Speakers' Biographies



High Level Panel on City Tourism

Ms. Ana Botella, UNWTO

Mr. Rajan Datar, Presenter of the BBC Travel Show, United Kingdom

H.E. Mr. Abulfas Garayev, Minister of Culture and Tourism, Azerbaijan

H.E. Dato Rashidi Hasbullah, Deputy Secretary General (Tourism), Ministry of Tourism and Culture Malaysia

Mr. Ryoichi Matsuyama, President, Japan National Tourism Organization

Mr. Akel Biltaji, Mayor of Amman, Jordan

Ms. Cheng HongVice Mayor of Beijing and Executive Vice Chairperson of the World Tourism Cities Federation (WTCF), China

Mr. Luis Cueto Álvarez de Sotomayor, General Coordinator of the Mayor, City of Madrid, Spain

Mr. Julio Andrade Ruiz, Councilor of Tourism, Málaga, Spain

Mr. Tarik Sadik, Director of Strategy and Cooperation, Ministry of Tourism, Morocco

Mr. Pavlos YeroulanosHead of the project "Greece: A Different Path to Growth" and Chairman of the Board of Kefalonia Fisheries S.A., Greece

Session 1: Setting the Scene

Mr. Javier Hernández Rodríguez, Málaga Tourism and Convention Bureau, Spain 

Mr. Martin Brackenbury, United Kingdom

Prof. Fekri Hassan, Geoarchaeologist, Egypt 

Dr. Sanda Corak,  Institute for Tourism of Croatia 

Mr. Diego Fuentes, VIP World Events, Spain 

Mr. David Ruetz, ITB Berlin, Germany

Session 2: Culture - A Driving Force

Mr. Graham Brooks, ICOMOS International Cultural Tourism Committee, Australia

H.E. Mr. Abulfas Garayev, Minister of Culture and Tourism, Azerbaijan

Mr. Walid Ramadan, Expert in Eco & Cultural Tourism and Founder of Characters of Egypt Festival, Egypt

Mr. Peter Debrine, UNESCO World Heritage Center, France 

Dr. George Papaioannou, Ionian University, Greece 

Dr. Wantanee Suntikul, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong, China

Mr. Gonzalo Robredo, Tourism Office of Buenos Aires, Argentina

Session 3: Change and Innovation

Mr. John Kester, Tourism Trends and Marketing Strategies, UNWTO

Mr. Antonio López de Ávila, Segittur, Spain

Mr. David Chapman, WYSE Travel Confederation

Mr. Amadou Doumbia, Mojo Nomad - Ovolo Group, Hong Kong, China

Mr. Ignasi de Delàs, European Cities Marketing (ECM), Spain

Representatives from digital platforms


Mr. Zahi Hawass, Archaeologist, Egypt

Ms. Esencan Terzibasoglu, Programme for Destination Managemen & Quality, UNWTO

Mr. Márcio Favilla, Executive Director, UNWTO 


High Level Panel on City Tourism

Ana Botella Serrano (Spain)

Born in Madrid, Ana Botella Serrano graduated from Complutense University with a law degree, and then passed a civil service exam to become a member of Spain’s National Corps of Civil Administrators. As a civil servant, she worked at the Ministry of the Interior, the Civil Government of Rioja, the Ministry of Public Works, the Spanish Tax Agency Delegation in Valladolid, and the Ministry of the Treasury.

In 2003, she was elected to the Madrid City Council, where she served as Second Deputy Mayor and headed several Spanish capital’s Offices. On 27 December 2011, during an extraordinary plenary session of the Madrid City Council, she was sworn in as Mayor, a post she held until June 2015.

As Mayor, she was President of the Madrid Municipal Transport Company (EMT), co-presided over the Union of Ibero-American Capital Cities, and presided over the POLIS Network of European cities and regions seeking innovative transport solutions. She also sat on the Board of Trustees of the Prado Museum, the Lyrical Theatre Foundation (Teatro Real), and National Heritage of Spain.

Since leaving the Madrid City Council in June 2015, she served as Chief Executive of the Integra Foundation. Currently she is a Special Advisor to UNWTO Secretary General, Taleb Rifai, on all matters related to City Tourism.   Go to Top

Rajan Datar (United Kingdon)

Rajan DatarRajan Datar has been host of fast:track, and now its successor The Travel Show, for six years, travelling to over 50 countries on five continents. Currently he is the presenter and writer of Country Direct - half-hour special travelogue documentaries. In 2012, the 12 travelogues included Brazil, Japan, Canada and Ukraine. In 2013 his trips will include Egypt, Mozambique and Zimbabwe. He has just completed a special on India and is about to embark on his next project in South Africa.

Rajan is the host of the weekly radio show Over to You on the BBC World Service and is a regular contributor to the award-winning From Our Own Correspondent. He has made several TV and radio documentaries for both domestic and international channels.

Rajan started his presenting career fronting the BBC’s original independent traveller series Rough Guide to the World, Channel 4's People's Parliament and BBC Two’s new media vehicle The Net. In 2012, he was named the Broadcast Travel Journalist of the Year 2012 in the Business Travel Awards ceremony in London.

In a varied career, Rajan has been a feature writer for The Guardian, The Times, The Observer and many other publications. He has lectured and taught at the University of London and Leeds Universities. He attended Oxford University as an undergraduate and the London School of Economics as a postgraduate student. He has hosted many conferences all around the world, for many global organizations including the United Nations, and is a frequent guest speaker.Go to Top

Abulfas Garayev (Azerbaijan)

In 1994, Dr. Garayev became the Minister of Youth and Sports of the Republic of Azerbaijan, the position that he held until 2001, when he was appointed the Minister of Youth, Sport and Tourism. After the cabinet reshuffle in 2006, Dr. Garayev became the Minister of Culture and Tourism, the position, which he currently holds.

Due to his long term senior position in the Government minister Garayev has acquired a broad managerial and policy making experience on national and international level in the field of culture, tourism, youth and sport. He was the Vice President of National Olympic Committee of Azerbaijan, Chair of the 6th Islamic Conference of Culture Ministers (2009-2011), Chair of National Organizing Committee of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations 7th Global Forum held in 2016, he headed OIC Tourism Ministers Conference (2006-2008), TURKSOY Permanent Council of Culture Ministers in 2009, UNESCO Intergovernmental Committee for intangible Cultural Heritage in 2013 and CIS Council on Cultural Cooperation.

Dr. Garayev currently is the Chair of the Organizing Committee of the World Forum on Intercultural Dialogue, held every two years starting from 2011; he is also the President of the ISESCO General Conference for 2015-2018 years as well as Chair of the National Commission for ISESCO. He is member of UNWTO Executive Council, World Tourism Forum Lucerne Think Tank and vice-chair of the National Commission of Azerbaijan for UNESCO.

Dr. Garayev has received Honorary Degree of Doctor of Arts of the Coventry University in UK in recognition of his inspirational support to the Baku Process for intercultural dialogue. Dr. Garayev received his PhD in philosophy and culture in 1992 from the Public Sciences Academy in Moscow and he is senior lecturer of the Azerbaijan Tourism and Management University since 2006. He is fluent in Azerbaijani, Russian, English, Turkish, and French.Go to Top

Datuk Rashidi Hasbullah (Malaysia)

Mr. Rashidi HasbullahDatuk Rashidi Hasbullah was appointed as the Deputy Secretary General (Tourism) in 2011. His career in the Ministry of Tourism started as an Assistant Secretary in 1996. Until today he has 19 years of experience in the tourism industry. He holds a Master in Tourism from the Central Michigan University, United States of America in 2004 and finished the Oxford Advanced Leadership Course from Oxford University, United Kingdom in 2012. Apart from his official duty as a Government Servant, Mr. Rashidi is also a current board member of Kuala Lumpur Tourism Bureau, Sri Malaysia Hotel Chain, Putrajaya International Convention Centre, Marina Putrajaya Pte. Ltd. and Penang Hill Corporation.

With his vast knowledge and experiences in the area of tourism, Mr Rashidi has projected Malaysia as a leading tourism destination at the international arena through networking and collaborations with World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), Asia Pacific Economic Corporation (APEC), Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) and Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). He is frequently representing Malaysia in various meetings, conferences and forums as well as presenting papers, keynote addresses, and speeches at international and regional levels.Go to Top

Ryoichi Matsuyama (Japan)

Ryoichi MatsuyamaMr. Matsuyama is currently serving as President of Japan National Tourism Organization, which has been marketing to promote increased international travel to Japan, since 2011. Prior to his current assignment, he took on a diplomatic career as an Ambassador of Japan to the Republic of Botswana and Special Representative of Government of Japan to Southern African Development Community (SADC) from 2008 to 2011.

Mr. Matsuyama has been associated with the private sector company Mitsui & Co., Ltd. for 36 years from 1972 to 2008. Immediately after graduating from the University of Tokyo, Faculty of Economics, in 1972, joined Mitsui & Co., Ltd. His first responsibilities were exporting Toyota Cars to Canada. He was assigned to the London Office of Mitsui & Co., Ltd from 1976 to 1983.

In 1989, Mr. Matsuyama attended the Program for Management Development at Harvard Business School. He was assigned as Senior Corporate Strategist of the Corporate Planning Division in charge of planning and executing corporate strategy of Mitsui & Co., Ltd. from 1989 to 1994.

Mr. Matsuyama was assigned President and CEO of Mitsui Italia, stationed in Milan, from 1995 to 1999 and had been also serving as President of Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Italy from 1997 to 1999. In 1999, Mr. Matsuyama was assigned General Manager of the Corporate Communication Division in charge of PR & IR activity of Mitsui & Co., Ltd. In 2004 he was assigned Senior Vice President of Mitsui USA stationed in New York. Mr. Matsuyama served as Chief Operation Officer, Kyushu Headquarters, Mitsui & Co., Ltd. from 2005 to 2008.Go to Top

Akel Biltaji (Jordan)

He was born in Gaza, Palestine, in 1941. Graduated with a Degree in Education in the summer of 1962, he immediately joined the Arabian American Oil Company (ARAMCO), Saudi Arabia. In the summer of 1969, Akel Biltaji returned to Jordan to join ALIA, the Royal Jordanian Airlines as a senior management officer. In his 28 year distinguished airline career, Akel Biltaji had served in different capacities, the last of which was Senior Vice President.

His Majesty, the late King Hussein, appointed Akel Biltaji in March 1997 as the Country's Minister of Tourism and Antiquities, where he continued to serve in this portfolio under His Majesty King Abdullah II until June of 2001, when he was appointed by His Majesty as Chief Commissioner for the newly declared Region of the Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority. In February of 2004 King Abdullah II appointed Akel Biltaji as His Majesty's Advisor on Tourism Promotion, Foreign Direct Investment and Country Branding. In November of 2005 His Majesty appointed Akel Biltaji as a member of the House of Senate, where he served as Chairman of the Tourism and Heritage House Committee, a member of the Foreign Relations, Health and Environment and Education House Committees. In September of 2013 the Prime Minister appointed Akel Biltaji as Mayor of Amman.

Akel Biltaji represented his country in a number of national, regional and international forums and conferences, including the World Economic Forum both in Davos and the Dead Sea. He also sits on the boards of a number of national and international organizations and institutions including the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group. Go to Top

Cheng Hong (China)

Cheng HongPrior to her public service, Mme. Cheng Hong taught economics at Beijing Wuzi University where she was the Associate Dean of the Economics Department, Director of the Graduate Department and Director of the Institute of Circulation Economics. She later served as Deputy Director-General of Beijing Municipal Commission of Commerce, Deputy Mayor of Chaoyang District, Director-General of the Administration Board of Beijing Central Business District (CBD), Vice Chairperson of Beijing Municipal Committee of China Democratic League, Chairperson of Beijing Federation of Industry and Commerce. In January 2008, Mme. Cheng Hong was elected Vice Mayor of Beijing, overseeing commerce, tourism, industrial and commercial administration, food and drug supervision and administration, and affairs related to overseas Chinese.

Mme. Cheng Hong was a deputy to the Tenth National People's Congress, and is now a standing committee member of the Twelfth CPPCC National Committee. She is also Vice Chairperson of All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce, Vice President of All-China Women’s Federation, and Doctoral Supervisor of Renmin University of China. Go to Top

Luis Cueto Álvarez de Sotomayor (Spain)

Luis CuetoLuis Cueto Álvarez de Sotomayor is Officer Upper Body of Directors of State Civil since 1987 and holds a Degree in Law by the Autonomous University of Madrid.

He worked as Assistant Director General of Planning and Management of Human Resources of the Social Security under the Ministry of Labour of Spain (1991) and he also worked as General Assistant Director of Human Resources in the Ministry of Justice (1993). In 2001 he joined the “Instituto Cervantes”, under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as Director of Human Resources and Information Systems. In 2006 Mr. Álvarez de Sotomayor was appointed General Director of the EOI Business School, Ministry of Industry, Tourism and Trade. Previously, he had held the position of Head of Cabinet Secretariat in the Ministry of Industry, Tourism and Trade of Spain from 2004 to 2006. From 2010 to 2015 he was Deputy General of Promoting Business Innovation in the Ministry of Science and Innovation. He was responsible for Binding Reports (IMV) on tax deductions for R + D + i; Program for Innovative Public Procurement; management of the Network of Cities of Science and Innovation and the seal of innovative SMEs; and General Coordinator of the City Council of Madrid. Since 2015 Mr. Luis Cueto Álvarez de Sotomayor is Responsible for the International Promotion of the City of Madrid, International Cooperation and European Funds as well as

In parallel to these achievements, he was formerly director of the public entity Red.es and the Centre for the Development of Industrial Technology (CDTI). He was also representative of the City Council of Madrid in the Trade Fair Institution of Madrid (IFEMA) and in several consortia of foreign affairs (Casa Árabe, Sefarad, Casa América, Casa Asia). He is Deputy Vicepresident of the municipal company Madrid Destino

Julio Andrade Ruiz (Spain)

Julio Andrade

Julio Andrade Ruiz is Vice-president of the Gender Equality Commission of the Spanish Federation of Municipalities and Provinces (FEMP)He is currently Deputy Mayor and Deputy for Tourism, City Promotion and International Institutional Relations and for Social Issues, Governance and Transparency in the Municipality of Malaga.

He is also responsible for the first Cross-cutting Plan on Coexistence and Against Violent Radicalism in the Municipality of Malaga, under the coordination of the Intelligence Bureau Against Terrorism and Organized Crime, attached to the Secretariat of State for Security of the Spanish Government. Previously, he was Vice-president of the Commission on Security and Citizen Coexistence of FEMP (2011-2015) and he was appointed Deputy Mayor and Deputy for Security Issues in the Municipality of Malaga (2011-2015).

Julio Andrade Ruiz holds a Degree in Law by the Camilo José Cela University, a Master Degree in Emergencies and Disasters Management by the University of Malaga and a MBA by the EOI-ESESA. He is also an Expert in Senior Management and Managerial Skills, San Telmo Institute, and he holds a Certificate in English Language by the Official School of Languages of Malaga and a Proficiency Certificate in English Language, California, USA. He was also a former Auxiliary Police Guard in the Spanish Police Academy in the city of Baeza.

Julio Andrade Ruiz is President of the Executive Commission of the Forum for the Peace in the Mediterranean.Go to Top

Tarik Sadik (Morocco) 

Tarik SadikTarik Sadik was born December 12, 1976 in Rabat. He currently is the Secretary General of the Tourism Observatory in Morocco and since 2013 he joined the Ministry of Tourism where he occupies the post of Director of Strategy and Cooperation. From 2011 to 2013 he was Director in the Moroccan Society of tourism engineering (SMIT). From January to December 2010 he was Head of the Department urban tourism center area to SMIT.  Between 2004 and 2010, he continued his career as an Expert at the Observatory of the government in Quebec.

Tarik Sadik has expanded its fields of activity in the following areas: Design and monitoring of sector strategies, policies and programs Evaluation, Strategic and Operational Monitoring, Management and performance monitoring, project management and planning, analysis and management consulting and development of organizations and processes, statistical analysis and Data Mining and the design and implementation of tourism projects.Go to Top

Pavlos Yeroulanos (Greece)

Pavlos YeroulanosPavlos Yeroulanos was born in Athens in 1966. He holds a BA from Williams College (’88) and an MPA from Harvard University (’94) and an MBA from MIT (94’).

In the private sector he worked as finance director for the Photoelectron Corporation (1989-1991), Kefalonia Fisheries S.A., overseeing its restructuring effort (1994-2000). He also worked as a consultant for Egon Zehnder International (2004-2006).

In the public sector, he served successively from 1999 through 2004 as Advisor to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and as Secretary General for Greeks Abroad. From 2006 to 2009 he was appointed Director of the Political Bureau of the President of Panhellenic Socialist Movement and after that he became Secretary for Communications of the party, acting as campaign manager for the European and National election campaigns in 2009.

From October 2009 until May 2012 Pavlos Yeroulanos became a Member of Parliament and served as the Minister of Culture and Tourism of Greece. His portfolio also included Sports and Public Television.

Today, he serves as Chairman of the Board of Kefalonia Fisheries S.A. and specializes in turnaround management.  He is a member of the Central Committee of the Panhellenic Socialist Movement and leads the project “Solutions for Greece”. Go to Top


Session 1: Setting the Scene - Recent Trends & Emerging Niche Markets in City Tourism

Javier Hernández Rodríguez (Spain)

Javier Hernández Rodríguez is the Manager and General Director of Tourist Destinations with over 4 years of experience in the City Council of Malaga with as primary mission to position and consolidate the City of Malaga as a tourist destination of Big Cities. In addition to this he has been fulfilling the post as Coordinator of International Relations of the City of Malaga since 2015.

Possessing more than 24 years in the hotel and gastronomy sector, he also is the Director of Hotel and Tourism Companies, providing leadership to establishments of various categories, types and models of exploitation with knowledge in the areas of production, administration and commercialization, ensuring the increase in yields of operating accounts and positioning destinations. Specialized in openings of establishments and hotels of multiple dimensions.Go to Top

Martin Brackenbury (England) 

Martin Brackenbury is a Director of Classic Collection Holidays and Managing Partner of Brackenbury & Partners. Formerly a Director of Thomson, Panorama, Airtours and Exodus Holidays he was also a Professor at Nottingham University in the UK. He has served for a number of years on Industry bodies: FTO (Chair), IFTO (President), ABTA (Director) and UNWTO (Chair of Affiliate members). 

He has carried out many missions researching and then advising Governments and the private sector on responsible tourism development in more than 40 countries in the past 30 years. He speaks widely on tourism matters at international meetings and policy forums. He is a member of the UK’s Tourism Hall of Fame and is a recipient of a number of significant awards. Go to Top

Fekri Hassan (Egypt)

More information soon.

Sanda Corak (Croatia)

Sanda Čorak, PhD is a scientific advisor and has been the managing director of the Institute since 2001. She obtained her master and PhD degree in economics (marketing) at the University of Zagreb, Faculty of Economics and Business.  She has more than twenty years of experience in tourism market research and segmentation of tourism demand, and, in the recent years her topics of interest include destination marketing, tourism governance and sport tourism. Within the Institute for Tourism she deals with the methodological issues of longitudinal national visitor survey, she is the editor-in-chief of the scientific international interdisciplinary journal TOURISM and she has also established scientific edition of the Institute.

During her long carrier at the Institute for Tourism she was a project leader of scientific and many consultant projects for tourism destinations in Croatia and neighbouring countries. As a director she has established a cooperation between the Institute and UNWTO and she is continuously encouraging international collaboration and networks.

She is also a senior lecturer at the University of Applied Sciences (VERN Zagreb).  She is author and coauthor of many academic papers published in international tourism journals and author of a few book chapters.Go to Top

Diego Fuentes (Spain)

Mr. Diego Fuentes studied Management and Business Administration at the University of Seville. After graduating he got involved in the field of business Administration and later became the Financial Manager for different important firms. Eventually he started to work in the Tourism field providing consultancy for tourism operators, group travel providers and destination management companies.

Currently Mr. Diego Fuentes is President and CEO of VIP WORLD EVENTS, a specialized company in providing services for Governments and Presidential Delegations, established in Spain and present in all 5 continents. Since 2014, within the UNWTO Affliate Members Programme, he is leading a very challenging project, the Tourism Optimizer Platform (TOP), officially presented during the 21st UNWTO General Assembly hosted in Medellin (Colombia).  From 2007 to 2010 he has been regularly collaborating as a speaker for the University of Seville and other public and private universities such as EUSA.Go to Top

David Ruetz (Germany)

David Ruetz is, since over more than a decade, Head of ITB Berlin, the World's Leading Travel Trade Show®. Under his direction, ITB was awarded numerous recognitions, such as the Innovation Award of Germany’s Federal Association of Tourism and Economy and the Award of the Corps Touristique for “Best Travel and Tourism Trade Show” – ten years in a row since 2006.

Mr. Ruetz was born 1968 and raised in Zurich, Switzerland. After University studies in Zurich and Berlin he has run his own tour operating and event business before joining Messe Berlin in 2001. His clients included Volkswagen, Ruhrgas and other prestigious German companies.

At ITB, David Ruetz was crucial in helping to bring out ITB Asia in Singapore and has helped to install ITB China in Shanghai, with its debut coming up in May 2017. He is also directing the advisory branch of ITB Berlin and in this function has worked for countries and destinations such as Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Greece, India, Peru, Poland and Iran.

Mr. Ruetz is editor, author and co-author of several books and studies on trends in travel and tourism. He is adjunct professor at Universities in Germany and Austria and serves as Board Member of the International University Bad Honnef/Bonn, Germany. He also serves on the board of the renowned German FUR (Forschungsgemeinschaft Urlaub und Reisen), one of the most important independent association of domestic and international users of tourism research in Germany, a non-profit organisation commissioning tourism research projects. Go to Top


Session 2: Culture - A Driving Force for City Tourism

Graham Brooks (Australia)

Graham Brooks is an internationally recognised specialist in Cultural Heritage Management and Cultural Tourism Management. He holds an Honours Degree in Architecture and a Masters Degree in Heritage Conservation.  He has 40 years of private sector professional experience in Australia, the United Kingdom, Europe and Asia centred on the conservation and heritage management of historic buildings, urban areas and sensitive cultural landscapes.  He has been actively involved in the conservation and re-use of historic buildings throughout Australia.  His work in cultural tourism has included extensive site investigations over many decades of the relationship of tourism with heritage places throughout Europe, South East Asia, the Pacific, the Americas and North Africa. 

Graham is President Emeritus of the ICOMOS International Cultural Tourism Committee and was the principal author of the ICOMOS International Cultural Tourism Charter (1999), in addition to the Handbook on Tourism Congestion Management at Natural and Cultural Sites (2005) and Communicating Significance, a Handbook for the Tourism Sector (2011), for the UN World Tourism Organisation. Go to Top

Mr. Walid Ramadan (Egypt)

Walid Ramadan moved to the Red Sea at the age of 17, and has been discovering Egypt and its diversity ever since.

In 1985, Mr. Ramadan established three eco camps in Egypt in partnership with the Dar Company and the Egyptian Tourism Agency. Later this year he contributed to the creation of the desert safari department of the Arab German Tour Operator Company.

In 1996 he founded Geographic Adventures, an organization specialized in desert activities and ecotourism tours in Egypt.  Over the succeeding couple of years Mr. Ramadan established Geo Productions, an organization specialized in desert filming and a service provider for international production houses and television channels.  Geo Productions was involved in the production and post-production of several documentary films promoting ecotourism in Egypt and has provided services for commercials filmed in desert destinations to companies including Coca Cola, Procter & Gamble and GMC. He later on organized many large scale events including the very first touristic camel race in Sharm El-Sheikj, an annual event which continues till today. 

In 2004 Mr. Walid directed most of his energy towards investing in the design, implementation, development and management of the touristic destination of Fustat Wadi El Gemal, Marsa Alam, the first organized ecological operation of its kind to be designed and established on a National Protectorate Park in Egypt.  In 2013 he designed and implemented the Camel Yard at Port Ghalib Marsa Alam.

But Mr. Walid is mostly known for being the founder and chairman of the Characters of Egypt Annual Festival, a three-day festival that was founded in 2009 aiming to showcase the richly diverse desert cultures of Egypt and promote altruism, acceptance and patriotism. Mr Walid has received a series of awards over the years, for desert activities, particularly with an eco-friendly focus from different international universities and institutes.

Mr. DeBrine joined the UNESCO World Heritage Centre in 2011 to spearhead the development and management of the World Heritage and Sustainable Tourism Programme. As a Senior Project Officer he coordinates the overall programme activities including project management, outreach and resource mobilization, integration and implementation of sustainable tourism policies and strategies as part of the overall conservation management of World Heritage sites, and in the implementation of the World Heritage Convention.

Previously he was the Director of the World Heritage Alliance at the United Nations Foundation—a global community of travelers, members of the travel industry, government groups, non-governmental organizations, and the United Nations working together to preserve and protect World Heritage sites while supporting local communities.

With extensive experience in sustainable development and tourism, Mr. DeBrine held the position of Deputy Director of the International Tourism Partnership for the Prince of Wales International Business Leaders Forum. Formerly, Mr. DeBrine worked as a Forestry Officer for the UN Food and Agriculture Organization where he helped shape an international partnership for sustainable development in mountain regions. This builds on his many years as an environmental campaigner for WWF working on climate change, endangered species and sustainable tourism issues in the US and Europe.

Mr. DeBrine holds an MBA from the Thunderbird School of Global Management and a bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from the University of Colorado, Boulder.

George Papaioannou (Greece)

Dr Georgios Papaioannou is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Archives, Library Sciences and Museology, and the Director of the Museology Lab at the Ionian University, Corfu, Greece. His research interests lie in museology, archaeology, education (including distance learning), tourism (including city tourism) and IT applications, including virtual reality, augmented reality and mobile applications.

He has studied classics, archaeology, cultural heritage and IT in Greece (Ioannina, BA), in Britain (MA at UCL, PhD at King's) and in Spain (Tenerife). He has conducted archaeological and museum / cultural heritage work in Jordan, Syria and Oman. He has set-up archaeological exhibitions in Jordan (Museum at the Lowest Place on Earth, Dead Sea) and Oman, and exhibitions at various museums in Greece. He has led and coordinated multi-partner cross border research and innovation projects of budgets exceeding € 2 million, and he received project coordination international awards. Dr Papaioannou is General-Secretary of the Hellenic Society for Near Eastern Studies and a member of ICOM. He has lectured, excavated and led tours to the UK, Greece, Cyprus, Australia, Spain, Syria, Oman, Turkey, Yemen and Saudi Arabia.Go to Top

Wantanee Suntikul (China)

Dr. Wantanee Suntikul is Assistant Professor at the School of Hotel and Tourism Management at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University. Her core research interest and expertise are in cultural tourism destinations, political and social aspects of tourism development, religion tourism, gastrodiplomacy and tourism. She holds projects in Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, China, Hong Kong, Macao and Bhutan.

Dr. Suntikul’s recent books include “Tourism and Political Change”, “Tourism and War”. She is currently co editing two books “Tourism and Religion”, and “Tourism and Political Change” (2nd ed.). She is also Joint Editor-in-Chief of the journal “Tourism, Culture & Communication” Go to Top


Gonzalo Robredo (Argentina)

Gonzalo RobredoGonzalo Robredo has experience in both the public and private sector. He was the founder of an important think tank and worked for the Argentine social security organisation and in the social sector. Fifteen years ago, he decided to enter the tourism industry. First, as the manager of a chain of lodges catering for the luxury market, he expanded the company's operations in Argentine and Chilean Patagonia, the Bahamas and Uruguay.

He later founded Hub Porteño, a luxury boutique hotel in Buenos Aires with a ground-breaking business model. The hotel offers customers the ability to design personalised city experiencias guided by specialists in different fields, offering deeper insights normally inaccesible to the regular visitor. Hub Porteño not only offered accommodation in the city's best location, plus the best in hotel services; it also generated value beyond the hotel itself by helping guests discover the city they were visiting. The interiors, gastronomy and city experiences reveal the identity of the place as if the visitor is being helped to discover the real city by a local. 

Most recently, Robredo's interest in public service has led him to accept the responsibility of leading the Buenos Aires City Tourist Board. Go to Top


Session 3: Change and Innovation: The Digital Revolution & the Millenial Traveller

John Kester (UNWTO)

John Kester is the Director of the Tourism Market Trends Programme at the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). Since August 2006 he is supervising the team that carries out the activities with regard to short-term and long-term trends in tourism and forecasting, marketing and promotional techniques, and competiveness as formulated in the General Programme of Work of UNWTO.

On behalf of UNWTO he is collaborating with various international organisations such as the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations (UN-DESA), the World Bank, the European Commission and the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA).

Mr Kester is member of the Market Intelligence Committee of the European Travel Commission (ETC), where he coordinates UNWTO’s participation in joint ETC-UNWTO research projects covering outbound travel market studies, marketing techniques and best practice handbooks.

Before joining the UNWTO, Mr Kester graduated in Social Science with a specialisation in research methodology and data analysis from the University of Leiden (the Netherlands) and worked for seven years at Statistics Netherlands as researcher in the field of socio-cultural statistics.Go to Top

Antonio López de Ávilla (Spain)

Ana BotellaAntonio López de Ávila was appointed as President of SEGITTUR (State society for the Management of Innovation and Tourism Technologies) in February 2012 after he took the office as Director of the Cabinet of the State Secretary for Tourism in January 2012.

A renowned scholar focused on various research areas in tourism including destination and tourism product development, MICE, application of technologies to tourism product and market, Mr. López de Ávila worked at IE Business School for over a decade. Before joining the government sector, he was previously served as the school’s Director of the Tourism Unit, Tourism Research Centre and Executive Master in Tourism Management, Academic Director of the Programme in Tourism Management. Between 2001 and 2004, Mr. López de Ávila was an advisor to the Secretary of State for Tourism and Commerce, Government of Spain. He was also an entrepreneur as founding partner of the Spanish Institute for Business Management and many other companies. He also was Trustee of Paradores de Turismo, a Spanish state owned chain of luxury hotels usually located in historic buildings such as a monasteries, palaces or castles.

Mr. López de Ávila earned an Executive Master in Business Administration from IE Business School. He also holds a Master Degree in Foreign Trade from ESIC and a Bachelor Degree in Law from ULPGC (Spain)Go to Top

David Chapman (The Netherlands)

David Chapman is the Director General of the World Youth, Student and Educational (WYSE) Travel Confederation, assuming the role in April 2013. WYSE is the peak global membership association representing the needs of the youth travel industry. 

Prior to joining the Confederation, he was the Chief Operating Officer and Deputy Director of International Student House in London (ISH); a self-funding charity that runs a large social centre with accommodation for students studying in London. During his time at ISH, David served as a member of the STAY WYSE association board; a driving force within the youth travel accommodation industry

Having worked at some of the premier hotels in Europe including Grosvenor House, the Waldorf and the George V in Paris before becoming General Manager of a number of the UK’s top country house hotels, David has an in-depth knowledge of the accommodation sector.

David also represents WYSE Travel Confederation on the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Affiliate Members Board, is a Chartered Manager and Fellow of the Chartered Managers Institute as well as a Member of the Institute of Hospitality. Go to Top

Amadou Doumbia (Hong Kong)

Malian-born, but American-raised, Amadou Doumbia is a communications professional who has built his career around connecting individuals, companies and organisations across a range of sectors. Upon his university degree in International Studies with Minors in French and Japanese language, Amadou lived in New York before embarking on a career in Asia-Pacific 2010.

Since arriving, Amadou has held communication-based roles across such companies as Global Sources, Messe Frankfurt and CRED Communications, before attaining his current role as PR & Communications Manager for the Ovolo GroupIn his role, Amadou oversees all areas of communication and public relation activities for the company, developing strategies and effective tactics with the help of media relations, partnerships, social media and digital marketing activities alongside his team for targeting their millennial demographic market. When not overseeing the international group’s promotional efforts, Amadou enjoys travelling, learning new languages and cooking a range of cuisines. Go to Top

Ignasi de Delàs (Spain)

Mr. Ignasi de Delàs graduated in Economics and Management Sciences from the University of Barcelona. From 1983 to 1991 he worked as consultant for different private companies, the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).

In 1992 he joined the Barcelona Official Chamber of Commerce as Director for Tourism where he contributed to create and develop Turismo de Barcelona in 1993, the private-public tourist board of the city where he worked from 1993 till 2004. He also acted as Member of the Board (2000-2004) and Vice-president (2002-2004) of European Cities Tourism (ECT). In 2004 Mr. de Delàs became General Manager of the Catalan Tourism Board a position he held until 2011.

At present he is the Deputy General Manager of Turisme de Barcelona and president of European Cities Marketing (ECM) since 2013.  Go to Top



Zahi Hawass (Egypt)

Zahi HawassWorld-renown archaeologist  began as an inspector of antiquities and rose to the height of the profession in Egypt, becoming Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, as well as the first Minister of State for Antiquities.

He received his BA from Alexandria University in Greek and Roman archaeology and a diploma in Egyptology from Cairo University. His MA and PhD were granted by the University of Pennsylvania, where he studied as a Fulbright fellow. Additionally, Dr.Hawass has received five honorary doctorates from various foreign universities.

He has written more than 40 popular and academic books and more than 150 scholarly articles on his excavations. Through the course of his career he has made a number of major discoveries, among them the tombs of the pyramid-builders at Giza and the Valley of the Golden Mummies at Bahariya Oasis and two new pyramids that belonged to Khufu and to the mother of King Teti. One of Dr. Hawass’s most important endeavors has been the Egyptian Mummy Project, which uses modern forensic techniques, including CT scans and DNA analysis, to answer questions about human remains from ancient Egypt.

Dr. Hawass is known for his charisma and ability to reach out to the public, raising awareness of archaeology and the preservation of Egypt’s precious heritage. Over the course of his career, Dr. Hawass has received numerous awards and honors, among them the Emmy Award for a documentary on ancient Egypt. In 1998, the President of Egypt bestowed on him the First Class Award for Arts and Sciences, and he also received the Pride of Egypt Award. In 2000 he was named Distinguished Scholar of the Year, and he was one of 30 international figures to receive the Golden Plate Award from the American Academy of Achievement. Time magazine chose him as one of the Top 100 Most Influential People for 2006 and in 2008 Dr. Hawass was presented with a World Tourism Award and designated a Goodwill Ambassador to Japan. Dr. Hawass is now working with the Ministry of Tourism to promote travel to Egypt, and he has recently lectured in Canada, Germany, Switzerland, and Britain. Go to Top

Esencan Terzibasoglu (UNWTO)

Ms. Esencan Terzibasoglu has been working in the UNWTO since 2001 and is currently Director of the Destination Management and Quality Programme, which is relatively a recent concept and activity concerning tourism governance at national and particularly at regional and local level. "Quality" has recently been integrated in the same programme which will mainly focus on destination quality as a parameter for competitiveness.

She studied "urban and regional planning” in the Middle East Technical University in Ankara, Turkey and worked 25 years in the public sector in Turkey and abroad where she held senior management positions in tourism master planning, tourism investment policies and legislation, site planning and conservation of cultural heritage sites, vocational tourism training, international relations and lastly, in tourism promotion and marketing (8 years as the Director of the Turkish Tourism Office in Madrid, in charge of Spain, Portugal and South America) before joining the UNWTO.

During her various posts in the public sector, she also contributed as an international expert to some research projects and initiatives conducted by international organizations such as UNEP, particularly on “sustainable tourism development and management” in the Mediterranean coastal zones. Besides being an official delegate in the meetings of regional and international organizations like WTO (UNWTO), UNESCO, HABITAT, OECD Tourism Committee, MEMMTA, etc., she was invited to contribute to many conferences, seminars and workshops with technical papers/presentations. Go to Top

Mr. Favilla is currently Executive Director for Operational Programmes and Institutional Relations at the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). Between January 2010 and December 2013 he held the position of UNWTO Executive Director for Competitiveness, External Relations and Partnerships.

From April 2007, before joining UNWTO, Mr. Favilla was Vice Minister of the Secretariat of Institutional Relations of the Presidency of Brazil. Prior to this appointment, he was Brazil’s first Vice Minister of Tourism (2003-2007) where he played a key role in the structuring of the first exclusive Ministry of Tourism in Brazil.

During his term as Vice Minister of Tourism he was actively involved in the development and implementation of the 1st National Tourism Plan and worked to increase both tourism arrivals into the country as well as domestic tourism. He was also engaged in many of UNWTO’s activities as Head of the Brazilian delegation to all General Assembly and Executive Council sessions in that period and Chairman of the UNWTO Commission for the Americas in 2006.

From 1999 to 2002 he worked at the Ministry of Development, Industry and International Trade as Head of the National Department for Business Registry among other positions. Mr. Favilla held offices in Belo Horizonte from 1980 to 1998, first at the Development Bank of Minas Gerais and then at the State Secretariat for Finance of Minas Gerais.

Mr. Favilla has a MA in Development Studies from the Institute of Social Studies, The Hague, Netherlands, where he specialized in Regional Development Planning (1985-1986). He obtained his undergraduate degree in Economics from the Federal University of Minas Gerais (1979). Mr. Favilla is a Brazilian national, born in 1958.Go to Top


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