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Get to know the speakers

Aino Huilaja

Aino Huilaja, the host

Aino Huilaja is a Finnish TV journalist, speaker and writer of Pakumatkalla (Vanlife) book
published 2021. Aino is a passionate adventurer constantly seeking more sustainable ways
to experience the world.



Sanna Kyyrä, Chief Specialist, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment of Finland

Sanna Kyyrä works as a Chief Specialist in tourism policy at the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment of Finland. Before her current position, Sanna has worked on development and research projects gaining expertise of developing hospitality and travel industry. Sanna holds a M.Soc.Sc in Tourism Research. The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment of Finland is responsible for setting the priorities of tourism policy in Finland and develops the sector in cooperation with other ministries and sectoral actors. Finland’s national tourism strategy for 2019–2028 aims to make Finland the most sustainably growing tourist destination in the Nordic countries.


Misa Labarile

Misa Labarile, Policy Officer, European Commission

Misa Labarile, PhD works at the European Commission on policy development in the tourism sector (Directorate-General Internal Market, Industries, Entrepreneurship and SMEs). A social scientist by background, she has worked on EU affairs for more than ten years, not only at the European Commission but also in academia and for the Italian government, in Brussels, Milan, Boston and Rome. Misa speaks Italian, English, French and Spanish.



Jari Kaivo-ojaJari Kaivo-Oja, Research Director, Finland Futures Research Centre FFRC

Jari Kaivo-oja is a research director at the Finland Futures Research Centre (FFRC, TSE, University of Turku), which is the leading Nordic foresight hub in the Nordic Countries and in the European Union. He is Adjunct Professor at the University of Helsinki (Planning and management sciences) and at the University of Lapland (Innovation and foresight research). Key expert fields of Dr Jari Kaivo-oja are foresight and innovation research and methods, science, innovation and technology (SIT) policy and sustainability science.


Katarina Thorstensson, Head of Sustainability & Smart Tourism Strategist, Göteborg & Co

Katarina is an engaged and experienced strategist, leading the sustainability work within the tourism industry in Gothenburg. As a result, Gothenburg has been named world leader by Global Destination Sustainability Index and was the European Capital of Smart Tourism 2020. Katarina strongly believes in collaboration and has e. g. initiated the ECM Knowledge Group on Sustainability which she is also leading as Chair.


Niklas Masuch, Project Manager for Destination Data Platform, Gothenburg & Co

Niklas have been acting Business developer and project manager in several consumer business and he is specialized in CRM, customer loyalty and e-commerce. At Göteborg & Co, Niklas leads the digitalization projects portfolio aiming at establishing and scale a Destination Data Platform which will be the joint Knowledge Hub on the destination. The visitor industry’s Knowledge Hub is an initiative from Göteborg & Co that aims to future-proof the visitor industry on the destination.


Jonas Norrman, Smart Destination Expert
Jonas is an experienced expert on business innovation & change management. This include consultancy assignments as advisor on digitalization to: several European Energy utilities; Property developers; and global video streaming platforms. As well as assignments as project manager for digitalization projects related to: Smart Destinations and Smart Tourism; and Mobility services in Smart Cities.


Liisa Mäkelä, Manager, Sustainable Travel Development, Visit Finland
Liisa Mäkelä is part of a team that works to promote sustainable tourism in Finland and wants to make sustainability the new travel industry norm and Finland one of the most sustainable travel destinations in the world. Liisa’s strength is her diverse field knowledge in the tourism industry, which she wants to use for the benefit of the whole destination Finland.



Jonna Pitkänen, Project Manager, City of Helsinki, Tourism Unit
With a long history in the hospitality sector Jonna Pitkänen is now leading the EU funded 6Aika: Carbon Neutral Tourism project in collaboration with Visit Tampere, City of Turku and Forum Virium. The Helsinki led project aims to improve the energy efficiency and lessen the CO2 emissions of the tourism industry by the utilization of data. The data driven project is the co-organizer of the Smart Destination event together with Göteborg & Co.


Mikko Manka, Reserach Director, TAK Research
Mikko Manka is working as the Reseach Director at the TAK Research. At the moment, he is on a study leave writing his PhD thesis about Interrail youth tourism.




Wille Markkanen, Managing Director, Salmi Platform Ltd.

Salmi Platform concentrates on tourism data analytics. Company’s special focus has been on analyzing the economic impact of tourism. Long career in the tourism business sector has given Wille a good perspective for understanding the big picture and effects of tourism.

Mika NevalainenMika Nevalainen, Business Director, Tampere Hall

Mika Nevalainen is an experienced executive professional and entrepreneur in the fields of event industry, marketing, communications and media. He has worked as managing director in marketing and PR-agencies, media company and education company. Nevalainen is the business director at Tampere Hall Ltd. and responsible for operator and promotor business areas which means meetings & congresses and cultural events segments.

Hanna-Leena Pesonen
, Project Manager, Regional Council of Lapland

Hanna-Leena leads the “VÄLKKY -Developing Low Carbon and Economically Sustainable Tourism in Lapland” – project and is currently starting as the Sustainable Development Specialist at the Council of Lapland. Hanna-Leena and VÄLKKY-project have carried a significant role in developing carbon footprint calculation in Finland’s tourism sector. Hanna-Leena has a solid background in themes of regional development, sustainability as well as entrepreneurship and foresight.


Outi Ugas, Senior Advisor, Positive Impact





Sanni LiimattaSanni Liimatta, Project Manager, City of Helsinki, Tourism Unit
Sanni runs a project around developing the tourism safety in Helsinki. She specializes in digital tourism and is known for applying consumer centric approach to her work. Sanni wants to produce better tourism services by understanding the tourist behavior, always seeking to challenge the status quo.



Matti Pollari, Project manager, Visit Tampere
Several years of experience in developing sustainable tourism business, focusing especially on public and private sector collaboration in tackling the challenge of tourism carbon footprint. Currently managing the role of Visit Tampere in implementation of the 6aika: Carbon Neutral Tourism –project.



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