisa Kokkarinen, Head of Sustainable Development, Visit Finland – “Sustainability & climate action in tourism: measuring impact”
  • Dr. Magda Leszczyna-Rzucidło, EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region Policy Area Coordinator, Poland – “Towards greener and more sustainable tourism in the Baltic Sea Region – reflections from the EUSBSR Policy Area Tourism” 


  • Maša Klemenčič, Project Manager at Slovenian Tourist Board, Slovenia
  • Imbi Lepik-Martinson, Coordinator of Quality Systems, Visit Estonia
  • Katrin Erben, Expert on Sustainability, Austrian National Tourist Office

More information here

Panel: Culture and Tradition & Thriving Communities (Room 2)

Explore the significance of heritage protection, authentic tourism experiences, and fostering respect for local life

Presenters will emphasise community-based tourism and development, involving local communities, producers, and stakeholders in the supply chain, and they will showcase best practices in the field. Through transformative approaches, attendees will gain valuable insights into the positive impact of tourism on nurturing thriving and sustainable communities. The panel aims to inspire destinations to celebrate their cultural heritage and empower local communities to participate in tourism while preserving their unique identities actively. With the presentation of best practices, the panel will provide tangible examples of successful approaches that have significantly enriched local lives and kept cultural treasures.

Host: Bart Hageman, Greend Destinations, Netherlands


  • Emma Harrison, Visit Inverness Loch Ness, Scotland – “Highland Shortbread Showdown”
  • Mitja Predovnik, Ljubljana Tourism, Slovenia
  • Kaisa Linno, Visit Lahemaa, Estonia – “Community-led collaboration for tourism management of a protected area: an example from Lahemaa national park in Estonia”
  • Aivar Ruukel, Soomaa.com, Estonia – “Sustainability and Intangible Cultural Heritage”
  • Jesse Efron, Miyazu City, Japan – “Saving the Ancient Art of Wisteria Weaving”
  • Endri Gjoshi, Belsh Municipality, Albania – “Blessings Over Bunkers: How Aphrodite Taught Albanians to Fall in Love Again with their Hidden Heritage”

More information here

Workshop: Think Big - Start Small - Realize Well (Room 3)

hosted by Thierry Joubert, Green Visions / Balkan Green, Bosnia & Herzegovina

Scaling up Sustainable Tourism in the Western Balkans, with Case Studies from BiH

This workshop explores the journey of six new destinations from Bosnia and Herzegovina and Albania in the 2023 Top100 Good Practice Story competition. It marks a significant turning point for these destinations and their businesses, signalling their commitment to sustainable tourism practices and paving the way forward. Through six case studies, the focus of the workshop and the breakout groups is to highlight the lessons being learned and identify the essential requirements for scaling up sustainable tourism development in a developing country and region with limited awareness of sustainability.

More information here

Panel: Destination Management - Part 1 (Room 4)

Explore successful destination development approaches, visitor management strategies, and regeneration efforts

Tourism experts will share best practices, real-life case studies, and actionable insights, showcasing exemplary destination management models. Discussions will also emphasise the critical role of stakeholder involvement and collaboration in achieving sustainable tourism goals. Attendees will gain the tools and knowledge needed to effectively manage destinations sustainably and responsibly, fostering a deeper understanding of the interconnectedness between destination management, sustainability, and the well-being of local communities. The panel aims to empower destinations to create memorable and transformative experiences for visitors while preserving natural and cultural assets for future generations.

Host: Anna Polock, Conscious Travel, UK


  • Dr. Michaela Hölz, GreenDACH/ Hoelz Consulting, Austria – “From project to structure and the process in between – Key Learnings from Wagrain-Kleinarl, the first Green Destinations GSTC certified destination in Austria”
  • Peter Henkes, Takaroa Travel & Consultancy, Netherlands – “The impact of the cruise sector in the destination”
  • Brooke Hansen, University of South Florida School of Hospitality and Tourism Management, USA – “Destination Stewardship in the US and Serbia: Case Studies for Creating Sustainable Tourism Platforms”
  • Kristen Bertuglia & Mia Vlaar, Town of Vail, USA – “Vail’s Stewardship Roadmap”
  • Thelma Redwan, Aqaba special Economic Zone Authority, Jordan – “Aqaba Bird Observatory”
  • Nuria Mohedano, Ciudad Real Province, Spain – “Co-creating sustainable small scale rural destination branding”

More information here


Lunch Break

13:15 – 14:15

Conference Day 2 – Afternoon Sessions (Breakout)

14:15 – 16:15

Discussion Panel: Sustainable marine tourism and vision on the shores of the Baltic Sea (Plenary - Room 1)

Visualising sustainable marine maintenance from an academic, commercial and infrastructural perspective

The Baltic Sea holds significant importance to the nine countries surrounding it due to its unique geographical, economic, environmental, and geopolitical characteristics. The sea is a crucial trade corridor connecting Northern and Central Europe. Scenic coastlines and diverse activities generate significant revenue and employment opportunities for coastal communities and businesses. It is a vital source of income for the hospitality, restaurant, and entertainment sectors. Panellists will look forward to envision the sustainable maintenance of the sea from the academic, trade and infrastructure perspective. The discussion will help convey the importance of trade and tourism in the Baltic Sea region, highlighting their role in sustainable economic development, cultural exchange, and the overall well-being of the coastal communities and nations involved.


  • Margus Vihman – Port of Tallinn, Estonia


  • Ulla Tapaninen – Tallinn University of Technology, Estonia


  • Simone Tommaso Maraschi – Cruise Europe, Estonia
  • Heigo Saare – Rail Baltic, Estonia
  • Ain Hinsberg – Univercity of Tartu Pärnu College, Estonia

More information here

Panel: Nature, Environment and Climate (Room 2)

Explore the fundamental role of tourism in biodiversity conservation, animal welfare and ecosystem regeneration

Tourism professionals will discuss practical strategies, including showcasing best practices, to reduce the environmental impact of tourism, combat the climate crisis through mitigation and adaptation, and tackle challenges like waste reduction, water consumption, and pollution. Attendees will gain valuable insights into sustainable tourism practices that promote harmony with the natural environment, inspiring destinations and businesses to embrace responsible approaches. The panel aims to foster a resilient and sustainable future for tourism and the ecosystems it depends on, highlighting the collective efforts needed to protect our planet’s resources for future generations. By showcasing best practices, the panel will provide tangible examples of successful approaches that can drive positive change within the industry.

Host: Gopinath Parayil, The Blue Yonder, India


  • Gopinath Parayil, The Blue Yonder, India
  • Dr. Laura Harrisson, University of South Florida, USA – “Virtualization Technologies for Vulnerable Tourism Destinations: A Case Study from Coastal Florida”
  • Chia-Lin Huang (Lynn), National Sun Yat-sen University, Taiwan – “Taiwan’s Whale-Watching Industry and Marine Conservation NGO: Sustainable Collaboration for Win-Win Outcomes”
  • Gabriela Escobar Sánchez, Ocean Affairs Council, Taiwan – “Taiwan’s Whale-Watching Industry and Marine Conservation NGO: Sustainable Collaboration for Win-Win Outcomes”
  • Natalia Bakhtadze Englaender, Georgian Ecotourism Association, Georgia – “Nature-based tourism development positive influence on local communities in post-Soviet Era in Georgia”
  • Jordan Every, Saba Tourist Bureau, Dutch Caribbean – “Reef Rebirth: How Conservationists are Reviving Saba’s Coral Ecosystems” 
  • Albert Folch, Terres de l’Ebre Biosphere Reserve, Catalonia, Spain – “A green infrastructure plan for the fight against climate change in Terres de l’Ebre, Biosphere Reserve”

More information here

Panel: Business and Marketing (Room 3)

Best practices in engaging the private tourism sector in sustainability

Presenters will present innovative ways to communicate sustainability messages, such as successful campaigns and impactful pledges. Attendees will gain actionable insights into how businesses can adopt sustainable practices and effectively communicate their commitment to responsible initiatives. By highlighting successful case studies and best practices, the panel aims to inspire the tourism industry to take a proactive stance towards sustainability, fostering a collective effort to preserve our planet’s resources. Through collaboration and creative marketing approaches, businesses can become exemplars of responsible tourism, setting new standards and positively influencing the global travel landscape.

Host: Rob Holmes, GLP Films, USA


  • Rob Holmes, GLP Films, USA – “Strategic Storytelling to Sell Sustainable Travel”
  • Yrjötapio Kivisaari, Visit Oulu, FInland – “Community engagement and sustainable tourism in future European Capital of Culture”
  • Camilla Zedendahl, Royal Djurgården Society, Sweden – “On the sustainable path: tools for joining forces within the destination”
  • Ryan Tym, Lantern & Imbi Lepik Martinson, Visit Estonia – “From words to wanderlust: Emotive brand strategy for sustainable tourism in Estonia”
  • Ayse Zeynep, No11 Hotel, Turkey – “Sustainability in small city hotels”
  • Frederic Lizee, New explorer Challenge, France – “Developing the new generation of responsible and immersive travel creators and explorers”
  • Nuri Kim, Gangwon State, Republic of Korea – “Wellness : The Sustainable Hyang (Sweet) Spot for Gangwon for all seasons”

More information here

Panel: Destination Management - Part 2 (Room 4)

Explore successful destination development approaches, visitor management strategies, and regeneration efforts

Tourism experts will share best practices, real-life case studies, and actionable insights, showcasing exemplary destination management models. Discussions will also emphasise the critical role of stakeholder involvement and collaboration in achieving sustainable tourism goals. Attendees will gain the tools and knowledge needed to effectively manage destinations sustainably and responsibly, fostering a deeper understanding of the interconnectedness between destination management, sustainability, and the well-being of local communities. The panel aims to empower destinations to create memorable and transformative experiences for visitors while preserving natural and cultural assets for future generations.

Host: Anna Pollock, Conscious Travel, UK


  • ​​Ulla-Alexandra Mattl, EURAKOM (on behalf of Syndicat Mixte Baie de Somme – Grand Littoral Picard), Belgium – “How a long-term vision can anticipate mobility challenges and prevent overtourism – The case of Baie de Somme, France”
  • Zendy Celeste Euan, Community Tours, Mexico – “A model of deep Community Tourism based in the communities of the Mayan zone of Quintana Roo”
  • Csenge Adriány, Innotime Hungary – “​​The 10 Months – 10 Challenges Programme”
  • Tina Felicijan, Šaleška Valley Tourist Board, Slovenia – “Underground and underwater stories from Šalek Valley”
  • Lindsay Morvan, Tourism Authrority Mauritius – “Bel Ombre Destination and horizon.eco reporting platform”
  • Yi Chen Huang, North Coast & Guanyinshan National Scenic Area Administration, Tourism Bureau – “A Path Toward the Hideaway”
  • Annika Ojasaar, Visit Tartu, Estonia – “Participatory urban planning in Tartu – linear park instead of busy street”

More information here

Conference Day 2 – Closing Session (Plenary)

16:30 – 17:00

Final remarks and conclusions

Albert Salman (Green Destinations)
Imbi Lepik (Vist Estonia)
Hele Lõhmus (Visit Tallinn)

More information here

Wed 11 Oct – BSTF2023

Baltic Sea Tourism Forum 2023 (Special Event)

9:00-17:00, Radisson Collection. Invitation only.

GD2023 Tours and Field trips

Additional payment is required.

Wed 11-Thur 12 Oct – Post conference Tours and Field Trips

GD2023 Tours and Field trips

Additional payment is required.

Green Destinations 2023 Sponsors & Partners


This event has only been possible thanks to the generosity and engagement of key partners. Green Destinations is proud to collaborate with industry leaders to support destinations to share their excellent initiatives and inspire the global tourism industry towards more sustainable development.

Visit Tallinn
Visit Estonia
Republic of Estonia
Port of Tallinn
Tallinn European Green Capital
Pivoine Design Studio
Global Ecotourism Network