Speakers' Biographies



Session 1: Tourism and the New Urban Agenda

Moderator: Ms. Sharanjit Leyl, Presenter for BBC World News

Keynote: Dr. Joan Clos, Executive Director, UN-Habitat

Mr. Márcio Favilla, Executive Director, UNWTO

Dr. Ko Koens, NHTV Breda University of Applied Sciences, Netherlands

Mr. Rassul Ilimbayev, Astana Convention Bureau, Kazakhstan

Mr. Akel BiltajiAbdali Group, Jordan

Session 2: Key Factors for Urban Tourism Competitiveness (I)

Moderator: Prof. Jafar Jafari, University of Wisconsin-Stout, USA

Mr. Noel Scott, Griffith Institute for Tourism, Australia

Mr. Hoy Yuen Chun, Director Marketing & Sales ASEAN, German National Tourist Office

Ms. Mary Chen, Editor for Challenges Magazine, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Mr. Stuart MendelTun Razak Exchange (TRX), Malaysia

Session 3: Key Factors for Urban Tourism Competitiveness (II)

Moderator and Keynote: Mr. Rafat Ali, SKIFT, USA

Mr. Xu Jing, Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific, UNWTO

Mr. Danny Law Heng Kiang, State Tourism Development and Culture Committee Penang, Malaysia

Mr. Ahn Joon Ho, Seoul Metropolitan Government, Republic of Korea

Mr. Li Baochun, World Tourism Cities Federation (WTCF), China 

Mr. Craig Astridge, International Air Transport Association (IATA)

Session 4: Success Stories on Urban Tourism Performance

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

Moderator: Dr. Xiang Feng, Shanghai Normal University, China

Mr. Enver Duminy, Cape Town Tourism, South Africa

Ms. Marcella Gaspardone, Tourism Turin and Provinc, Italy

Ms.Maria Laura Pierini, Tourism Office of Buenos Aires, Argentina

Mr. Hongbin Zhang, Hangzhou Tourism Committee, China

Mr. Masato Takamatsu,  JTB Tourism Research & Consulting Co., Japan

Summary and Conclusions 

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


Session 1: Tourism and the New Urban Agenda

Sharanjit Leyl (BBC News)

Sharanjit Leyl is a Singaporean producer and presenter for BBC World News. She regularly anchors Asia Business Report and Newsday from the BBC's Singapore studio. She is also a reporter and producer on these shows along with World Business Report.

Sharanjit Leyl joined BBC World News in September 2003 and has since reported and presented from places as far afield as Pakistan, Tokyo and London.

Her noteworthy interviews include heads of state ranging from Thailand, Pakistan, the Philippines, New Zealand, and East Timor, former prime ministers of Australia, Malaysia and Singapore, presidents of the World Bank and the IMF, and chief executives and chairpersons from various Fortune 500 companies ranging from Microsoft to Walmart.

Born in Singapore, Sharanjit moved to Washington DC in her teens with her family, where her father was a diplomat. There she earned a degree in both journalism and English literature from The University of Maryland College Park. She then moved to Vancouver, Canada where she completed a Masters degree in English literature at the University of British Columbia which focused on post-colonial writers such as Salman Rushdie.Go to Top

Dr. Joan Clos (UN-Habitat)

Dr. Joan Clos is the Executive Director of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat), at the level of Under Secretary General by the United Nations General Assembly. He has held this office since October 2010. Born in Barcelona, Spain, is a medicine graduate from the Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona (UAB), and specialized in Public Health and Epidemiology at the University of Edinburgh (Scotland).

In addition to his medical background and profession as a medical doctor, Dr. Clos has made a distinguished career in public service and diplomacy. He joined the Barcelona Municipal Government as the Director of Public Health in 1979. As a city councillor between 1983 and 1987, he earned a reputation for improving municipal management and for urban renewal projects, notably managing the renovation of downtown Barcelona’s Ciutat Vella district. From 1990 to 1994, he was the Deputy Mayor in charge of finance and budgeting, playing a key role in preparations for the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona.

Dr. Joan Clos is also widely credited with inspiring far-reaching investment programmes for Barcelona. One of the most ambitious was the “Barcelona@22” programme, which gave the city’s dilapidated industrial zones a facelift. In 2004, one of these newly refurbished neighbourhoods near the old dockyards was chosen as the site for the second gathering of UN-Habitat’s World Urban Forum, the premier global conference on cities.

At the international level, in 1998 Dr. Clos was elected President of Metropolis, the international network of cities. Two years later, he was elected President of the World Association of Cities and Local Authorities (WACLAC). Between 2000 and 2007, he served as the Chairman of the United Nations Advisory Committee of Local Authorities (UNACLA). And between 1997 and 2003, he was member of the Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR).

Dr. Clos received a number of awards, including a gold medal from the Royal Institute of British Architects in 1999 for transforming Barcelona. In 2002, he won the UN-Habitat Scroll of Honour Award for encouraging global cooperation between local authorities and the United Nations. Go to Top

Márcio Favilla (UNWTO)

Marcio Favilla

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

Dr. Ko Koens (Netherlands)

Dr. Ko Koens is Associate Professor at the Academy of Hotel and Facility Management, Breda University of Applied Sciences, The Netherlands, and a Research Fellow at the School of Tourism and Hospitality, University of Johannesburg, South Africa. In addition he heads the urban tourism expert group at the Dutch National Centre of Expertise, Leisure, Tourism, Hospitality (CELTH). He holds an MA in Environmental Studies and an MSc in Social Psychology from Utrecht University and a PhD in Sustainable Tourism from Leeds Beckett University.

The main fields of interest of Dr. Koens are slum tourism, city hospitality, sustainable destination management and governance solutions, with a specific focus on small businesses, entrepreneurship and local economic development in an urban context. He is project manager for the Horizon 2020 funded project 'Smart City Hospitality' (www.scithos.eu) and has actively worked with European cities to find solutions for the issue of overtourism and visitor pressure.

Dr. Koens is editor of the books “Slum Tourism: Poverty, Power and Ethics” and “Tourism and Geographies of Inequality: The New Global Slumming Phenomenon” and has published work on sustainable tourism development in Europe, Africa, Latin America and Asia. .   Go to Top

Rassul Ilimbayev (Kazakhstan)

Rassul Ilimbayev

Born in Karaganda, Kazakhstan, Mr. Rassul Ilimbayev graduated from Karaganda State University in the field of "Marketing in Tourism" and "Jurisprudence”.

He started his career in 2008 in the Ministry of Tourism and Sports of the Republic of Kazakhstan as a specialist of the Regional Development Department. During his assignment there, he defended a number of projects on the pilgrimage tourism development in Southern Kazakhstan, secondary wellness and beach tourism on the Caspian Sea coast, as well as in ethno- and eco-tourism.

Thereafter, he was directly engaged in tourism business in Kazakhstan and, until 2013, was engaged in stock exchange activities, having risen from a trader to a member of the board of directors of JSC "Universal Commodity Exchange Astana"

In 2013, he returned to the tourism development sphere in "Directorate for the preparation and organizing of the International Specialized Exhibition EXPO-2017" LLP under the Mayor`s Office of Astana. A number of infrastructural and social projects were implemented under his direction in the City of Astana (bike sharing system, tourist navigation, etc.).

Now, he is a Head of International Cooperation and MICE Tourism Department in Astana Convention Bureau of the Mayor`s Office of Astana. He is one of the enthusiasts of the business tourism development in Astana and the initiator of the accession of Astana to the ICCA and UNWTO. 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 2013 Akel Biltaji was appointed as Mayor of Greater Amman Municipality (GAM). Finishing his term as Mayor in March 2017, Biltaji was employed by Horizon International Development Ltd. to be named in August 2017 as Chairman to the Abdali Group, an uptown Amman Dynamic Urban Development.

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


Session 2: Key Factors for Urban Tourism Competitiveness (II)

Prof. Jafar Jafari (USA)

Jafar Jafari is professor emeritus of  the University of Wisconsin-Stout, Department of Hospitality and Tourism (USA).

He came to this position trained as a cultural anthropologist (PhD, University of Minnesota, USA) and as hotel administration graduate (BS and MS, Cornell University, USA), bringing with him additionally an honorary doctorate from the Universitat de les Illes Balears (Spain).

Jafar’s contributions to the academic community span international boundaries and institutions. He is Visiting Professor of the Universidade do Algarve (Portugal) and the  Universitat de les Illes Balears (Spain) and holds a Lifetime Honorary Professorship of Bundelkhand University.

Furthermore Jafar Jafari is Founding Editor of the Annals of Tourism Research; Chief Editor of the Tourism Social Science Series; Co-editor of Bridging Tourism Theory and Practice and the Encyclopedia of Tourism, Co-Founding Editor of Information Technology & Tourism; Co-Founder of TRINET and Founding President of the International Academy for the Study of Tourism and the Tourism Intelligence Forum.  

He is the recipient of the 2005 UNWTO Ulysses Prize and of Honorary Doctorate (Universitat de les Illes Balears, Spain). Jafari@uwstout.eduGo to Top

Noel Scott (Australia)

Noel Scott, PhD is Professor and Deputy Director, Griffith Institute for Tourism at Griffith University, Gold Coast, Australia. His research interests include the study of tourism experiences, destination governance, management and marketing, and stakeholder organization.

He is a frequent speaker at international academic and industry conferences. He has conducted research projects for the United Nations World Tourism Organisation, Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), Australia Awards Indonesia, Government of Fiji, Tourism and Events Queensland, City of Gold Coast.

He has over 210 academic articles published including 13 books. He has supervised 19 doctoral students to successful completion of their theses. He is on the Editorial Board of 10 journals and a member of the International Association of China Tourism Scholars.

Prior to starting his academic career in 2001, Noel worked as a senior manager in a variety of leading businesses including as Manager Research and Strategic Services at Tourism and Events Queensland. Go to Top

Hoy Yuen Chun (Germany)

Chun Hoy Yuen is Director of the new German National Tourist Office (ASEAN), established in January 2017, in Singapore.

Hoy Yuen was born in Malaysia in 1956. He holds a Bachelor of Technology (Mechanical Engineering) from Loughborough University in UK and a MBA (International Management) from RMIT University in Australia. In his first career, from 1979 to 2011, Hoy Yuen worked in various engineering, technical sales and project management positions in UK, Malaysia, Germany and Singapore. In his second career, from 2011 to 2016, Hoy Yuen used his extensive personal and business knowledge of Germany of the past four decades to found and operate a travel agency in Singapore, focusing on Germany and European destinations.

Now, as Director of GNTO (ASEAN), he is putting his wide-ranging experiences, skills and passion to promote “Destination Germany” in important source markets of a dynamic growth region. Go to Top

Mary Chen (Malaysia)

Mary Chen has been a disability advocate for accessibility and universal design for 30 years.

A media professional, she  has been promoting accessible tourism as an enabler for disability equality and economic empowerment.

As an educator, she has been involved in initiating innovative pilot programmes promoting inclusive community development.Go to Top



Stuart Mendel (Malaysia)

Stuart Mendel is a Managing Director of the Tun Razak Exchange Lifestyle Quarter – a lifestyle destination nestled in the broader Tun Razak Exchange masterplan. The project is to be jointly developed by Lendlease and TRX City Sdn Bhd, and contribute towards Malaysia’s vision of positioning Kuala Lumpur as a global financial hub. In this role, Stuart oversees the strategy, implementation and resources required for a successful delivery.

As a leading international property and infrastructure group that has been operating in Asia for more than 40 years, Lendlease is well placed to see the Tun Razak Exchange Lifestyle Quarter project through to completion, by leveraging its unique integrated model which lends combined expertise across the development, construction and investment disciplines.

Stuart first joined Lendlease’s Asia business in January 2014, as the Managing Director for Project Management & Construction, Asia directing the strategy, growth, operations and resources of the project management and construction business across the region. Prior to that, he was the General Manager of the Retail Strategic Business Unit of Lendlease in Australia. An industry veteran with more than 25 years of experience in the property industry, 23 of which has been with Lendlease in a multitude of roles spanning across a wide spectrum of businesses including Project Management and Construction, Development and the Military Housing Privatization business.

Stuart holds a Bachelor of Architecture degree from the University of Sydney, AustraliaGo to Top

Session 3: Key Factors for Urban Tourism Competitiveness (II)

Rafat Ali (USA)

Rafat is the CEO/founder of Skift, the largest industry intelligence and marketing platform in travel, providing news, information, data and services to all sectors of the world’s largest industry.

Previously, he was the founder/CEO of paidContent and ContentNext, which he sold to UK's Guardian News and Media in 2008, and left in 2010. Prior to that, he was managing editor of Silicon Alley Reporter.

Rafat was the Knight Fellow at Indiana University, where he completed his Masters in Journalism, 1999-2000. Prior to that he completed his BSc in Computer Engineering, from AMU in Aligarh, India.

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Xu Jing (UNWTO)

Mr. Xu Jing is currently Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific at the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) – a position he has occupied since the end of 2003. In addition to his regional responsibilities, as of January 2014, he has been appointed UNWTO’s Director – Executive Secretary of the General Assembly and the Executive Council.

Mr. Xu Jing began his career in tourism at the China National Tourism Administration where he was in charge of the international relations division. He joined UNWTO in 1992 as Officer to the Regional Representation for Asia and the Pacific. Over the years, he coordinated and supervised numerous UNWTO technical cooperation projects and sectoral support missions on subjects of contemporary interest to the tourism community of Asian countries.

In addition to the above, Mr. Xu Jing holds honorary academic positions in a number of universities, in some of which he has lectured on tourism issues of international and regional significance. These include Chinese University of Hong Kong, University of Suzhou, Sun Yat-sen University, Shanghai Institute of Tourism, Hainan University and Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Kyunghee University (Republic of Korea) and University of Balearic Islands (Spain)He is also a senior advisor to the Chinese Municipalities of Guilin and Huangshan.

Mr. Xu Jing holds a Master’s Degree in Tourism Management from the University of Surrey in England and majored in English literature during his undergraduate studies in Beijing Second Foreign Language InstituteGo to Top

Danny Law Heng Kiang (Malaysia)

The Honorable Mr Danny Law Heng Kiang was appointed as the Penang State Minister for Tourism in 2008. With previous experience in banking, Mr Law has always been passionate in politics and social justice.

In 1995, Mr Law was appointed as the Democratic Action Party State Committee Leader and in 2004, he was appointed as as the Democratic Action Party State Secretary. In 2008, he was elected as the Penang State Assemblyman of Batu Lanchang Constituency and appointed as the Penang State Executive Councilor for Tourism Development and Culture

Mr Law has spearheaded various events in Penang. One of the most notable events is the Penang Bridge International Marathon which was named by the Malaysia Book of Records as the “Largest Marathon in Malaysia” for 4 consecutive years. In year 2014, there were 65,000 runners and was also named in the Guinness World Records for the“Longest Bridge Marathon”.

During his current tenure as Penang State EXCO for Tourism Development, Penang has received many international awards and recognition including recently being listed as one of the 17 Best Places To Visit In 2017 by CNN. Moreover, Traveller Australia listed Penang's Gurney Drive as one of the 25 Best Streets Around the World for Tourists to Visit Before You Die in 2017 Go to Top

Ahn Joon Ho (Republic of Korea)

As the Director-General of Tourism & Sports Bureau of Seoul Metropolitan Government (SMG) as of 2017, Ahn Joon Ho strives to create a healthy and happy Seoul by revitalizing Seoul’s economy and promoting public sports. While implementing external marketing activities to attract foreign tourists with global mind-set, he has established community-inclusive tourism and sports policies by promoting the MICE industry and public-private cooperation.

Since the start of his career in public service in 1988, he has been serving Seoul citizens for 29 years. He served in various fields of government affairs as a deputy director from 1988 to 2000. From 1995 to 1998, he strived to strengthen relations between Seoul and other international cities. He was involved in many major tasks after being promoted to Director of SMG in 2000; of many different divisions such as financial analysis, policy evaluation, organization management, financial management and city competitiveness strategy planning.

In 2002, Mr. Ahn participated in the Cheonggyecheon Stream Restoration Project, which was later renamed to High Urban Renaissance Project, and demolished elevated highways and restored the downtown areas of Seoul. In 2008, he contributed to establishing Seoul Foreign School, called Dulwich College Seoul to support education of foreign residents in Seoul.

In addition, He was a visiting researcher at Georgetown University in Washington D.C from 2009 to 2011. He was appointed as the Director-General of the Tourism & Sports Bureau SMG in 2017, after being appointed as a spokesperson for the SMG in 2014 and the President of Seoul Human Resource Development Center in 2015. He earned a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from the University of Southern California and a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and International Studies at Yonsei University in Seoul. Go to Top

Li Baochun (China)

Mr. Li Baochun had been engaged in scientific research as an engineer for 6 years. He worked in Macao from 1998 to 2005 and served as Division Director of the Economic Affairs Department, Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government in Macao SAR.

From 2005 to 2013, he acted as director in many different departments of Foreign Affairs Office of People’s Government of Beijing Municipality. Since 2013, he has been working as Deputy Secretary-General of the World Tourism Cities Federation (WTCF). Li has original views of financial research and published the English version of Investment in China--Opportunities in Private Equity and Venture Capital in 2003. He was an independent director of a listed company in HKEX.  www.wtcf.org.cn Go to Top

Craig Astridge (IATA)

Craig Astridge is the Regional Head, Asia Pacific for Marketing and Commercial Services at the International Air Transport Association (IATA). IATA is the global airlines association covering over 240 airlines. IATA’s mission is to lead, represent and serve the airline industry.

Craig is responsible for managing the commercial operations of IATA in Asia Pacific and is based in Singapore. Prior to joining IATA in 2010, Craig held senior roles for Singapore Airlines in the Asia/Pacific region, based in New Zealand, Singapore and Australia.

Craig was educated in New Zealand and holds a Division One First Class Honors Degree in Business from Massey University.


Session 4: Success Stories on Urban Tourism Performance

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

Dr. Xiang Feng (China)

In 2002, Dr. Xiang FENG graduated from Shanghai Jiaotong University and got a bachelor degree in Public Administration. In 2003, she got the master degree in Urban Management from School of Economics, Erasmus University Rotterdam. In 2011, she got the PhD Degree in Social Science from Erasmus University Rotterdam, with the thesis title 'Regional Tourism Cooperation' and 'PPP and Governance theory' as the major theoretical concerns.

Dr. Xiang FENG has been working at Shanghai Institute of Tourism, Shanghai Normal University since 2003. In 2014, she was entitled by China National Tourism Administration as 'National Young Tourism Expert'. Her fields of academic research interest lie in international tourism marketing, destination attractiveness, inbound tourism and urban management.

Besides academic work, Dr. Xiang FENG has been working as tourism planner/consultant for Chinese tourism destinations for years. Major clients include Shanghai Tourism Bureau, Zhejiang Provincial Tourism Bureau, Hangzhou Tourism Committee, Nanjing Tourism Committee, etc. Projects include conceptual city tourism development plan, city tourism plan, master plan of city to attract more international tourists, action plan to develop tourism destination, international marketing plan, marketing strategy, HR development plan of city tourism, etc.

In addition, Dr. Xiang FENG is the director of EURICUR-Shanghai (European Institute for Comparative Urban Research) and the director of Global Tourism Think Tank, the research platform set up by Shanghai Normal University China and CELTH the Netherlands.Go to Top

Enver Duminy (South Africa)

Enver Duminy acquired his B.Sc. Degree in Computer Science and Mathematical Statistics from the University of the Western Cape in South Africa and is a qualified Microsoft Certified Professional and IBM Solutions Provider. Duminy continues to study and is currently busy with his MBA through the Management College of South Africa.

He started out his career working in the Information Technology departments of companies like IBM, Eskom and Nedbank and has worked as the Head of Operations at Integer Financial Services. In January 2010, a passion-driven career change saw Duminy join Cape Town Tourism as the Executive Manager of Tourism Services whereafter he was appointed as CEO in August 2013.

To date Duminy has been involved in various ground-breaking tourism projects which include: Leading the Tourism Services team to provide successful visitor and industry services for the 2010 FIFA World Cup; Pioneering the first ever Responsible Pricing policy for the tourism industry in Cape Town, ensuring that the industry remains competitive and offers value for money; Initiating Cape Town Tourism’s partnership of the global movement The Code - in order to address child exploitation in the tourism industry; Implementing the first ever integrated management system in a tourism organisation; Participating in Safety Forums to pro-actively collaborate with industry role-players to address and find solutions to security challenges in Cape Town; Conceptualising the first Mobile Visitor Information Vehicle in Africa, where visitors can make bookings, buy tickets and get information, powered by solar panels.

He was appointed to the Board of Tourism Grading Council of South Africa and to the Board of South African Tourism. Duminy’s current focus as CEO of Cape Town Tourism is to work alongside his team and the stakeholders of Cape Town Tourism (including more than a thousand signed-up members), to find ways to address seasonality in Cape Town by combining innovation and agility. He is passionate about Cape Town, not only because it is his home town, but because of its blend of natural beauty, interesting history and diverse cultures. His vision is to peel back the layers that make Cape Town what it is today - a thriving metropolis at the tipping point of the African continent , recognised as a global challenger through tourism. Duminy lives in the Northern Suburbs of Cape Town with his wife Karen and their daughter Grace. [Follow Enver on Twitter @enverduminy].Go to Top

Marcella Gaspardone (Italy)

Marcella Gaspardone has worked in the sector of tourism all her life. She started her career at Club Méditerranée which she left for Francorosso some years later (one the of the most important Tour Operator in Italy now Alpitour Group Spa)

She was the managing director of Torino Convention Bureau from 2003 to 2010, she was nominated president of Meet in Italy (the association of Italian meeting destinations) in 2006.

After the merger between Torino Convention Bureau and Turismo Torino e Provincia she has become the Marketing, PR and Convention Bureau Manager of Turismo Torino e Provincia (the tourist board of the city of Torino and its metropolitan area ).

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Maria Laura Pierini (Argentina)

María Laura Pierini graduated from the Universidad del Salvador, Buenos Aires with a technical degree in tourism. After finishing her studies she started her professional career in the National Ministry of Tourism. In 2003 she accepted an assignment as Tourism Director in Trevelin, a city in the Argentinian part of Patagonia, which she held for 5 years.

Later she joined the Old Patagonian Express Reactivation Project as main counselor before serving as external trainer for the National Ministry of Tourism covering the topic of “tourist identity in new destinations” and collaborating in different projects as a consultant until 2012.

In 2013 she joined the Buenos Aires Tourism Board as coordinator for the Brazilian and Uruguayan markets. Currently she is the Operational Manager for Capacity Building for the entity in charge of tourism management in the Argentinian capital. Go to Top

Hongbin Zhang (China)

Mr. Zhang Hongbin, is the director of the Hangzhou Tourism Commission in China. Mr. Zhang has gathered a rich experience in the tourism industry, and he has been highly recognized by the sector. He is a scenic management expert, who has served as the person in charge of China Dinosaur Park, Hangzhou Xixi Wetland Park and Hangzhou West Lake. Now the three touristic site are among China's 5A-level scenic spots, and Hangzhou West Lake is listed as the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site.

He is also a cultur and art expert, served as the person in charge of the China Geological Museum Changzhou Branch, the China Dinosaur Museum and the China Wetland Museum. He was in charge of the cultural relics in Hangzhou, and has a certain influence on China's cultural and cultural circles. Moreover, he is also a government official with a lot of tourism management experience, and has unique insights and experiences on leisure travel, global tourism and international tourism.Go to Top

Masato Takamatsu (Japan)

Masato Takamatsu graduated from University of Tokyo in 1982 with Bachelor of Arts in Pedagogy (Education Method). Upon graduation, he joined the leading Japanese travel company, “JTB” and served various capacities in group sales, sales promotion, incentive travel, corporate planning, information technology and human resources. Mr. Takamatsu is a co-founder of Japan Tourism Marketing Co. (currently JTB Tourism Research & Consulting Co.), JTB’s subsidiary specializing in research and consulting services. Being the Managing Director and Chief Research Officer, he oversees research projects and offers consulting service, including the recent UNWTO/WTCF City Tourism Performance Research project for Tokyo and Sapporo.

A destination marketing and tourism crisis management expert, Mr. Takamatsu is a frequent speaker at international conferences and seminars including World Travel & Tourism Council Global Summit (2012), the 2nd International Integration of Tourism and Emergency Management Forum (2012), Industry Leaders & Educators Engagement Symposium (2015), the 3rd World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (2015) and PATA New Tourism Frontiers Forum 2015. He also serves as the chief moderator for Asian Tourism Leaders Forum 2016 and 2017. Most recently, he made a presentation on City Cluster Development and Tourism Development in Tokyo at the Global Tourism Economic Forum 2017 in Macau. Concurrently, he is a lecturer for Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA)’s Destination Marketing and Crisis Management Seminar for Ministry of Tourism officers around the world.

Mr. Takamatsu is one of the UNWTO Tourism Barometer Panel of Tourism Experts, an advisory member of The World Travel & Tourism Council, a Conseil Consultant of International for Atout France, and an Expert Committee member of World Tourism Cities Federation. He is also a visiting professor of University of Tokyo and Toyo University, and gives lectures on tourism development, strategic destination marketing and risk management in travel and tourism sector. Go to Top

Closing Keynote and Conlusions

Esencan Terzibasoglu (UNWTO )

See here.