Juan Carlos Belloso Speaker Profile

Creating attractive destinations, building powerful brands, designing meaningful experiences.

Juan Carlos Belloso is a renowned international expert in the development and promotion of places and destinations, based in Barcelona.

He has been, for many years, advisor to the City Council of Barcelona and other city organizations and has also provided advisory and consulting services to many cities, regions, countries and destinations as well as other organizations worldwide, including Western and Eastern Europe, the US and Latin America, the Russian Federation and the CIS Countries, Northern Africa and the Middle East.

His main areas of specialization are place identity, image and reputation management; destination branding and marketing; positioning and promoting places through talent, culture and creativity; culture and creative industries (CCIs); cultural tourism and stakeholder engagement.

Juan Carlos is founding member of Barcelona Global, a private, independent and not-for-profit civil society platform committed to Barcelona and its future; founding member of the International Place Branding Association (IPBA); member of the advisory board of the Global Cultural Districts Network (GCDN); and lead strategic advisor of Poblenou Urban District Association.

Juan Carlos has participated in different forums and programs developed by or with the support of different international and multilateral organizations including the EU, the UNDP, the World Bank, the UNWTO or the Inter-American Development Bank.

A frequent speaker in different international seminars and forums, Juan Carlos is author of many papers and articles for different publications and magazines, and collaborates as visiting professor and expert with different international universities and schools.

Based in Barcelona.

Speaking topics:

Main speaking topics include:

  • Managing the image and reputation of places and destinations
  • Cities, city branding and city marketing
  • Destination branding, marketing and promotion
  • Creating, branding and managing cultural and creative districts and destinations
  • The role of cultural and creative industries in place making, place branding and local development

Each talk, seminar or conference is adapted and specifically designed and curated according to the objectives, topics, characteristics and profile of each event and audience.


Talk #1: A 10-step practical approach to build and manage attractive and powerful place brands

Places (countries, regions, cities and destinations), just like people, companies and organizations, depend on their good name and reputation.

Having a strong, positive and attractive image is a key factor for places if they want to succeed in their efforts of attracting and retaining residents, talented people, tourists and professional visitors, investors and entrepreneurs, events, clients for the products and services produced at that place, etc. In other words, a place’s reputation is key for its competitiveness and sustainable economic and social development.

Understanding how the current image of a place has been formed and how to successfully build, change and manage the image (brand) of our place is essential in order to stand out in an increasingly global and competitive world.

In this presentation we will be able to understand why image is important for places and what are the key image- influencing factors. We learn how can we build and manage the image and reputation (brand) of our place following a 10-step practical approach, based on succesful cases and experiences from cities, regions, countries and destinations worldwide.

Talk #2:  How to differentiate and compete in the urban age

Today, half of the world population lives in cities. By 2050, it is expected that this figure will rise to two thirds.

In this new urban age, cities, metropolitan and urban areas, are increasingly becoming the main places for creation, innovation and exchange. Competition among cities will increase in a race to attract and retain residents, visitors, investors, talent, creative people, events, organizations, etc.

If they want to remain competitive and attractive over time, cities will require smarter design and be innovative, and will also need to be effectively promoted and have a distinctive, competitive and strong identity and brand. At the same time, they will need to address new social, environmental and economic challenges.

In this session we will learn what are the key challenges for cities in the 21st century and how successful cities around the world are approaching these challenges, through innovative urban design, the use of new technologies and smart solutions. We will look at successful talent attraction and retention strategies, innovative city branding and destination management.

Talk #3:  Developing sustainable, attractive destinations through engaging experiences and smart destination management

Tourism has proved to be an important economic activity that can stimulate local economic growth and is thus a powerful engine for the transformation and the social and economic developmemt of places.

However, in an era characterized by an increasing competition among places, rapid changes in tourist demand, the emergence of new technologies and the rise of the sharing economy, destinations (being countries, regions, cities or specific tourism, leisure or cultural destinations) need to constantly innovate and differentiate, if they want to remain attractive.

In this presentation we will learn how successful tourism destinations are developing more sustainable tourism models and innovative destination management strategies:

  • applying and embracing smart travel and destination technologies
  • developing strategies to preserve their natural and cultural heritage
  • building stronger destination brands
  • providing authentic, quality, engaging and memorable experiences to visitors

…in order to remain attractive and competitive, and to guarantee the sustainability of the destination over time.

Talk #4:  Transforming and differentiating places through culture and creativity

Culture, creativity and the arts are increasingly becoming a central point of differentiation and attraction for places and a key driver for transformation and local development.

Today, culture and creativity are at the heart of economies and societies around the world and are a key driver of economic growth. They are an important source for income generation, tax revenues, job creation, cultural development, well-being and social inclusion. Culture and creativity are also key drivers and sources of innovation and contribute to the development of innovations in other economic sectors.

Cultural tourism is an important driver for global tourism, representing today, 40% of world tourism revenues. Finally, culture is a unique tool to create people’s own identities, both for resients and visitors, as we travel more and more.

In this presentation, we will analyze how culture and creativity are transforming places and fostering local development, as well as contributing to increase the attractiveness of places as destinations to visit, live, work or invest, with successful examples and cases around the world.

Talk #5:  How to build attractive and successful cultural districts and destinations

Arts and culture are increasingly acknowledged for their vital role in creating thriving urban centres. Cultural districts of all shapes, sizes and forms emerge from the world’s cities as a key tool for the physical, cultural, social and economic transformation and development of urban areas and communities.

Billions of dollars are being committed to cultural infrastructure and cultural district development globally. But they are difficult to get right.

A key aspect and challenge for the success of any cultural district and destination is its ability to attract and retain visitors, cultural institutions, investors, artists and creatives, as well as its engagement with – and ability to retain – existing local residents, artists and creatives in their home district and city. A strong, distinctive and appealing identity and brand image serves as one of the key factors shared by successful cultural districts.

In this session we will review the different types of cultural districts that can be found and developed around the world, from organic, naturally occurring, bottom-up districts to planned, top-down districts to mixed cultural districts. We will look at the main challenges we face when developing and promoting a cultural district or destination, from the strategic planning phase to its governance and management, including aspects such as creating a differentiated identity and compelling brand, assuring financial sustainability, creating attractive content and programming, animating public spaces, engaging stakeholders and citizens, or measuring its impact and success.

Speaker characteristics:

#inspirational #provocative #sound #experienced #fun

Offerings and rates:

Juan Carlos can deliver keynote speeches; tailor made masterclasses, seminars, workshops and presentations; and act as conference and panel moderator and curator.

Professional speaker fees are calculated depending on the duration and characteristics of the event and organization, the specific location, and on the complexity of the collaboration, with special considerations made for not-profit organizations and academic institutions.

Audience profile

Juan Carlos has extensive experience working and talking to a wide array of audiences from governmental and non-profit organizations; to private and public-private organizations and partnerships; to arts, cultural and education organizations and institutions.

He can deliver keynotes, presentations and workshops both in English and Spanish.

Interested in booking Juan Carlos Belloso as speaker? Please get in touch here. Read our interview with him here.