Speaker´s Biographies

Session´s Experts

Session 1:

Mr. Laurent Vanat, Laurent Vanat Consulting SARL, Switzerland

Prof. Peter F. Keller, University of Lausanne, Switzerland

Mr. Tatsumi Ichinomoto, MacEarth Co. Ltd, Japan

Mr. Bin Wu, Wanda Cultural Industry Group, Beijing, China

Mr. Jean-Marc Farini, Compagnie des Alpes, France

Prof. Yoo-Hong Kwon, Hallym University of Graduate Studies, Republic of Korea

Session 2:

Mr. Kwang-yeul Koo, Ulsan University, Republic of Korea

Mr. Hwan-Myung Joo, Tourism Promotion Organization for Asia Pacific Cities (TPO)

Mr. Adam Feeley, Queenstown, New Zealand

Mr. Ian Hill, VisitCanberra, Australia 

Mr. Yves Exbrayat, Grenoble Tourism Office, France

Mr. Zhao Li Yong, Deputy-Director General of Tourism Division in Qinghuangdao City, China


Session 3:

Mr. Eric Callender, Ecosign, Canada

Mr. Hae-Guk Hwang, Regional Deputy Director for Asia and the Pacific, UNWTO 

Mr. Richard Adam, CCO, Engadin St. Moritz Mountains AG, Switzerlan

Mr. Nic Klar, Owner, Explore the Heart of Japan, Japan

Mr. Kim Hyunki, PyeongChang Organizing Committee, Republic of Korea

Session 4:

Mr. Hideto Kijima, Japan Accessible Tourism Center, Japan

Dr. BongKoo Lee, DongEui University, Republic of Korea

Ms. Sylvana Mestre, International Paralympic Committee, Spain  

Mr. Joseph Kwan, International Commission on Technology  and Accessibility, Hong Kong, China

Mr. Florian Van der Bellen, Accessible Tourism consultant, Austria

Session 5:

Prof. David A. Mason, Chung-Ang University, Republic of Korea

Prof. Ick-keun Oh, Keimyung University, Republic of Korea

Mr. Kyle Hughes, Korea Snow, Australia

Mr. Yoichi Goto, Dentsu Innovation Institute B Team, DENTSU INC., Tokyo, Japan

Mr. Rustam Najafov, ‎Shahdag Mountain Resort, Azerbaijan

Mr. Martin Francou, Geode, France           

Session 6:

Mr. Christopher Hinteregger, Kohl & Partner GmbH, Austria

Ms. Zeynep Aslan, Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Turkey

Mr. Aleksandre Onoprishvili, Mountain Resorts Development Company, Georgia

Mr. Justin Downes, IMG Ski Resort Management, China


Speaker´s Biographies

Session 1

Laurent Vanat (Switzerland)

Laurent VanatMr. Laurent Vanat is the founder and principal consultant of Swiss based Laurent Vanat Consulting SARL. He has extensive experience in general management and consulting in a multinational environment and at local level. His business consulting covers various sectors and areas and ranges from business planning, business reviews, management advisory, support in strategic planning, financial analysis, company evaluation and real estate appraisals, TO turnaround management and business recovery.

He acquired his experience at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) in Geneva where he worked as business consultant from 1987 to 2004 and where among other positions, he was appointed by PwC as CFO and CEO at Habsburg Group. Mr. Vanat holds a Master in Commercial and Industrial Sciences from the University of Geneva and publishes the annual “International Report on Snow & Mountain Tourism”. www.vanat.com  Go to Top

Peter Keller (Switzerland)

Peter KellerMr. Keller is professor emeritus at the Faculty of Business and Economics of the University of Lausanne, where he had headed the Institute of Tourism for two decades, and is a visiting professor at the Universities of Lugano, St. Gallen and Bergamo. He was president of the International Association of Scientific Experts of Tourism (AIEST) and also worked as an advisor to the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and the OECD.

He is also a member of the Executive Board of Switzerland’s National Tourism Office "Suisse Tourisme". He chairs the Board of Directors of a sports and holiday resort in the mountains of Valais. Prof. Keller was also in charge of tourism promotion and policy at the Swiss Federal Government for over three decades until  2008. In this capacity, among other functions, he was a member of the Executive Board of the Federation of Tourism Industries and is an honorary member of the hotel and restaurant federation GASTROSUISSE.

At the international level, Prof. Keller chaired the UNWTO Commission for Europe from 1991 to 2005 and the OECD Committee on Tourism in the 1980s and again from 1999 to 2007. He was a member of the UNWTO Strategic Group. Since 1998 and until 2014 he was scientific responsible for the UNWTO/Principality of Andorra’s World Conferences on Mountain and Snow TourismGo to Top

Tatsumi Ichinomoto (Japan)

Mr. Tatsumi IchinomotoBorn in 1967 in Hyogo Prefecture Mr. Ichinomoto graduated from the Faculty of Business Administration, Kyoto Sangyo University in 1990 and joined Park Hotel Shirakabakan Co. Ltd., the predecessor of the present MacEarth. He took office as President of MacEarth Co.,Ltd. in 1995.

Since 2008 MacEarth is operating in the ski resort regeneration business. As of June 2015, MacEarth operates 33 ski resorts, 30 hotels & outdoor education facilities, 16 green resorts, 8 golf courses, and 6 campsites in Japan. In the 2014-15 winter season a total of 2,94 million day-skiers were counted in its ski resorts. MacEarth has just opened its first overseas branch in Bangkok, Thailand in 2015. en.macearthgroup.com Go to Top


Bin Wu (Benny Wu) (China)

Bin Wu (Benny Wu)Mr. Benny Wu is a senior professional manager in the Chinese Snowsports Industry and is currently employed in Beijing Wanda Cultural Industry Group as Deputy General Manager of Golf & Ice & Snow Department of Operation Center. In this position he is responsible for  Wanda’s Ski Resorts Business, including Wanda Changbaishan International Ski Resort and 4-5 Ski Domes in different Wanda Cities (Harbin, Guangzhou, Wuxi, Dujiangyan, etc.,).

Prio to his assignment with Wanda Group he served as General Manager of Jilin Beidahu Ski Resort (2010-2013, Jilin), as General Manager of Dolomiti Ski Resort (2008-2010, Chongli, Hebei). He was Sales & Marketing Director of Tecnica Group China (2006-2008, Beijing) and also worked as Executive Director for Beijing Snowfavor Sports Goods Company (Rossignol China, 2001-2006). He has dedicated his career to the promotion of the development of China’s domestic Snowsports Industry and gathered extensive in-depth knowledge and expertise in this field over the years. www.wanda-group.com Go to Top

Jean-Marc Farini (France)

Jean-Marc FariniBorn in 1974 in Chamonix in the French Alps, Jean-Marc grew up in a family of high-mountain guides and hoteliers. After a Masters' degree in Management he started his career in Paris as financial auditor and consultant for Ernst&Young.

In 2001, the call from his home mountains in the Chamonix Valley reached him and he decided to return. His contribution was crucial in the development of Compagnie du Mont-Blanc, made originally of scattered traditional ski businesses, and currently the European largest ski lift Company. He had worked for 10 years as Director in various spheres of the ski business with the company: management control, quality & environment, sales & marketing, operation and innovative projects.

In 2010, spearheading the international development of Compagnie des Alpes (CDA), he was appointed as General Manager of Rosa Khutor (Sochi, Russia), the only ski resort of this scale built from scratch over the past 20 years. He assisted in the ski area’s very first opening, adapted and implemented the best practices regarding staff policy, operation processes, marketing, elaborated detailed plans and development projects, while delivering noticeable results on site through a day-to-day management of 300 Russian workers. Rosa Khutor was hosting various disciplines during the Sochi Winter Olympics in 2014 and is now a leading year-round destination in Russia.

Still based in Sochi and Chamonix, Mr. Farini is now working worldwide for CDA on various projects including master planning, optimization of sites, assistance to construction and ski operation.  www.compagniedesalpes.com Go to Top

Yoo-Hong Kwon (Republic of Korea)

Yoo-Hong Kwon

Yoo-Hong Kwon is a professor of Convention & Event Management at Hallym University of Graduate Studies, Seoul. He earned a master degree in Park & Recreation Resources from the Michigan State University, USA in 1990 and joined Hanwha Hotels & Resorts Company. He has extensive experience in developing tourist facilities including timeshare accommodations, spa resorts and theme parks.

He also acquired his experience at Everland (Theme Park) of Samsung Group in Yongin, Republic of Korea where he worked as a general manager in various fields including resort development, customer service and business planning.

As a tourism specialist, Kwon has participated in many regional tourism planning and city marketing strategic planning projects. He also has authored a couple of research articles in the field of hiking and other outdoor recreation. His research interests include tourist facility development, cooperatives in travel & tourism industry and outdoor recreation, especially hiking and camping.Go to Top

Session 2

Kwang-yeul Koo (Republic of Korea)

Kwang-yeul Koo

Mr. Kwang-yeul Koo is a professor at Ulsan University and a poet and novelist Gu Gwang-yeol. He started his literary career as a poet when he was studying in Mexico. He has won many prestigious awards including the special award given by the Mexican Library Association and the Latin Poet Award of ALPAS XXI, the Academia Literaria International. In 2014, he introduced the breathtaking sceneries of Central and South America as a curator for the EBS (Education Broadcasting Station) World Theme Travels.

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Hwan-Myung Joo (Republic of Korea)

Hwan-Myung JooMr. Hwan-myung finished his academic career with the completion of a Doctoral course in English Language and Literature at the Busan National University.

From 2000 until 2003 he acted as expert advisor for the Center for Interchange and Cooperation of the Busan Development Institute. Between 2001 and 2004 he was the President of the Korea Chapter of Association of World Education. At the Kyungnam College of Information & Technology Mr. Hwan-myung held the position of Adjunct Professor between 2000 and 2002. Since 2003 he has been the Secretary General of the Tourism Promoting Organization for Asia Pacific Cities (TPO). www.aptpo.org Go to Top


Adam Feeley (New Zealand)

Adam FeeleyAdam Feeley took up the role of Chief Executive of Queenstown Lakes District Council in October 2012.

Prior to this he has held a number of senior management positions in the public and private sector, including General Manager, Baycorp Holdings; General Manager, Crown Minerals; and Chief Executive of the Eden Park Redevelopment Trust. Immediately prior to his current role, Mr Feeley was Chief Executive and Director of the Serious Fraud Office – New Zealand’s investigation and prosecution agency for major financial crimes.

Mr Feeley has a LL.B (Hons) from the University of Canterbury. He is a barrister and solicitor of the High Court (NZ), and a solicitor of the Supreme Court (England & Wales). www.queenstownnz.co.nz Go to Top

Ian Hill (Australia)

Ian Hill

Ian Hill is currently Director of VisitCanberra, the destination marketing organisation that promotes Canberra and the Australian Capital Territory.  He is passionate about marketing, stories, places, people and ideas and held exciting positions in the tourism, sport and agricultural sectors. More coming soon...

visitcanberra.com.au Go to Top




Yves Exbrayat (France)

Yves ExbrayatYves Exbrayat is Grenoble-native in his heart and in his mind. From a very young age, he has a passion for this city and its surrounding mountains.

He graduated from “Science Po Grenoble” after successfully completing his studies with a Master’s Degree in Economics as well as in Sociology. Even during his time at as a student he spent as much time as possible in the mountains and his passion also directed his professional career. Mr. Exbrayat was involved in the economic development of territorial collectivities and in 2002 became head of the Grenoble “Maison de la Montagne”. Among his numerous and important missions, he considers two as especially fulfilling: the “Young People in the Mountain Program” and the “Mountain Cinema Meeting”, which will see its 17th edition this year.

In 2013, after 11 years of adventures at the Maison de la Montagne, Yves took up a new challenge: he became Director of the Grenoble Tourist Office and of the Grenoble-Bastille Cable Car. Yves also lives his love for mountains through different expeditions – in Nepal especially – and through his words in his written work: his first novel, Un mois d’émois (A Month of Agitation) has been published in 2010. grenoble-tourisme.com/en/  Go to Top

Zhao Li Yong (China)

Zhao Li Yong Coming soon...





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Session 3

Eric Callender (Canada)

Eric CallenderMr. Callender is a Senior Mountain Planner for the design firm “Ecosign Mountain Resort Planners LTD”, based in Whistler, Canada, official host mountain resort of the 2010 Winter Olympic and Paralympic games. Eric is a graduate of the Architectural and Building Engineering Technology Program from the British Columbia Institute of Technology, is a C.S.I.A Level III Ski Instructor and C.S.C.F. Level II Ski Coach, and holds a C.A.A Operations Level 1 Avalanche Certification.

Mr. Callender has been a member of the Ecosign team for 18 years and has worked on over 160 projects in 30 countries and has been the lead mountain planner / project manager on over 40 resort Master Plans.  Notable projects that he has had a leadership mountain planning role include the Whistler-Blackcomb Peak 2 Peak gondola in Canada and the Andermatt-Sedrun ski circus project in Switzerland.

Mr. Callender has extensive experience working in Russia, Kazakhstan, and China and has assisted in the development of Master Plans for the Rosa Khutor and Laura Ski Resorts in Krasnaya Polyana (Sochi- 2014 Winter Olympic Games), Kok Zhailau (Almaty), and Wanda Changbaishan, Genting Secret Garden, and Thaiwoo Chongli ski resorts in China. www.ecosign.com Go to Top

Hae Guk (Harry) Hwang (UNWTO)

Hae Guk HwangHae Guk (Harry) Hwang is currently the Deputy Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific at the World Tourism OrganizationHis main responsibilities include providing the maximum benefits to UNWTO Member States by maintaining close contact with member countries for the implementation of the UNWTO General Programme of Work in the Region through project management, document analysis and evaluation and market study publications. He has coordinated several UNWTO technical cooperation projects and sectoral support missions on subjects of contemporary interest to the tourism community of countries within the South Asia and East Asia and the Pacific regions.

He assumed his current position in February, 2008. Since he started working for UNWTO in March 2005, he has served as a liaison officer by supporting the Korean government for the establishment of the UNWTO STEP Foundation which is now in full operation in Seoul.

Before Harry joined UNWTO, he worked for the Korea Tourism Organization (KTO) which is Korea’s National Tourist Office. In his 17 years at KTO, most of his work experiences were associated with marketing and promotion by attracting mega events, international meetings and conferences to Korea. www.asiapacific.unwto.org/ Go to Top

Richard Adam (Switzerland)

Richard Adam

Richard Adam, Australian national, German origin, has grown up in the tourism and hospitality industry and worked his way into mid-level management positions in Europe, the US, Australia and Asia prior to academic education.

After his university graduation in business management and behavioral sciences in Germany and the US, he has been working for an internationally leading strategy consultancy and was then assigned as Director Marketing & Development for a private corporation in real estate, hotels, medical, golf courts and cable cars, mainly operating in Spain and Germany. He was then appointed as Inaugural CEO for the new Marketing & Tourism Authority for the German State of Bavaria, which become an industry benchmark in his tenure. After successful ten years in office he was asked to run the Munich 2018 Bid for Winter Olympics. He then shaped his own company for project and business development between Asia and Europe.

Since march 2015 he is appointed CCO and board member of “Engadin St. Moritz Mountains AG”, one of Switzerland`s largest cable car and ski resort operators, furthermore the largest operator of hotels, restaurants and peripheral services in the area. His objective is to restructure approach to market and develop new revenue streams and source markets for one of the world`s most prestigious mountain resorts with a 150 years of history in mega events.Go to Top

Nic Klar (Japan)

Nic KlarNic Klar is the owner of Kura International (蔵インターナショナル) - a business based in Myoko Kogen, Japan on the Nagano/Niigata border. Nic first arrived in Japan in 1995 from Australia where he was based on the Japan Sea coast down from Hakuba Resort. As a skier and outdoor enthusiast he took rapidly to life in the Japan Alps.

In 2003 he established the first of the ‘Explore the Heart of Japan’ websites in order to provide more local ski area and tourism information in English, of which there was very little available at that time. The sites are now recognised as the authoritative English guide for the Japan “White Triangle” by a variety of sources including MSN Travel, HIS, JNTO France, Expedia, Sydney Morning Herald, Lonely Planet, The News Corporation Travel Section and Qantas Travel Insider.

A full time physical presence was established in the area in 2013 to work with partners and visitors. Nic now consults with local hotels, tourist authorities and other businesses to improve the marketing and profile of the region. He also own and runs ‘Red Warehouse’ – ranked #1 for hotels in the area by Trip Advisor. www.myoko-nagano.com Go to Top

Kim Hyunki (Republic of Korea)

Kim HyunkiMr. Kim is currently working as the Director General in the Planning and Coordination Bureau of the PyeongChang Organizing Committee for the 2018 Olympic & Paralympic Winter Games (POCOG). He holds a Bachelor in Political Science and Diplomacy as well as a Masters’ degree in Policy Studies both from the Seoul National University. Additionally he is a Masters’ degree graduate in Digital Media from the University of Sussex, UK.

After passing successfully the highest civil service exam he has started his professional career in the public administrations and worked in the Embassy of the Republic of Korea in Indonesia during his duty with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (January 2011). Later he changed to the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism (MCST) where he already assisted in the Policy Planning Bureau & Coordination Office since April 2013. He later became Director of Media Policy in October 2014. Since March 2015 Mr. Kim is also the Director of Cultural Industry Policy Division in the MCST. www.pyeongchang2018.com Go to Top


Session 4

Hideto Kijima (Japan)

Hideto KijimaMr. Kijima (Kiji), born in 1973, is a passionate traveler and sportsman. 17 years old he injured his spinal cord T-11 in a rugby accident but has not stopped exploring the world. He has visited more than 100 countries in his wheelchair.

Kiji started his professional career in an advertisement agency as a marketing planner. In 2004 after 7 years in his old job he decided to dedicate his time to his own business as writer, consultant for accessibility issues and motivational speaker where he can use his travel experience. In 2011 he founded the information center for international travelers with mobility impairment who wish to visit Japan. He is now Chief executive of the Barrier Free Institute and President of Japan Accessible Tourism Center.

He also continued his sport activities and practices cycling (hand-bike), skiing (mono-ski) and swimming. He has been for more than 10 years member of the Japanese Paralympic national team in the discipline of World Trail Orienteering Competition.   www.kijikiji.comwww.japan-accessible.com  Go to Top

Lee BongKoo (Republic of Korea)

Lee BongKooDr. Lee, BongKoo has been a Professor of International Tourism Management at DongEui University, Busan, since 2000. In addition to teaching, he has acted as a director of Institute of Tourism and Convention Research since 2012. He is a member of the Tourism Sciences Society of Korea. His research interests include tourist behavior, tourism and disability, and accessible tourism. He has authored a couple of research articles in the field of accessible tourism in both Korean and English.

He has also been a speaker at numerous international or domestic conferences on the same topic. He is now working on a research project of tourism and disability from the embodiment perspective.

He earned his Ph. D. M.S. from Texas A&M University in 1999, his M.S., in 1993 from University of Utah, and his B.M., in 1986 from Gangwon National UniversityGo to Top

Sylvana Mestre (Spain)

Sylvana MestreSylvana Mestre related to the world of sport from the cradle, being the sports of sliding, skiing and surfing, her passion.

From 1995 this passion moved onto the sports for persons with a disability. Since then she has been Technical Director of the Spanish Paralympic Team, the Chair of Alpine Skiing in the International Paralympic Committee and the Co-Founder and CEO of the Spanish NGO Play and Train. In her work she has been an advocate for accesibility in the sports infrastructures, helping the ski resort of La Molina with accesible changes that took them to win the IAKS Awards. playandtrain.org Go to Top

Joseph Kwan (Hong Kong, China)

Joseph Kwan Joseph Kwan is an Architect and Access Consultant with 40 years of experience having practiced in Australia, the United Kingdom, France and now 30 years in Hong Kong. He specializes in universal design and accessibility to the built environment, transportation and inclusive tourism.

He was a Consultant to the United Nations - Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific on Non-Handicapping Environments for People with Disabilities, and is also their Expert/Resource Person on Barrier-Free Tourism in Asia and the Pacific.

Joseph Kwan currently serves as Advisor to the Asia Pacific Network on Accessible Tourism and to the Asian Development Bank (ADB) on “Universal Access to ADB Transport Projects in Asia”. He is Director of the International Union of Architects (UIA), Work Programme on “Architecture and the Disabled” since 1999, and was Inaugural Chairman of ARCASIA (Architects Regional Council of Asia) Committee on Social Responsibility from 2012-14.

He participated in the ISO (International Standards Organization) Working Group on drafting of the Standard on “Accessibility and Usability of the Built Environment” 2011. In Hong Kong, he is a Member of the Government’s Rehabilitation Advisory Committee - Sub-Committee on Access since 1988, and of the Working Group on Access of the Equal Opportunities Commission. Go to Top

Florian Van der Bellen (Austria)

Florian Van der BellenMr. Van der Bellen has 25 years of experience in international hotel and tourism management (Austria, Australia, Germany, Romania, Switzerland and on river cruise ships). He was Managing Director of the Tourism Association Tiroler Oberland and Kaunertal Tourism from 2012 -2014. During that time the destination has established an outstanding reputation for tourism for all and won various awards for its achievements in accessible tourism: Eden Award from the European Commission (European Destination of Excellence) Tirol Touristica Award, the Alps Award (Top 5 Destination) and the prestigious World Responsible Tourism Award (Top 4 Destinations worldwide).

In 2014 Mr Van der Bellen founded his own management consulting compnay with focus on accesibility, communication and tourism. He has worked as lecturer for the Tyrolean Chamber of Commerce, the European Academy in Bolzano and the European Commission. Mr. Van der Bellen holds a Diploma in tourism form the Tourism Kolleg, Innsbruck (1991) and an Advanced Management MBA from the University of Economics, Vienna (2010). www.vanderbellen.com Go to Top


Session 5

David A. Mason (Republic of Korea/ United States of America)

David MasonDavid A. Mason is a Professor of Korean Public Service at Chung-Ang University, Seoul Campus, and a longtime researcher on the religious characteristics of Korea's mountains. He has served as a professor of English out in the Korean countryside for 14 years, as a professor of Korean Cultural Tourism for 7 years, and as a consultant for the national Ministry of Culture and Tourism for 5 years.  

A native citizen of the United States, he has been living in the Republic of Korea for 33 years now, always following his passionate interest in hiking Korea’s forested mountains and visiting their historic spiritual sites.  He was appointed the Honorary Ambassador of the Baekdu-daegan Ranges by the Korea Forest Service in January 2011.

Mason earned a Masters' Degree in the History of Korean Religions from Yonsei University in 1997. He has authored and edited ten books on Korean culture and tourism, including Spirit of the Mountains about Korea's traditions of spiritual mountain-worship, and the Encyclopedia of Korean Buddhism. He has published many articles in academic journals and popular magazines, and has frequently been interviewed on various media. His popular website about sacred Korean mountains and mountain-spirits can be found at www.san-shin.org Go to Top

Prof. Ick-keun Oh (Republic of Korea)

Ick-Keun Oh

Dr. Ick Keun Oh is Professor of Tourism Management at Keimyung University, Daegu, Korea. He earned a doctoral degree in Park & Recreation Resources from the Michigan State University, USA and served as Assistant Professor at Georgia Southern University, USA. Dr. Oh was editor-in-chief of Journal of Tourism Sciences published by the Tourism Sciences Society of Korea (TOSOK), tourism scholars' association. He served as President of TOSOK for two years (2011-2013). He is editorial board member of both Information Technology & Tourism and International Tourism Review.

As tourism specialist, he has been advising to central and local governments, and international organization such as APEC, PATA, WTO (Trade). Dr. Oh has been writing more than 150 articles for academic journals, trade journals, and newspapers and serving as panelist for national and local TV and radio programs more than 30 times. He has also delivered more than 70 special lectures to public servants and organization members. His interest areas include tourism PR, senior tourism, rural tourism, and MICE.Go to Top

Kyle Hughes (Australia)

Kyle HughesKyle Hughes is the Business Development Manager for Korea Snow, the most comprehensive English language site dedicated to bringing the Korean snow travel experience to the world. Inspired by a family holiday in 2011, Korea Snow began as a small blog site and has grown over the last four years to become a full service travel website offering snow destination travel to the Republic of Korea. Built from personal experience gathered through extensive travel through the Korean Alps to resorts and their facilities, Korea Snow is also supported with local knowledge from our local on-ground support team. With a strong following across many social media platforms, Korea Snow aims to be the premier website for snow holiday makers to Korea leading up to and following the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.

With over a decade’s experience in running successful strategic advisory, project management and support businesses, Kyle has also drawn upon his extensive diverse career in the hospitality, accommodation and service industries to establish Korea Snow’s tourism, digital media and marketing consulting services. Korea Snow will now also form the concept blueprint for the development of other websites in emerging destinations through its parent company, The Snow Less Travelledwww.korea-snow.com Go to Top

Yoichi Goto (Japan)

Yoichi GotoAs a researcher of Dentsu Innovation Institute, the R&D unit of the largest advertising and marketing agency in Asia, he researches the Japanese snow/mountain industry and has been developing multiple new projects as an entrepreneur. One of the projects he is spearheading is the introduction of the world’s largest big mountain ski/snowboard competition, Freeride World Tour, to Hakuba, Nagano. He also started investigating the world of extreme sports disciplines, which he believes have huge potential on Japan’s colorful nature landscapes with diverse features from water and snow to dirt and rocks.

Before his current role, he had been workings in media buying and account management at DENTSU, which made him knowledgeable on the Japanese media landscape. He holds an MBA from Kyoto University with the focus on Sports Marketing and conducted research on the European soccer market at the University of Lausanne, Switzerland. He is an avid skier, being on snow from the age of four, an experienced tennis player, captain of his university team, a cyclist, and has experienced almost every outdoor activity from his childhood. Go to Top

Rustam Najafov (Azerbaijan)

Rustam Najafov

Rustam Najafov is from the capital Baku and graduated from the University of Architecture and Construction of the Republic of Azerbaijan in 2014. After his military service in 2004/2005 he worked as assistant to the director of the Republican Chess Center before he joined as student the Avalon School of English in London in 2007/2008.

Since 2008 Mr. Najafov works in the Administration of Shahdag Winter-Summer Tourism Complex under the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the Republic of Azerbaijan were he became first deputy director of  the Shahdag Mountain Resort in 2014. Besides his professional carreer he has once again dedicated his free time to studying a Masters´Degree at the Academy of Public Administration under the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan. www.shahdagmountainresort.com Go to Top

Martin Francou (France)

Martin FrancouMartin grew up in the French Alps and developed true passion for mountain and sports.

After graduating from Political Studies, he moved abroad with the Foreign Affairs Minister. He then returned to the Alps and specialized in mountain territories development and tourism, as a planner and business developer. He runs Geode’s mountain planning department, a French Alps company with proved know-how on mountain resort planning.

As project manager of a multidisciplinary team (resort planner, consultant, architect, ski area designer…), his job is to advise decision makers on how to best develop their touristic products in both summer and winter. He is working with key stakeholders (CDA, infrastructure providers, international project developers, world-class ski resorts…). Martin and his teams have left his footmark with prestigious projects in countries such as France, Romania, Ukraine, Georgia, Russia (Winter Olympics, Elbrus, Arkhyz,…) and Japan (Optimization strategy for ski area). He was recently elected to join the executive committee of Cluster Montagne, a French association of 200 companies specialized in mountain resort development.

He keeps traveling to mountain resorts, which allows him to have a rich experience of what is done and can possibly be done in this market. As a former ski racer and mountain trailer, he is also ski instructor in a French ski resort. www.geode.cc ; www.cluster-montagne.comGo to Top


Session 6

Christoph Hinteregger (Austria)

Christopher Hinteregger Christopher is the Head of “Tourism Destinations International” at Kohl & Partner Hotel & Tourism Consulting, an Austrian based tourism consultancy with offices and local contacts in ten countries.

Mr. Hinteregger studied tourism management at the renowned IMC in Krems, Austria and joined Kohl & Partner in 2003. During 2008/09 he worked for Roland Berger Strategy Consultants and Horwath HTL in Moscow, Russia. In 2009 he re-joined Kohl & Partner.

He is a specialist in tourism destination development and has implemented projects in Albania, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia-Hercegovina, China, Croatia, Hungary, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Montenegro, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovenia, Turkey and Ukraine. www.kohl.atGo to Top  

Zeynep Aslan (Turkey)

Zeynep AslanZeynep Aslan was born in 1983. She graduated from City and Regional Planning Department of Yildiz Technical University, and has a master degree in City Planning from Middle East Technical University.

She is working as a tourism expert for the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism at the Department of Planning and Investments.

As a member of the Team of Ski & Mountain Tourism in the Ministry, she specially works on planning, governing and developing investments and infrastructure in mountain tourism since 2009.  Go to Top


Aleksandre Onoprishvili (Georgia)

Aleksandre Onoprishvili

Mr. Aleksandre Onoprishvili is the director of “Mountain Resorts Development Company Ltd” - Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia since 2013. The organization is in charge of development of main ski resorts of Georgia: Gudauri and Bakuriani. In particular the main filed of the organization is planning the development strategy of the resort, build new ski lifts with new ski slopes, work with potential investors, bringing novelties to the resort for skiers and no skiers, work on merchandizing and so on. 

Besides working on development of ski resort Mr. Onoprishvili is Vice President of Ice Climbing Federation of Georgia from 2007 and part of Georgian Mountaineers’ National Federation since 2004. He has climbed the Mount Kazbek, Kilimanjaro, Mont Blanc and many other mountain peaks. www.gudauri.com Go to Top

Justin Downes (Australia)

Justin DownesJustin Downes serves as President of both Axis Leisure Management & IMG Ski Resort Management and has held a number of Senior Resort & Tourism Leadership roles over 25 years and on 3 continents including some of the industry's leading four season resorts.

Prior to founding Axis, Justin served as Sr VP Operations for Melco China Resorts; responsible for the planning, development and operation of 5 major resorts in China’s North East, including Yabuli, China’s first fully 5 Star alpine resort. Justin later served as COO for Genting Secret Garden Resort - Hebei, overseeing business and master planning for the what will be China’s host site for the 2022 Winter Olympic alpine events. Prior to coming to China in 2006, Justin held the role of CEO for Hotham Skiing Company, one of Australia’s leading tourism assets. From 2000-2005, Justin served as the opening General Manager and Developer of Kicking Horse Mountain Resort in Canada’s Rocky Mountains. As the leader of this project, Justin oversaw all aspects of the development and operations that lead to it becoming one of North America’s leading resort properties. Throughout the 90’s, Justin held a number of Executive roles with Intrawest ULC, in Whistler & Panorama BC.

Axis is a leading leisure and hospitality consultancy headquartered in Beijing, - specializing in four season development projects on behalf of domestic developers, and representing leading foreign firms in the hospitality/leisure industry looking to offer service, or launch their brand into the growing Asian marketplace in the areas of Ski, Golf, Integrated Resorts and Entertainment Venues. In January 2015, Axis and IMG formed a groundbreaking Joint Venture – IMG Ski Resort Management. axisleisure.com ; img.com Go to Top

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