Summit 2019: Travel to Tomorrow – Growing Forward Together

On 12 and 13 September 2019 ‘Travel to Tomorrow – Growing Forward Together’ will take place in Bruges. This summit brings together entrepreneurs, opinion and policy makers and policy supporters around pressing, contemporary questions and challenges in the tourism sector. A varied mix of keynotes, workshops, experience sessions and (digital) interviews provides each participant with interactive opportunities to be inspired by the transforming power of tourism and grow professionally. Flemish and international top speakers link the theoretical framework to practical examples and issues of great touristic, but also broad social relevance. A must-visit event for everyone who wants to contribute in an innovative, sustainable way to a future proof tourism!


Fascinating guest speakers, international and from Flanders

From thought leaders to academics, from policy makers to supporters and entrepreneurs active in day-to-day practice. ‘Travel to Tomorrow’ brings together established names and new faces in the tourism industry at a unique event, carefully curated by author and change agent Anna Pollock (founder of and host Michel Vandendriessche (Managing Director, Pasar).

All sessions (except the workshops in Dutch) will be translated, so both international and Flemish people can participate in the summit.

Anna Pollock
Michel Vandendriessche

Inspiring practical examples and success cases

‘Travel to Tomorrow’ offers more than a new conceptual framework for thinking about tourism. Contemporary issues, in the context of a rapidly changing context, are viewed from different angles. Organisations, companies and communities explain how they experiment in practice with various forms of a future proof tourism that make the local communities and their place flourish. For example, we will be working on the activities developed in Flanders as a result of the commemoration of WWI and we will show how a (cultural) tourism approach can have a much broader and deeper social impact than first realised.

Connecting to the broad sector

More than ever, tourism is an interdisciplinary issue embedded in the fabric and infrastructure of our society and economy. The ‘Travel to Tomorrow’ summit offers opportunities to connect and collaborate with people from different sectors. Expand your horizons and be inspired by the surprising perspectives, questions and solutions of the other participants and forge new plans for the future together.

Interactive work sessions and atypical activities

In addition to the keynote sessions, the summit offers wide range of inspiration sessions and local activities. We create unexpected contexts that will stimulate dialogue between strangers and catalyse development of fresh perspectives and insights. In a variety of workshops topics like mobility, inclusivity, entrepreneurship, events, congresses, stories and flourishing communities will be discussed.

Interviews with policy makers in Flanders

In many places people are travelling to tomorrow. The balance between visitors, residents, entrepreneurs and the value of the place they share, is important to all of us. But what does that mean in terms of policy making? Six Flemish Mayors and Aldermen for Tourism are happy to share their take on the future of tourism.

More about Tourism Transforms

The experience of travelling changes travellers, places they visit, people and local communities who ‘make’ and inhabit these places. Tourism is therefore more than economics. We want to investigate and give shape to that ‘more’ in the ‘Tourism Transforms’ programme. How can we stimulate this ‘more’ so that all those involved in the tourism system derive maximum benefit from it? All the activities that take place within the framework of this project are brought together under the umbrella of ‘Travel to Tomorrow’, of which the summit on 12 and 13 September 2019 in Bruges will be a key milestone on our journey.



Thursday 12 – Friday 13 September 2019.


Kapucijnenkerk, Klokstraat, 8000 Bruges, Belgium. (on Google Maps)
Sint-Godelieveabdij, Boeveriestraat 41, 8000 Bruges, Belgium. (on Google Maps)
Belfry of Bruges, Markt 7, 8000 Bruges. (on Google Maps)

The plenary sessions take place at the Kapucijnen church. The welcome, lunch and workshops will happen at the Sint-Godelieve Abbey. Both locations are situated just across the road at a 90 metres walking distance. The evening program starts at the Befry of Bruges and ends at the Sint-Godelieve Abbey.
The locations can be reached easily by train. So leave the car at home and we’ll provide you with a warm welcome at the train station in Bruges.
Are you coming by car? Go to our Group Carpool to find or offer a seat.


Thank you for your interest. Registrations for the Travel to tomorrow summit are closed.

Luckily you can also follow the summit online via the livestream on



We’re happy to present a line-up of inspiring speakers who will provide hands-on sessions on various aspects of the transformational power of tourism. These sessions will cover a wide range of topics such as community initiatives and interactions, entrepreneurship, sustainability and tourism policies. We want the participants to reflect upon what is being said and done during the summit in a creative manner. Our goal is to offer a program filled with activities which facilitates this reflection and make it happen.

Thursday 12 September 2019

8:00- 9:00 a.m.: Welcome and registrations at the train station in Bruges and departure to the event venue in groups.

9:15 – 10:00 a.m.: Travel to Tomorrow – Why we are rethinking the future of tourism? (hostess Anna Pollock and host Michel Vandendriessche, together with Philip Pierins of the city of Bruges and moderator Andrea Croonenberghs).

10:00 − 11:00 a.m.: Collaborative Advantage and Qualitative Growth: Tourism as a catalyst for regenerative regional development – Keynote by Daniel Wahl (author of Designing Regenerative Cultures).

11:15 a.m. − 12:30 p.m.: Travel to Tomorrow – How to put things into practice?

  • Best practices and inspiring case studies in Flanders and abroad.
  • Interviews with policy makers in Flanders: Carla Pantens (Alderman for Tourism, Brasschaat), Bram Van Braeckevelt (Alderman for Tourism, Ghent), Brigitte Vanhoutte (Alderman for Tourism, Ronse), Marino Keulen (Mayor of Lanaken), Mohamed Ridouani (Mayor of Leuven) and Dirk De fauw – (Mayor of Bruges)
  • Peter De Wilde on the future of tourism and the vision and role of Visit Flanders.

12.30 – 1:30 p.m.: Lunch break

1.30 p.m. – 1:45 p.m.: Interview with Jan Jambon

1:45 − 2:30 p.m.: Let’s Build a Thrivable Tourism: why, what and how!Michelle Holliday (author of The Age of Thrivability).

2:30 − 4:00 p.m.: Thinking differently, doing differently – Workshops (free choice):

  • Mobility
  • Inclusivity and authentic hospitality
  • Events
  • Congresses
  • Research, measurement and results
  • Accommodations
  • Powerful stories and tourist products, experiences and services
  • Entrepreneurs and investors
  • Encounters of locals and visitors

4:15 − 5:00 p.m.: Imagination: The Community-based Power that drives TransformationRob Hopkins (author and representative of

5:00 – 5:30 p.m.: Closing remarks

Daniel Christian Wahl (author of Designing Regenerative Cultures)
Michelle Holliday (author of The Age of Thrivability)
Rob Hopkins (author and representative of
Van Acker, P. (2018, 18 maart). Kapucijnenkerk, Brugge.

Thursday evening 12 September

Inspirational networking dinner and concert in Bruges with tourism industry professionals and key opinion leaders.

  • 18:45 p.m.: Welcome by the city of Bruges (with Mayor Dirk De fauw and Alderman for tourism Philip Pierins) at the Belfry of Bruges. Welcome and aperitif at the market square.
  • 19:30 − 21:30 p.m.: Networking and dining at unique locations in the city centre of Bruges. In small groups, participants will enjoy a thematic dinner experience and lots of networking opportunities with colleagues in the tourist industry.
  • 21:30 − 22:15 p.m.: Concert of singer-songwriter Wannes Cappelle at the Kapucijnenkerk.
  • 22:15 – 23:00 p.m.: Closing drinks at the Sint-Godelieve Abbey.

Those who participe in the two-days summit are automatically enrolled in the Thursday evening sessions.

Friday 13 September 2019

7.30 – 8.30 a.m.: Urban Run: relaxed jogging in the city centre of Bruges.

9:30 − 10:00 a.m.: Welcome – Highlights, Q&A and learnings (Anna Pollock and Michel Vandendriessche).

10:00 − 11:15 a.m.: Case study: Flanders Fields – ‘100 years armistice’. Commemorative tourism and the balance between visitors, residents, entrepreneurs and the government

11:15 a.m. − 11:45 p.m.: Break

11:45 a.m. − 12:30 p.m.: Case study: La Biomista in Genk. – The future of tourism: an internationally renowned project with respect for the local community and entrepreneurs. A reportage with artist Koen Vanmechelen, explained by the mayor of Genk, Wim Dries.

1:30 − 3:00 p.m.: Thinking differently, doing differently – Workshops (free choice)

3:15 − 4:00 p.m.: The Challenge of Rapid Transition – Can we Make the Transition to a New Economy in Time? – Andrew Simms.

4:00 – 4:30 p.m.: Closing remarks

4:30 – 5:00 p.m.: Closing drinks

Andrew Simms (auteur van Cancel the Apocalypse: The New Path to Prosperity, & Economics – A Crash Course)
Vanderhispallie, E. (2009, 13 september). Sint-Godelieveabdij, Brugge.

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