ONLINE EVENT · 29th NOV - 10th DEC

X. Festival 2021

The biggest tourism event
Ten half-days of virtual sessions, interviews and workshops
spread over two weeks for the tourism industry.
Register for free
ONLINE EVENT · 29th NOV - 10th DEC

X. Festival 2021

Leading tourism transformation
Ten half-days of virtual sessions, interviews and workshops spread over two weeks for the tourism industry.
Register for free


With so much happening in the industry this year, we’re giving each theme two days, that’s five themes over the course of ten days.
Click through the 2021 Programme themes to find out more.

Digitalisation & Competitiveness

We've spoken about digitalisation for decades now, yet we are still here considering it amongst the most relevant topics in 2021. During X. Festival, we want to discuss Digitalisation in parallel with Growth & Competitiveness. The pandemic has shown us how the tourism industry was sometimes unprepared; we have seen DMOs wanting to drive digitalisation across their destination, sadly recognising that a lot of businesses still lack the tools to embrace digital.

In this theme, we will hear from destinations that are investing in an end-to-end digital transformation of the industry, equipping organisations with the tools and insights they need to grow and develop successfully. We'll establish that tourism can be a force for good. It is time to explore how DMOs can differentiate themselves from the competition, identify and focus on their USP. Once found out what sets them apart, it is time to build centres of excellence, hubs of knowledge that will lead the development of the whole industry.

Sustainability & Stewardship

Sustainability has been a key pillar of our programme for years. The rise in climate disasters and a pandemic have highlighted sustainability as the most crucial challenge of our time. It is now time to move beyond a buzzword and towards real lasting changes.

Over the last couple of years, we have built a framework to categorise how organisations have committed to sustainability: Saying, Doing, Succeeding. In this theme, we will explore who is making the difference in the sustainability and stewardship scenario, using this framework to explore everything from pledges through to complete strategies.

Future of Urban Tourism

The urban environment is a space for inspiration, where communities meet up and ideas are born. Cities are also the place for innovation, where design, architecture, engineering and technology are combined to find human-centred solutions to everyday challenges. And finally, cities carry the stories of people who think outside the box, define new movements, set trends and make real changes.

Cities have faced the toughest of times: 2021 has forced them to be tactical, react quickly, pivot. In this theme, we will explore how the outlook of city DMOs shifted in the short and long term, how they set their radar on new audiences, shifting their focus to local and proximity markets. We will also try to establish a path towards a purpose-driven future, defining challenges, centres of excellence, key players and stakeholders.

Leaders of Digital

In this theme, we are focusing on content, channels, technology and platforms. Our digital strategy cannot be the same: the pandemic has accelerated trends and defined new reasons for people to consume content. We will explore why people are online, what they are looking for in the current landscape, going well beyond promotional campaigns. Should we be on TikTok? Is Facebook still worth the effort? What on earth are people doing on Clubhouse?

Through Digital All-Stars, we go back to our core focus: Digital Tourism. How is the travel and tourism industry evolving and planning its recovery? Who are the real Leaders of Digital? What's the content that works? How have destinations kept the conversation going at the inspiration and awareness levels? How can we boost conversion? And finally, how do we measure success and learn from failure? All this will include a nice and fun watch party, so get your popcorn and get ready to learn.

*New for 2021*

We’ve gone bigger and bolder. See what you can expect in the 2nd edition of X. Festival.

X. Festival Destination Awards

Celebrating the best of the best in tourism

This year we’re bringing Awards to X. Festival. There's five award categories: Design & Innovation, Destination Industry, Sustainability & Stewardship, Placemaking and Digital Marketing.

We’ll showcase nominees’ work throughout and announce the winners at the end of the Festival in a free & open Award ceremony. Winners will receive digital badges and certificates to showcase their accomplishments.

Visit our Awards page to find out more.

Improved Experience

Be present and take action

After a year of zoom calls and virtual meetings, we're all a bit tired of the screen. That's why, this year, we decided to expand the festival to ten half-days instead of five fully-packed days. So, you can tune in for a couple of hours and then have the rest of the day to get on with your own things and reflect on what you've learnt (hopefully screen-free).

We'll also aim to keep keynotes and discussions short and punchy (where possible), so that you get the most of each session and, just like last year, everything will be available on-demand, so you can catch up or rewatch as you please.

Staying Local

Support Local Businesses

For this year's edition of X. Festival, we wanted to shine a spotlight on our local area and the businesses that make it such an incredible place. We'll be introducing every day from a different location in Kent, England, and have conversations with local business owners on how they've been dealing with the past year and how they are preparing for the future. Be sure to tune in every day to find out more; you'll be surprised to see where we end up!

Highlights from last year's event

Last year, we had over 100 speakers and 60 talks. Here are just a few highlights from 2020.


The Road Towards Data-Driven Destination Management

Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association

Destination Websites to Reflect the Needs of Audiences: Perspective from California

Visit California

Balancing Digital Brand Immersion with Local Activation

Newfoundland and Labrador Tourism

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