About ICF

Nikolaos Gkolfinopoulos

Head of Tourism, International Sustainable Tourism Development
Nikolaos is an international sustainable tourism development expert with more than 10 years of experience working for and towards a better, inclusive future for all.

Nikolaos is an expert in sustainable tourism with more than 10 years of experience focusing on international development. He leads tourism development initiatives with governments and clients and works on international and interregional projects, strategy and master planning, market behaviors, and public-private stakeholder engagement. Nikolaos also advocates for tourism’s role in advancing the Sustainable Development Goals—a world plan by the United Nations Foundation of 17 shared initiatives to end extreme poverty, reduce inequality, and protect the planet by 2030.

Earlier in his career, Nikolaos worked as a tourism consultant and research supervisor in Australia. He spent several years with the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) in Spain. As the senior project specialist within the Technical Cooperation and Silk Road Department at UNWTO, Nikolaos worked to maximize the benefits of tourism development for local communities while stimulating investment and promoting the conservation of natural and cultural heritage.

Nikolaos organized numerous high-level tourism events around the globe, including several Ministers Meetings, and he implemented tourism development and recovery activities and projects in countries such as Australia, Bulgaria, Egypt, Fiji, Georgia, Greece, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Morocco, Tajikistan, Turkey, and Uzbekistan. He contributed to key tourism development global documents including UNWTO’s World Intellectual Property Organization’s “Boosting Tourism Development through Intellectual Property” and the Japan International Cooperation Agency’s “Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals through Tourism–Toolkit of Indicators for Projects.” As a subject matter expert, Nikolaos was interviewed by Australian and Greek media on the links between tourism and migration and served as a guest lecturer at universities around the globe.

Nikolaos earned his master’s degree in international sustainable tourism management from Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, and a bachelor’s degree in economic sciences from Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece.

Other Areas of Expertise:

  • Sustainable tourism
  • Destination management
  • Tourism and destination marketing
  • Participatory governance
  • Local communities
  • Tourism intelligence
"We live in an ever-changing world where adaptation and agility are imperative, especially for tourism destinations. To ensure that tourism becomes a catalyst of positive change, I dedicate my time and expertise to making destinations more resilient, bringing economic benefits to local communities through participatory governance, and helping tourism stakeholders respect carrying capacities as we navigate the turbulent waters of climate change."
  • M.I.S.T.M., Master of International Sustainable Tourism Management, Monash University
  • B.Ec., Bachelor of Economic Sciences, Economic Development and Planning, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki