Thursday 21.01.2016, 14.30-16.00, Main stage

In English

How is the social media affecting the decisions made in travel business?  Can we change the attitudes and perspectives with the content provided in social media? What is the role of digital influencers in the new era? In this session you will learn and get inspiration from our keynote speakers like award-winning writer, photographer and author of Insidethetravellab.com Abigail King and Tuomo Meretniemi.

Parallel session for bloggers & industry

From a crisis to the success – How the digital is delivering the truth from people to people? Abigail King – UK (insidethetravellab.com)

Who are the digital influencers in Asian market and on which channels they will reach your clients? Key Shibata – Japan (Venture Republic.inc)

The only what matters is trust! Mariette du Toit-Helmbold – South Africa (www.destinate.co.za)

The session will be moderated by Lola Akinmade-Åkerström (Geotraveler's niche) and Inna-Pirjetta Lahti (Innastus Ltd)









Abigail King is an award-winning writer, photographer, author and TV host who has worked with Lonely Planet, the BBC, National Geographic Traveler and more.

Her blog, Inside the Travel Lab covers thoughtful luxury and unusual journeys with a penchant for responsible tourism and history. It’s picked up accolades from National Geographic Traveler, Vanity Fair, Stylist, Grazia and more and is the highest ranking independent luxury travel blog in the UK according to Cision (now Vuelio.)

It still keeps close to its original premise, however: telling first person stories from a writer and photographer who swapped a career as a doctor for a life on the road.





Mariette du Toit-Helmbold is an international destination marketing and tourism thought leader, as well as a writer and public speaker on tourism, responsible tourism, destination marketing, brand innovation and digital strategy. She established Destinate, an international specialised destination and tourism marketing agency, after an enviable tenure of 10 years as the CEO of Cape Town Tourism. During this time she brought the fragmented tourism industry in Cape Town under one roof, with the establishment of a unified tourism body for the Greater Cape Town Metropole.

She now works with destinations and brands within and beyond South Africa to unlock their full potential, applying what she has learned and pursuing her passion for innovative, people-centred marketing and tourism. She has extensive experience in destination brand development and management – leading the brand review of Cape Town for the City of Cape Town in the run up to the World Cup in 2010. The brand shift from “beauty” alone to Cape Town being positioned and celebrated as a place of “inspiration” by multiple sectors has laid a valuable foundation in the destination marketing of Cape Town.

She has done groundbreaking work in city tourism marketing, recognising that cities constitute the new battleground for visitors. She initiated a city tourism alliance between Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban in 2011, which has been instrumental in boosting the profile of South African cities in the marketing of South Africa. South Africa’s urban offering is now marketed equally alongside the country’s scenic beauty and wildlife offering.

Her work in city marketing has received international recognition and she contributed to the 1st comprehensive report on City Tourism compiled by the UNWTO. In September 2013 she was a speaker at the UNWTO Global Summit on City Tourism presenting on innovation in city marketing.

She has been a member of, among others, the UNWTO Destination Council; the UNWTO Business Council, the UNWTO Protection of Children through Tourism Council and was a board member of Wesgro, the Western Cape’s Investment and Destination Marketing Organisation, from 2010 – 2014.



Kei Shibata co-founded and runs Venture Republic Inc., the company that owns Japan's largest online travel search engine and online travel guide media - "Travel.jp" and "Hotel.jp" As CEO, he took the company public in 2008 (2177. JASDAQ) after 7 years in operation.

In recent years, he is leading the company to extend its reach to overseas market though various investments and acquisitions. Among the invested companies are Trip101 (Flocations) in Singapore, Allstay in South Korea, and Telunjuk in Indonesia.Previously, Kei worked at Mitsubishi Corporation, Japan’s leading trading & investment firm.

He received a BA of Laws from Keio University and an MBA from the Harvard Business School. He also serves as co-founder of WIT (Web in Travel) Japan, President of Venture Mitakai at Keio University, and Executive Committee Member of Harvard Business School Club of Japan.