Hjörtur Smárason

Hjörtur Smárason

Founder & Lead Strategist, Saltworks ehf

Hjörtur Smárason is the founder and lead strategist of Saltworks ehf and partner in Chameleon Strategies. He is an expert in place branding and destination development and a communications strategist who has worked for cities, regions and countries in the Arctic, Africa, Asia and Europe on their communications, branding, future visions and strategies. Hjörtur is the former CEO of Visit Greenland, where he was leading the development of adventure travel and sustainable tourism in one of the most remote and challenging destinations in the World.

Hjörtur has worked with places in distress on their crisis communications, whether being caused by pandemics, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, economic crises, conflict or political turmoil. This includes Iceland after various crises, Nepal after the earthquakes of 2015, Greenland during and after COVID-19, and countries in Africa and the Middle East. Under Hjörtur's lead, Greenland became the first country to fully recover to previous tourism levels after COVID-19 and 2022 became a record year in tourism in Greenland. Hjörtur is currently the lead strategist on the post-war tourism recovery strategies for the government of Ukraine.

Hjörtur is a popular keynote speaker who has given talks and runs workshops in over 20 countries around the world, is a commentator in the media, and has contributed chapters to several books on tourism and place branding.

All Sessions by Hjörtur Smárason

9:00 am - 9:30 am
MFCC, Ta'Qali

KEYNOTE: Travel & Tourism - Next stop rebranding?

The effects of climate change are impacting dramatically the value proposition of many tourist destinations for their visitors. Scandinavian countries especially are leveraging this in their favour, offering themselves as the preferred choice for those wanting a temperate climate in which to spend their vacations. As Mediterranean countries see their classic tourism industry melting away, how can this shift be managed and what does it mean for both destination and traveller in the long term?

11:15 am - 11:50 am
MFCC, Ta'Qali

Home is Where the Hassle is!

Locals are increasingly becoming resentful towards tourists and tourism. How can tourism become a force for good and a contribution to the local society, rather than extractive and destructive? How do we better manage the crowds with the help of nudging, design or technology?

12:25 pm - 12:45 pm
MFCC, Ta'Qali

So Where to Next?

In this wrap-up of the Travel and Tourism track we pull together what we have learned and take a look at what our next steps should be. Who's on board? In this wrap-up of the Travel and Tourism track we pull together what we have learned and take a look at what our next steps should be. Who's on board?