An exciting 2022 for NECSTouR! What’s next? Looking forward to many interesting projects for 2023

An exciting 2022 for NECSTouR! What’s next? Looking forward to many interesting projects for 2023

We are very grateful to our network for this year, full of activities, insightful meetings, projects, and great events. Since 2007, we have undertaken a unique journey reaching today more than 70 organisations around Europe, namely 40+ Tourism Regional Managing Authorities and 29 associated and academic members from the Private and Public sectors representing 21 European countries. Finally, we are expanding with a bright team coming from different European regions, united by the passion for tourism! Together with our members, we will continue to achieve great results.

Just a quick overview....

  • 1 Year Anniversary of Tourism of Tomorrow Lab 
  • NECSTouR Climate Action Plan was published and presented at COP27. 
  • We won 2 EU-funded projects: Interreg Euro-MED Community4Tourism and European Data Space for Tourism (DATES)
  • We welcomed 5 New Members in our Community: Castilla-la-Mancha, Region of Madrid, Normandy Tourism, Turismo Lanzarote and Association of Tuscan Municipalities - ANCI Toscana. Joining in 2023: Visit Kotka-Hamina and Atlantic Technological University. 
  • Our Permanent Secretariat Team in Brussels has gained now top-class players! 

2022 has been a remarkable year for us, celebrating 10 years of Cristina Nuñez Cuesta as our Managing Director. She has been brilliantly combining her life as NECSTouR Managing Director and mum since 2012. Originally from Catalonia, Cristina holds a Degree in Tourism (Spain-France) and a postgraduate degree in European Affairs (Belgium). 

Cristina is a team builder with strong organisational, networking and business development skills. She is passionate of promoting sustainability in tourism destinations. Thanks to her strong expertise in Destination Management models and territorial tourism strategy, including ECORYS Brussels, the European Commission, the Catalan Tourism Board Benelux, and several tourism stakeholders based in the Costa Brava Tourism Destination in Catalonia, Cristina has been brightly running the growth of NECSTouR network in quality and quantity. She is driving and promoting the network’s strategy, activities and projects on sustainable tourism management to improve tourism governance in Europe, building bridges between European Tourism Policy and local realities. Cristina is a key representative of NECSTouR’s Members in liaising with European Institutions, providing them with a framework for exchange to learn from each other through European projects. This year, she has represented NECSTouR in a wide range of leading tourism-related events as speaker and moderator, such as at Global Tourism Forum Leaders 2022, the 1st European Tourism Islands Convention, TIS Tourism Innovation Summit. Stay tuned, she will continue to drive our network toward great results! 

NECSTouR achieved such impressive results also thanks to the precious contributions of Tomaso Comazzi, who has been part of the NECSTouR’s Permanent Secretariat since 2016 as Membership and Communication Manager. He has been supporting the network in delivering capacity-building and technical assistance to tourism stakeholders, and managing European projects, such as Interreg Europe STAR Cities, Euro-Emotur, and the Interreg Euro-MED. His great expertise in policy communication, European tourism, EU-funded projects implementation, and territorial cooperation, will keep leading our members toward great opportunities. He is Italian and comes originally from Liguria and Lazio. During his Bachelor’s studies at Università degli Studi Roma TRE in Rome with a semester abroad at ULB Université libre de Bruxelles, he developed a strong passion for EU Affairs. He specialised in a Master’s degree in European Studies and International Relationships at Università degli Studi di Firenze. Tomaso previously worked at European University Institute Communication Service in Florence, The New Humanity International NGO and the Assembly of European Regions (AER) in Brussels.  

In March 2022, Oyana Marius, a very talented young professional from Île-De-France Region, joined our Permanent Secretariat’s team in Brussels as European Policies and Projects Officer. After a Bachelor’s Degree in International Political Science at Paris XII University, she obtained a Master’s Degree in European Affairs at the Sorbonne Nouvelle University in Paris. Previously, she worked at the Île-de-France Representation to the EU where she oversaw monitoring European opportunities for the Region on several themes and at a Europe Direct Center: an association in the South of France implementing European projects. Oyana’s mission involves various advocacy-related activities such as monitoring tourism-related policy developments, funding opportunities, supporting the network’s response to public consultations, elaboration of policy papers and promoting members’ good practices in the European Arena to increase the engagement with EU institutions and tourism stakeholders. Moreover, she supports the network in the implementation of several projects and initiatives, such as the Interreg MED Sustainable Tourism Community, and she led the consortium for the submission of the Interreg North West Europe BETTER Tourism Project Proposal

NECSTouR team kept growing in 2022 with the entry of a great asset, Justine Bauters, as European Tourism Project Officer. Justine is in charge of a variety of responsibilities related to European Tourism projects, namely monitoring and helping the team further to elaborate the NECSTouR department ‘Tourism of Tomorrow Lab’, the NECSTouR Climate Action Plan and the DATES project funded by the EU within the Digital Europe Programme. Justine comes from Flanders. Thanks to her Bachelor’s studies in tourism in Brussels and her professional experience at a fast-growing travel start-up, she gained a wide range of insights into the functioning of our tourism ecosystem. She started querying the sense of sustainability and resilience of current destination management models. For this reason, she specialised in the Master’s Tourism Destination Management at the Breda University of Applied Sciences, gaining theoretical knowledge on tourism governance, tourism research and project management. Moreover, she undertook three-month field research on three different destinations in Europe. Justine finalised her studies by writing her thesis about ‘Regenerative Tourism’, and for this closely studied the strategy of Visit Flanders ‘Travel to Tomorrow’. 

Last but not least, Irene Paolinelli embarked on NECSTouR’s journey in late November as Network Marketing and Communication Manager. Working with Cristina, Tomaso, Oyana and Justine, her mission involves managing NECSTouR's communication strategy, all related communication activities and building up the communication network to develop synergies within the community of NECSTouR’s members. She is driven by curiosity, discovering different cultures and mastering a variety of languages. Her passion for Sustainable Tourism, Marketing, and Communications, as well as her wide-ranging experience in Brussels in European Affairs’ communications, including the European Parliament, the Wilfried Martens Centre for European Studies, Intergraf, and the European Travel Commission, will be crucial in supporting the network in performing communication activities in an impactful way. Her roots trace back to Tuscany, where she graduated in Tourism Sciences at the University of Pisa (Fondazione Campus Lucca) – joint Bachelor’s Degree programme with the University of Pavia and the Università della Svizzera italiana (USI), holding a semester abroad in Valladolid, Spain at UEMC. During her Master’s Degree in Marketing at ISEG Lisbon School of Economics & Management, she had the opportunity to apply the knowledge acquired to the tourism field with a dissertation focusing on sustainable tourism.

...Above all, we are a community jointly facing common challenges and building solutions through economies of scale, getting further where we could not reach alone! Let’s shape the tourism of tomorrow together, turning challenges into scalable opportunities

“The community is where you will always find somebody, a project, a partner, who already has a methodology, a tool, a product that can inspire and trigger you to replicate and go further. It is a space for collaborative knowledge, transferring into action, improving tourism governance and advocating together in Europe for a better tourism policy”. (Cristina Nuňez, NECSTouR Managing Director).