Keynote Speakers

Well-known personalities from academia and practice provide you with unique insights into their work.

Dimitrios Buhalis

Prof. Dr. Dimitrios Buhalis

is a Strategic Management and Marketing expert with specialisation in Information Communication Technology applications in the Tourism, Travel, Hospitality and Leisure industries. He is currently Visiting Professor at the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University.

He is Director of the eTourism Lab and Deputy Director of the International Centre for Tourism and Hospitality Research, at Bournemouth University Business School in England. 


He is the Editor in Chief of the most established Journal in Tourism: Tourism Review, now and SSCI Journal in its 76th volume and the Editor in Chief of the Encyclopedia of Tourism Management and Marketing. Professor Buhalis has written and co-edited more than 20 books and 250 scientific articles. His research is referenced widely, being the 2nd most cited for tourism and 1st most cited for hospitality 10th on strategy and 26th in Marketing on Google Scholar with more than 54000 citations and h-index 100. His research pioneers smart and ambient intelligence tourism with a particular focus on innovation, entrepreneurship and destination ecosystems management.

Professor Dimitrios Buhalis was recognised as a Highly Cited Researcher 2020 and 2021 by Clarivate™. Professor Buhalis is a well-known international speaker on trends, technology, marketing, tourism and Hospitality and works closely with the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO). For more information, books, articles and presentations see

Liisa Tyrväinen

Prof. Dr. Liisa Tyrväinen

is a research professor in outdoor recreation and nature-based tourism at Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke). She leads research
work dealing with health benefits of nature, outdoor recreation, naturebased
tourism, and develops collaborative models between forestry and nature-based tourism with her team. She has strong international networks and collaboration in Europe, Japan, China and the U.S, and has authored 75 articles in peer reviewed journals and books and over 250 scientific publications. She is also member of Metsähallitus board of directors leading management and utilisation of state-owned forests and water areas in Finland.

Karmen Mentil

Magistra Karmen Mentil

is a self-employed tourism consultant since 1997 and partner of the OEAR Ltd, Consultants, Austria, Vienna. Karmen focusses on projects for sustainable tourism development and regional development programmes: international project management, trainings, design and realisation of thematic conferences and media trips, marketing initiatives. Since its foundation in 2006 Karmen Mentil is director of the association “Alpine Pearls”, the network of alpine communities that offer green travels and comfortable ways to enjoy holidays in an environmentally conscious fashion. 

Raija Komppula

Prof. Dr. Raija Komppula

is a Professor of Marketing, especially Tourism Business, at the University of Eastern Finland, Business School. Her research interests include research on tourist experience, customer involvement in new service development in tourism, destination branding, market orientation, small business research and entrepreneurship, cooperation and networks. She has conducted research on these topics especially in the context of nature based and rural tourism, and recently in wellbeing and social tourism. Professor Komppula has several positions of trust in tourism industry in Finland, and she is member of AIEST, TRC (Tourist Research Center) and ISTO. 

Prof. Dr. Christian Baumgartner

Prof. Dr. Christian Baumgartner

 studied Landscape Ecology and is Professor for Sustainable Tourism at the University of Applied Sciences Graubünden (Switzerland) and chairs the competence area ‘Sustainable Tourism and International Development’. In addition to his academic position, he is owner of Response & Ability. Christian Baumgartner specializes in the development and implementation of sustainable tourism and sustainable regional development and has led specific tourism development projects in Europe, Central and Southeast Asia. He is a board member of the Danube Competence Center in Belgrade/Serbia and Vice President of the International Commission for the Protection of the Alps CIPRA. In addition, he has wide experience in the field of labeling and monitoring. He is a member of the advisory board of the Austrian and European eco-labels for lodging establishments, a member of the advisory board of Ibex FairStay in Switzerland, a member of the certification committee of TourCert and has published books on the evaluation of sustainability in tourism. 
He is teaching at several universities in Europe and Asia. 

Alessandro Paletto

Dr. Alessandro Paletto

has a PhD in Mountain and Forest Economics and is a researcher at the Council for Agriculture Research and Economics (CREA), Research Centre for Forestry and Wood in Trento (Italy). He is an expert in socio-economic science applied to the natural resources management gained by participating in several national and international projects and programmes. His main research topics are stakeholder analysis, stakeholders’ involvement in decision-making process, public participation in forest planning and management, and economic evaluation of ecosystem services. He is member of the Management Committee (MC) of COST Action CA15206 “Payments of Ecosystem Services (Forests for Water)” and COST Action CAPABAL TN1401 “Capacity building in the Western Balkans”. He has published over 200 scientific articles of which 100 are Scopus indexed journals (h-index=20, total citation=1290) and he is editor of four international scientific journals (Heliyon, Forests, Annals of Forest Research, Sustainable Forestry journal). 

Claudia Mitchell

Claudia Mitchell

worked in Sales & Marketing at the World Expo 2000 Hanover and the German National Tourist Board London and joined Bayern Tourismus (BayTM) in 2005. She implemented innovative projects within the international tourism industry and built up valuable networks. After several years as Head of International Marketing, she moved to a new position as Network and Partner Manager, where she manages stakeholders to build strong networks and identify potential areas of cooperation. As a nature and outdoor sports enthusiast, the Bavarian countryside is a source of relaxation and activity for her in equal measure.

Kseniia Gavrilova

Kseniia Gavrilova, M.A.

founded her company "Adventure.Dream.Team", which is based in Pyatigorsk, Russia, during her Master's studies in 2019. She and her team have made it their mission to take care of the development of protected areas and local communities by promoting rural destinations and sustainable travel in the North Caucasus region, which she calls home. She believes that the connections forged through travel are stronger and more important than anything else, cultural exchange as much as technological progress. The way we travel to our destinations, the places people actually travel to or buy souvenirs play a big role. As a tourism organisation and we as travellers have an important task and a great impact on the economy, society and nature.

Dr. Denis Tolkach

Dr. Denis Tolkach

is a Senior Lecturer in Tourism and Hospitality Management at James Cook University, Cairns. He teaches various subjects in Bachelor of Tourism, Hospitality and Events and Masters of International Tourism & Hospitality Management. Prior to joining James Cook University in 2020, Dr Tolkach has worked as an Assistant Professor at School of Hotel and Tourism Management at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University.

Iride Azara 

is a Senior Lecturer in Tourism and Events at the Centre for Contemporary Hospitality and Tourism. She is also the Masters Scheme Leader for the Postgraduate taught courses MSc Tourism Management; MSc International Hospitality Management and MSc Events Management. 

Iride is an active researcher across several University research groups and international research associations. She has extensive research background on the changing dynamics of cultural tourism practices such as heritage, festivals and events and how they can be used as opportunities for the sustainable revitalisation of communities and destinations alike.

She has published in a variety of international refereed journals and books. Iride regularly acts as a reviewer for a number of academic journals and international research conferences such as Eurochrie, the INC and Atlas and she sits on the European editorial board of the International Journal of Spa and Wellness. Iride has guest edited several special issues for the Journal of Event Management and edited a book on Tourism, Health and Wellbeing in Protected Areas published by CABI. 

Eleni Michopoulou

is an an Associate Professor in Business Management at University of Derby, Buxton. She teaches on subjects relating to the management and marketing of Tourism, Hospitality, Events and Spa industries. Eleni holds a PhD in Accessible Tourism Information Systems from University of Surrey, UK. Her research interests include technological applications and information systems in tourism, online consumer behaviour and technology acceptance. 

Eleni Michopoulou is particularly interested in the field of accessible and wellness tourism, which she has actively been researching for over ten years.

Her research has been published in a variety of outlets including books and high impact journals such as Annals of Tourism Research, Current Issues in Tourism, and Information and Management. Eleni Michopoulou is the European Editor for the International Journal of Spa and Wellness. She is a founding member of the Wellness Tourism Initiative, part of the Global Wellness Institute.

Nikolaos Pappas 

is Associate Professor in Tourism Hospitality and Events, and the Director of the Centre for Research in Tourism Excellence (CERTE) at the University of Sunderland, United Kingdom. He holds a doctorate (PhD) in tourism planning and development and a post-doctorate (PDoc) in risk and crisis management. He has worked more than 20 years in the tourism and hospitality industry, and since 1998 he has been involved and led several nationally and internationally funded research projects. 

Since 2001 he is an academic (teaching and research) in a variety of higher education institutions in the U.K. and Greece. He has more than sixty publications is esteemed scientific journals and conferences, whilst he acts as a reviewer in several academic journals, such as Annals of Tourism Research, Journal of Business Research, Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, Journal of Sustainable Tourism, and Tourism Management. His research interests include crisis management communications, tourism and hospitality management, destination marketing, and tourism planning and development.