Travel Trade Athens

Juan Carlos is an international expert on the positioning, development and promotion of places and destinations, based in Barcelona, helping places and destinations differentiate and become more attractive.

He works as an independent advisor or in collaboration with other specialized international consulting firms and experts, as well as with international and multilateral development agencies and organizations around the world for specific projects, as part of a project team.

Juan Carlos’s main areas of work and expertise are:



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. Also how can we engage citizens and the key stakeholders in any place brand strategy initiative.

Juan Carlos helps places and destinations to understand:

> ‘Why the image and reputation is important for places and what are the key image-influencing factors’.

> ‘What is the identity of their place / destination (brand)’

> ‘How to build and manage the image and reputation (brand) of our place following a 10-step proven practical step- approach, based on successful cases and experiences from cities, regions, countries and destinations worldwide’.

> ‘How places and destinations can engage all the key place stakeholders and citizens in a specific place brand strategy or initiative’

> ‘What are the existing models in place brand management and define the most appropriate for each places or destination’.



Quartier des Spectacles - rue-sainte-catherine

«How to make great, attractive and successful places and public spaces’

According to ‘Project for Public Spaces (PPS)’, Placemaking is:

  • «A collaborative process by which we can shape our public realm in order to maximize shared value»
  • «A process that inspires people to collectively reimagine and reinvent public spaces at the heart of every community»
  • «The creation of quality public spaces that contribute to people’s health, happiness and wellbeing»

Also, Placemaking can be understood as «the deliberate shaping of an environment to facilitate social interaction and improve a community’s quality of life», as defined by MIT’s Department of Urban Studies and Planning.

Great places are lively hubs of community life and can generate a wide range of benefits for the communities and the places where they are located, including, among others:

  • Stronger and more diverse communities. More connected and capable.
  • Better community health and safety.
  • A stronger and more dynamic local economy, promoting and catalysing economic development.
  • A more sustainable natural environment.
  • A stronger sense of place and belonging of citizens and civic pride.

Great places are safe, vibrant, fun and welcoming. They offer a wide variety of activities and things to do.

When transforming, revitalizing or creating a new place or public space, we need to view the place in its entirety, rather than focusing on isolated components or on its physical characteristics. More than just promoting better design, placemaking facilitates creative patterns of use, paying particular attention of the physical, cultural and social identities that define a place and supports its ongoing evolution. 

Placemaking is a process that needs to include and involve many different disciplines such as mobility and accessibility; programming and activity planning; place identity, marketing and communications; place and public space management; economic geography of place; community and social engagement; architecture and urban planning; etc.

There are three possible ways to looking at a Placemaking initiative:

1) Strategic Placemaking

2) Tactical Placemaking and

3) Creative Placemaking

Also, with the rise of digitalization, we can use specific digital technologies to develop engaging experiences and services that can contribute to transform or improve a place.

Juan Carlos helps places and destinations to understand:

> ‘Why public spaces fail and how we can transform or create a great, successful, attractive and dynamic places / public spaces through the use of placemaking processes and tools’

> ‘What is placemaking and what are the principles behind placemaking’

> ‘What are the key steps to follow for a successful placemaking project’

> ‘What are the different placemaking approaches and tools for a a placemaking project’

> ‘How can places and destinations use digital technologies in placemaking’

> ‘How can places and destinations use placemaking to engage the community and key place stakeholders in transforming and creating a great place’



Gremi monastery from afar

«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.

Juan Carlos helps places and destinations to understand:

> ‘How can we develop, brand and promote our destination as an attractive place to visit’

> ‘What are the latest trends in tourism demand and consumption that we need to take into consideration’

> ‘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



GCDN RESEARCHunspecified

«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.

Juan Carlos helps places and destinations to understand:

> How culture and creativity are as a tool to transform places and foster local development.

> How culture and creativity can contribute to increase the attractiveness of places as destinations to visit, live, work or invest, with successful examples and cases around the world.

«How to build, promote and manage attractive and successful arts, cultural and creative 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.

Juan Carlos helps places and destinations to understand:

> ‘What are 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.

> ‘What are 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’.

> ‘Define what is best strategy to develop, promote and manage our art, cultural or creative district’

«Cultural and creative tourism as a tool for differentiation and sustainable tourism development»

Cultural tourism is expanding rapidly in cities all over the world. Trends in cultural consumption and experiential technology are driving demand. This demand is shaping the nature of both established and fast growing cities. City leaders and cultural institutions need to be aware of multiple critical factors to ensure the success of individual attractions as well as the long-term sustainability of the city economy.

Juan Carlos helps places and destinations to understand:

> What are the main trends in cultural tourism.

> ‘How can we use cultural and creative tourism for local development’


If you want to ask Juan Carlos for advice or for a specific project, please contact: