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Hon. Minister Didier Dogley
Minister of Tourism, Civil Aviation and Marines, Seychelles

Didier Dogley was born in 1964 and was educated in Seychelles. He successfully completed his studies at the University of Applied Sciences Erfurt, in Germany and Reading University, United Kingdom. Later he obtained a Diploma in Management at the Seychelles Institute of Management, now University of Seychelles.

Since 1989 he has been working in the Ministry of Environment. He has held and served in several key posts including Director General for Nature Conservation and Principal Secretary of Environment. Didier was chairperson of the National Planning Authority, Waste and Landscape management Agency and the National Parks Committee. Furthermore he served on several boards of national importance such as the Seychelles Tourism Board, the Island Development Company.

He was the Founding Chairman of the Non-government Organisation called Plant Conservation Action Group; a botanical association, which seeks to promote the conservation and protection of the endemic and indigenous flora of Seychelles.

He played an instrumental role in implementing the Seychelles debt swap for conservation and climate adaptation and the Seychelles Marine Spatial Plan.

Ms. Elcia Grandcourt
Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture,Ghana

Experienced Regional Program Director with a demonstrated history of working in the international trade and development industry. Skilled in Sustainable Development, Front Office, Travel Planning, Business Travel, and Incentive Travel. Strong business development professional graduated from Singapore Hotel and Tourism Education Centre (SHATEC).

Kaddu Kiwe Sebunya
Chief Executive Officer of African Wildlife Foundation (AWF), Kenya.

Mr. Kaddu Kiwe Sebunya is the Chief Executive Officer of African Wildlife Foundation (AWF). He has over 20 years’ experience in conservation at grassroots, national and regional levels in the USA, Africa, and Europe.

Kaddu has worked with Oxfam UK, the World Conservation Union – IUCN, USA Peace Corps, Conservation International, and Solimar International.

Kaddu believes conserving Africa’s wildlife is too important and too urgent to be left to the West alone. He is concerned that big African voices leading the fight against the destruction of habitat and wildlife today are few, arguing that it is time the African elite stepped forward. “We need their voices and networks to build a truly authentic African voice against the destruction of our natural wildlife heritage. It’s time to re-imagine the conservation narrative,” he says.

Working with leaders in business, politics, civil society, policy, international development and education as well as the youth, Kaddu is building a global coalition for conservation to protect Africa’s natural capital for posterity. He sees conservation as a social, economic, security and health question requiring new partnerships and multi-sectoral strategies for the people and wildlife to benefit.

Kaddu is a member of the China-Africa Wildlife Conservation Council, a group of civil society and business leaders convened by the African Wildlife Foundation and the Aspen Institute to serve as a people-to-people platform for supporting China-Africa cooperation on wildlife and wildlands conservation, sustainable economic development, and governance. He is also a member of the Club of Rome and contributes frequently to newspapers in Africa, Europe and the USA.

Kaddu has a Bachelor’s degree in Social Sciences and two Master’s degrees: An MA in Law, Policy and Diplomacy from The Fletcher School, Tufts University, USA; and an MSc in Sustainable Resource Management and Policy (Imperial – Wye College, University of London).

David Sand
CEO and founder of UWIN IWIN (Pty) Ltd. South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, India and London

David Sand is the CEO and founder of UWIN IWIN (Pty) Ltd -1994, with offices and operations in South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, India and London.

A global motivational event and incentive travel expert, having travelled, worked and consulted to a large number of destinations and global corporate accounts. David served as the global President for the society for incentive travel excellence in 2013 and past President of the South African chapter of SITE.

Besides his role as CEO, David serves as Chairman of the EVINTRA advisory board. EVINTRA provides an ever-growing global MICE and Tourism directory which spans over 180 countries, comprised of 100.000+ MICE Industry professionals, including 22.000+ buyers. Aiming to drive digital revolution in the MICE and Tourism industry, a one of a kind directory where buyers and suppliers from around the world can find each other directly. www.evintra.com

B.Com graduate from Rhodes University with a post graduate qualification in Labour Economics and Law (DPLR) from UNISA Business Leadership School.
David is also honoured to be a Trustee of The President’s Award in South Africa a full member of the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award for Young People. The International Award Foundation oversees the Award Programme in over 140 countries globally, with 25 countries in Africa.
Recently, David has also been appointed to the Advisory Board for Rwanda Convention Bureau (RCB) led by H. E Paul Kagame to guide and approve strategic priorities for Rwanda’s MICE sector, approve key investment decisions or projects and ensure that the organisation plays a key role in transforming the MICE Tourism into a vibrant industry contributor to the economic development of the country.
David’s high energy, critical thinking, entrepreneurial and future focused approach to business always brings added value to conversations he is involved in.

Arrey Obenson
Secretary General, Junior Chamber International, USA

Arrey Obenson serves as JCI Secretary General and comes to this position after serving as a JCI World Headquarters team member since February 2002. He has occupied various positions including Director for Africa and the Middle East, Executive Director for Growth and Development and Deputy Secretary General.
As JCI Secretary General, Obenson is the chief administrative officer leading the implementation of the organization’s overall strategy and supervises a team in accomplishing the mission of the organization across the world. Obenson also works in collaboration with like-minded organizations including JCI partners, such as the United Nations and its Agencies, the International Chamber of Commerce, other non- governmental organizations and multinational corporations.

Obenson actively engages actors from all sectors of society to develop resources that create opportunities to empower young people to create positive change in their communities. Obenson is a motivating and engaging speaker; he has spoken to audiences of varying sizes in nearly 100 countries. 

Prior to joining the JCI World Headquarters team, Obenson served as an Associate in a legal firm in Cameroon. He is a Barrister of Law and holds a Master of Law degree from Washington University in Saint Louis, United States. He lives in O’Fallon, Missouri, USA with his wife and two children.

Nelly Mukazayire
Chief Executive Officer, Rwanda Convention Bureau

Nelly Mukazayire is a Rwandan economist and public administrator, who serves as the Chief Executive Officer of the Rwanda Convention Bureau, a division of the Rwanda Development Board. Before that, she served as the Deputy Chief of Staff in the Office of the President of Rwanda.

Prof. Marina Novelli (PhD)
Professor of Tourism and International Development and Responsible Futures’ Academic Lead at the University of Brighton, UK

With a background in economics and a keen interest in international development issues, Marina is an internationally renowned Tourism and International Development expert and an established academic based at the University of Brighton (UK), where she is also academic lead for the Responsible Futures’ Research and Enterprise Agenda 

A native of Italy and African by ‘professional adoption’, she has written and advised extensively in the field of international tourism policy, planning, development and management in several African destinations – Botswana, Burundi, The Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zimbabwe. She has advised on a number of projects funded by The World Bank Group, the EU, the UN, the Commonwealth Secretariat, National Ministries and Tourism Boards, Regional Development Agencies and NGOs. 

Her work has demonstrated to have impact far beyond tourism by contributing to more effective economic growth, improved environments and more inclusive societies. Her most recent 2016 volume Tourism and Development in Sub-Sahara Africa: Contemporary Issues and Local Realities (Oxford: Routledge) conveys her extensive empirically grounded research and consultancy engagements and collaborations in some 15 Sub-Sahara Africa destinations.

She is currently collaborating with Emmanuel A. Adu-Ampong and Manuel A. Ribeiro in the editing of the Routledge Handbook of Tourism in Africa, a collection of some 40 chapters authored by academics and practitioners primarily from the African continent, which will be published in 2019.

Akwasi Agyeman
CEO, Ghana Tourism Authority

Akwasi Agyeman, is the CEO of the Ghana Tourism Authority, the lead Public Service Agency in charge of regulating tourism in Ghana through marketing and promotion, licensing and classification of tourism facilities and services, investments, research and development. Prior to his appointment in January 2017, he was a shareholding partner of Global Media Alliance, a Media Consultancy and broadcasting company. As the Managing Director of its broadcasting operations, he was in charge of one TV Station and four radio stations. Until recently, he was the President of the Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association (GIBA).
He holds an MBA in Marketing and Information Systems from Tulane University in Louisiana (2003), USA – an MBA Merit Scholarship Recipient. He also holds a Bachelors degree in Social Sciences (1993) and a Masters in Public Administration (MPA -1996) from the University of Ghana.

He has over 15 years’ experience in Project Management, Crisis Communications, PR and Media Relations, Banking, and Relationship Management across Africa and has worked in senior level capacities with Ecobank, Merchant Bank, Stanbic Bank in South Africa. Prior to joining GMA as a founding partner in Ghana, Akwasi was a Business Analyst for Entergy Inc. in New Orleans, USA.

Akwasi was recently awarded at the Radio and TV Personality awards for his outstanding contribution to Media Excellence in Ghana. He is a devout Christian and a devoted family man with three children.

Gillian Saunders
Advisor to South Africa Minister and Independent Consultant

Gillian Saunders, Deputy CEO, BDO (Previously Grant Thornton) and Head of Advisory Gillian has more than 25 years’ consulting experience and carries out market feasibility studies, financial viability assessments, macro research and economic impact assessments, IT consulting, valuations, strategic management consulting, marketing strategies and other general market research. 

Gillian also facilitates strategic planning workshops, as well as provides analysis and recommendations to support the strategic plans and initiatives of her clients. Gillian is also the Chairperson of the Board of the University of Johannesburg’s School of Tourism & Hospitality.

Judy Kepher-Gona
Lead at Sustainable Travel and Tourism Agenda (STTA),Kenya

Judy has over 20 years’ experience in Sustainable Tourism with significant experience in project management, community development, conservation enterprise, community-based tourism, certification and sustainable tourism assessment. This includes 10 years as CEO of Ecotourism Kenya, and 10 years of practical experience working with community wildlife conservancies in Masai Mara Kenya.

Her work in Masai Mara involved negotiating with landowners for formation of conservancies, establishing value of conserved areas, agreeing on and designing resettlement and benefit sharing schemes and building capacity of landowner boards to effectively oversee and own the transition, rebuilding / restoration of lives. The lessons drawn from work in conservancies in Mara contributed significantly to policy revisions that led to recognition of conservancies, as CCAs in conservation law in Kenya. This opened a new chapter in direct community engagement in tourism and wildlife conservation.

Amanda Kotze-Nhlapo
Chief Convention Bureau Officer, South Africa Tourism

Mrs Amanda Kotze-Nlapo is the Chief Convention Bureau Officer of the South African National Convention Bureau (SANCB) and was appointed in November 2011.

Mrs Kotze-Nhlapo joined South African Tourism following a successful tenure at the Cape Town and Western Cape Convention Bureau where she held held the position of head of the Bureau for six years. Amanda has 20 years of experience in the industry.

Dr. Kobby Mensah
Tourism and Digital Marketing Expert, University of Ghana Business School

Judy has over 20 years’ experience in Sustainable Tourism with significant experience in project management, community development, conservation enterprise, community-based tourism, certification and sustainable tourism assessment. This includes 10 years as CEO of Ecotourism Kenya, and 10 years of practical experience working with community wildlife conservancies in Masai Mara Kenya.

Her work in Masai Mara involved negotiating with landowners for formation of conservancies, establishing value of conserved areas, agreeing on and designing resettlement and benefit sharing schemes and building capacity of landowner boards to effectively oversee and own the transition, rebuilding / restoration of lives. The lessons drawn from work in conservancies in Mara contributed significantly to policy revisions that led to recognition of conservancies, as CCAs in conservation law in Kenya. This opened a new chapter in direct community engagement in tourism and wildlife conservation.

Kagiso Dumasi
Commercial Manager, BDC Travel
Darryl Erasmus
Chief Quality Assurance Officer for South African Tourism

Tourism and Hospitality sector specialist, Darryl Erasmus, was appointed in September 2015 as Chief Quality Assurance Officer for South African Tourism. Darryl who exhibits a profound understanding of customer and guest experience, customer engagement, loyalty and partnerships is responsible for executive oversight of the Tourism Grading Council, Brand Experience, Visitor Experience and Global Trade functions for South African Tourism.

Darryl, holds a Bachelor of Commerce Degree majoring in Marketing and Business Strategies and completed the Global Executive Development Programme with the Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS) in 2016.  He has considerable commercial experience in sales, marketing and communications in the B2B hospitality and tourism, technology and financial services environment with emphasis on channel and distribution management.

He is well known to the sector after spending a number of years in a myriad of operational, sales and marketing roles with large international hospitality brands.  He has also led marketing and corporate communications efforts across Africa for the Travel Commerce Platform, Travelport. 

His role as Chief Quality Assurance Officer for South African Tourism is focused on continuously improving quality standards by supporting and empowering the thousands of graded establishments across the country, ensuring destination South Africa is positioned as a diverse, authentic and quality destination through all South African Tourism’s experiential marketing efforts and using private and public sector partnerships with valued industry stakeholders, to improve overall visitor experience to South Africa as a support of the of overarching South African Tourism strategies.

Darryl is also a recipient of CEO Global Award – Titans: Building Nations Awards in a number of regions.  Country Winner (South Africa), Regional Winner (SADC) and Continental Winner (Africa) in the Government: Employed Official Sector in 2018.

Christelle Grohmann
Director, BDO, South Africa

Christelle has more than 23 years’ consulting experience and carries out and heads project teams for macro research, economic impact assessments, valuations, marketing and organisational strategies, market feasibility studies, financial viability assessments, business case assessments and transaction advisory assignments. 

Christelle has also facilitated numerous workshops and large meetings and is proficient in using a range of facilitation approaches and tools

Sandile Chipunza
IATA’s Manager, Advocacy & Strategic Relations, Africa

Sandile Chipunza is IATA’s Manager, Advocacy & Strategic Relations, Africa and is based in Johannesburg, South Africa.

His responsibilities include ensuring that IATA’s members’ priorities and needs are met. This function contributes to Aviation playing its critical role as a catalyst for economic & social development ensuring that the industry connects and enriches the world.

Central to this role is Advocacy and of critical importance, advocating for the value and benefits that Aviation brings to the African Continent and the Global economy at large. In addition, working with all Member Airlines and Aviation stakeholders in the quest for a more secure and safe industry through the implementation of the IATA safety standards, he contributes expertise in Industry solutions that directly support sustainable commercial and business planning strategies and expertise to Aviation.

Prior to taking up the role of Manager, Advocacy & Strategic Relations, Africa, Sandile was an Aviation Solutions Manager for Southern Africa and was previously with Airlink as a Regional Manager – Africa for seven (7) years after spending seven (7) years with SAA, helping set up new SAA managed operations in Zimbabwe and Zambia.

Sandile holds a Bachelor of Commerce Degree in Managements from the University of South Africa and also holds Diplomas with IATA.

Xavier Masule
Interim Chief Executive Officer Air Namibia

Xavier is the interim CEO and holds B. Comm (Accounting) and MBA degrees, is a seasoned professional with over 19 years of aviation industry experience and is certified and recognized by IATA as an Aviation Management Professional.

Sibabalwe Peter
Regional Sales Manager, Minor Hotels Africa

Sibabalwe (Siba) Peter is the regional sales manager at Minor Hotels Africa. He is a versatile hospitality professional responsible for selling beautiful holiday destinations as well as meetings and events hotels in Southern Africa to corporate clients.


He is inspired by his parents who taught him from a young age to always have a positive outlook on life.  His love for meeting new people, exploring foreign countries and cultures has led him to travel to countries such as Lesotho, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia, Mozambique, Kenya, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Swaziland, Ethiopia and Tanzania and he hopes to travel to even more countries to show off to the world what Africa has to offer.


Siba’s personable and professional attitude balances easy-going optimism and a fresh perspective with capable, results-driven skills and innovative solutions to any challenge. He has mastered the ability to work on multiple projects while doing his best to meet the sometimes-demanding requests from his clients, but it is challenges like this that make him thrive and love what he does.

Kwakye Donkor
Chief Executive Officer of Africa Tourism Partners, South Africa

Kwakye Donkor is Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Africa Tourism Partners. He is also a Director of African Institute of Technology and Entrepreneurship (AITE) and the Founder of Africa Tourism Leadership Forum. He has over 25 years combined experience in Research, Strategic Marketing, Brand Management, Business Development, Customer and Stakeholder Relationship Management and Corporate communications in a wide range of environment.

Prior to becoming the CEO of Africa Tourism Partners, Kwakye was the Marketing and Communications Director of the Regional Tourism Organization of Southern Africa (RETOSA) from 2009 to March 2017. He also worked as an Executive Marketing Director of Fancourt, one of the leading golf resorts in the world from 2002 to 2009, National Marketing and Communications Manager at Provident Financial (UK and South Africa), African Bank Investment Ltd (ABIL). He is guest lecturer at Tshwane University of Technology, Business School in South Africa. He is actively involved in Brand Africa’s equity enhancement.

He is an award winning Chartered Marketer and has spoken at numerous UNWTO and International including UNWTO, SADC, EU, World Bank, GIZ, JICA, ECOWAS, International Tourism Safety and Security Conference and NDT and SAT Tourism Conferences, Events and Workshop, most which he was the key note speaker.

Lee Anne Bacc
Director, BDO, South Africa

Lee-Anne Bac is a Director at BDO (Previously Grant Thornton) Johannesburg with more than 20 years experience consulting to clients in the tourism, hospitality, leisure and property sectors in South Africa and the rest of Africa.  Lee-Anne’s consulting experience includes strategic planning, market and financial feasibility studies, financial evaluations, business valuations, economic impact studies, socio-economic impact studies, market research and demand assessments and strategic management consulting.

Lee-Anne holds a BSc degree in Microbiology and Zoology from the University of the Witwatersrand and an MBA degree from the University of Cape Town.  She joined Grant Thornton in 1997 as a Senior Consultant and was appointed as a Director of Grant Thornton in September 1999.

Lee-Anne is regularly quoted in the printed press about issues relating to the tourism, hospitality and property industries and with regard to women in business and she regularly presents at industry functions, workshops and conferences.  

Lee-Anne is passionate about the transformative role of tourism in economies and societies.  As her commitment to enhancing sustainable tourism, Lee-Anne is a Director of Fair Trade Tourism (FTT).

Lee-Anne is a member of the national executive of the Woman’s Property Network in South Africa and was a recipient of the Women’s Property Network “Excellence in Property” award in 2013.  She is also a member of SAMRA – the South African Market Research Association.

Some of the recent assignments Lee-Anne has worked on include:

Miller Matola
CEO, Millvest and Director, Africa Tourism Leadership Forum

Miller has a Bachelor of Arts in Education from the University of the North, Miller Matola began his career as a lecturer at Vista University where he worked for four years. During this time, he obtained a BA Honours (Cum Laude) from the University of Potchefstroom. Thereafter he took on a project management course whilst working as a Project Manager at Technikon in South Africa. He was then awarded a scholarship by the United States Agency, for International development, to travel to the US amongst others as part of the USAID South Africa- Namibia Institute. Upon his return to South Africa in 1996, Miller was assigned to design a tourism course, which fueled his interest in the tourism sector. Since then he has worked with various organizations in Executive positions in the tourism and hospitality industry, including working with the Department of Tourism, Tourism KwaZulu-Natal Wildlife KZN, Tourism Grading Council of SA, Durban Chamber of Commerce and the International Convention Center Durban, amongst others.

Jabulani Debedu
Senior Consultant, Strategic & Development Advisory, BDO, South Africa

I left my hometown of Kimberley and moved to Johannesburg, beset by fears that there was no meaningful future for me in my place of birth. I ventured out to study international relations and politics at Wits University. I then studied business (Wits Business School) while working as an Analyst. Now I work as a Management Consultant during the week and seat on the Executive Committee of IPFA’s Future Leaders Network. On weekends, I can be found on a hiking trail and/or training hard in preparation for the Comrades Marathon.

I am a versatile professional with strong analytical skills and  lateral thinker and very resourceful in discovering orthodox/unorthodox solutions for complicated problem scenarios.

Thomas Müller
Founder, Rainmaker Digital, Namibia and South Africa

Thomas lives in Southern Africa for 10 years, deeply involved in the African Hospitality and Tourism Industry and coaching and mentoring entrepreneurs. As General Manager Marketing & IT he established a Hotel Management company, turned around two hotels and has been part of building the new Strand Hotel Swakopmund and the Chobe Water Villas before he started rainmaker in 2016 as an African TravelTech company. Thomas lived and worked in 8 countries when he was working with TUI and Thomas Cook. Thomas has 36 years of experience in IT, Software Development, Systems Integration, Consulting and Business Development. He has been honoured with many Awards for his technology inventions and their business impact.

Prof. Dr. Wolfgang H. Thome
Publisher, ATC News, East Africa

Prof. Dr. Wolfgang H. Thome is the owner and Publisher of ATC News, Eastern Africa’s largest aviation, tourism, and conservation blog (www.ATCNews.org).

In the past he served as President of the Uganda Tourism Association and was Chairman of the Rhino Fund Uganda during the critical fundraising and set up years of the Ugandan Rhino Sanctuary which today is home to 25 rhinos from the humble beginning of just 4.

He also served his adopted country as Chairman of Uganda’s national hotel and tourism training college, besides holding many other elected and appointed positions from which he has since retired.

Wolfgang has become a regular speaker, panelist and moderator at regional and global events dealing with aviation, hospitality, tourism and conservation issues.

Ernie Heath
Head of the of Tourism Management Department, University of Pretoria

Ernie Heath is an Emeritus Professor at the University of Pretoria, where he was Head of the Department of Tourism Management for fifteen years. He is also a Visiting Professor at the University of Applied Sciences, Bremen, Germany and served on the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Education Council. He has extensive tourism experience, particularly in the spheres of tourism futures, community tourism advancement, attractions and events management, destination marketing and strategic tourism leadership.

Prior to joining the University, he was Director of the Institute for Planning Research at the University of Port Elizabeth and Deputy Executive Director of South African Tourism. He is co-author of fifteen books on tourism; has delivered more than ninety papers, including fifteen keynote addresses, at international conferences and has published more than two hundred research, consultancy and other reports in this field.

Recognition that he has received for his tourism work include the Skål International Presidential Award for his contribution to the development of tourism in South Africa; a Fellowship from the Tourism Society of Britain; the Chairman’s Award from the Indian Ocean Tourism Organization (IOTO) for compiling IOTO’s first strategic plan; a United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Themis Award; a Laureates Award from the University of Pretoria for Innovation in Teaching; a Best Teacher Award from the University of Applied Sciences, Bremen, Germany in 2010 and 2016; a Best PhD Seminar Supervisor Award at the Advances Tourism Marketing Conference, Slovenia, 2011; co-recipient of the Award for the Best Research Paper at the International Conference on Tourism and Events, Belfast, 2012; recipient of an Alumni Achiever Award from the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, 2012; and a Tourism Educators South Africa (TESA) Lifetime Achiever Award, 2018.

Jacinta Nzioka
Director of Marketing, Kenya Tourism & Board

Jacinta is a passionate tourism executive in Kenya’s tourism industry.  She is currently the Director of Marketing at the Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) charged with the responsibility of leading Kenya’s global tourism marketing strategy.  With over 15 years’ experience in Destination Management.  Jacinta has overseen implementation of tourism projects in all the source markets having been a Regional Manager for America, Europe and Emerging Markets since four years ago, when KTB first ventured in the West and East African markets.  She manages a team of product developers and marketers both in Kenya and in the 12 offices globally that KTB has.

During this period Jacinta has been instrumental in achieving recognition of KTB as Africa’s Best Tourism Board 6 years consecutively by the World Travel Awards.  Jacinta’s warm and charismatic demeanor and well known passion for her work earned her a steady rise to the top of the tourism board and is a familiar face in most global events where Kenya tourism is represented.  Within the East African region, Jacinta’s contribution has been under the Joint Tourism Marketing Committee that managed the launch of a single destination brand, developed and implemented the joint strategy and also supported the Rwanda and Uganda tourism board chiefs in formulating their tourism strategies as well as support for the Development of Sustainable Tourism Model in Ethiopia through a DFiD project in 2013.

In her private time, Jacinta supports a project in Masai Mara region that integrates communities and sustainable tourism while advocating for girl’s education as a Trustee at Tepesua Community Based Organization.  She has also been working as a UNESCO volunteer to assist them identify promotable Heritage tourism sites along Africa’s coastline for a joint programme they run with SeaBourne Cruise. Her passion for cultural tourism and sustainable development has seen her participate in various international conferences and forums as speaker, presenter and mentor as well as guest university lecturer in Kenya, Ethiopia and the UK.

Paul Gardiner
CEO, Mantis Collection - Global

Paul Gardiner is the CEO of Mantis Collection (internationally), a hotel group made up of eco-lodges and hotels located on all seven continents. His career began as a game ranger in South Africa in 1994 on his father’s wildlife reserve called Shamwari. Today his responsibility with his team based out of the UK is to grow the Mantis brand beyond just Africa. They have opportunities in the Middle East, Cuba, China, Montenegro, the Swiss Alps, the South of France and the UK that they’re currently exploring. With the world going crazy for glamping and eco experiences they’re well placed to capitalize on the opportunity considering they already have experience in developing, operating and marketing these products so successfully throughout Africa for over 25 years. In recent years Paul has also struck up a relationship with the television personality and adventurer, Bear Grylls. Mantis Media is the creative arm of Mantis Collection and they’re responsible for taking what Bear does so well on television and bringing it to life for kids, adults, corporates etc. Essentially they’re responsible for all Bear’s location based entertainment. They recently partnered with Merlin Entertainments to develop a $22m Bear Grylls Adventure Park in the UK.

Mantis has recently partnered with Accor Hotels, together they have a 50/50 JV. The JV allows Mantis amazing distribution via their new “big brother” and it gives Accor a stronghold in Sub Saharan Africa where Mantis are particularly strong – so it’s a win win for both. Together the JV has already launched the Conservation Community Fund Africa (CCFA) This grant-giving Foundation is registered in South Africa as a non-profit company and has uniquely brought together three internationally admired wildlife conservation organisations as its Founding members: Wilderness Foundation Africa, Tusk Trust and African Parks. The Mantis Accor partnerships intentions are two fold, the one is to further grow and develop the Mantis brand across Africa, and the second is to take the unique Mantis eco lodge DNA model to other amazing parts of the world.

Although Paul is UK based he spends a third of the year in South Africa – he and his father are the driving force behind a new pioneering initiative which they’re launching at their game reserve in South Africa which will see the creation of the first ever Eco Lodge Innovation Hub. Paul has also launched his very own media platform to help spread the word of the amazing work that people from all walks of life are involved in, within the world of conservation and eco-tourism.

See: www.mantiscollection.com & www.pauljgardiner.com

Dr Sue Snyman
Senior Programme Officer Conservation Areas and Species Diversity Programme.
BIOPAMA Coordinator, ESARO International Union for Conservation of Nature
In 2013 Sue received a PhD (Resource Economics) from the University of Cape Town. Having completed coursework at the University of Goteborg in Sweden, the focus of her PhD research measured the socio-economic impact of high-end ecotourism in remote, rural communities adjacent to protected areas, based on over 1,700 community surveys in six southern African countries: Botswana, Malawi, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Sue worked for Wilderness Safaris, a high-end ecotourism operator, from 2008-2018. Prior to that she had over a decade of experience in ecotourism and conservation in southern Africa, including guiding, community development and liaison, camp management and environmental impact assessments as an independent consultant. Other positions include Vice-Chair of the IUCN WCPA Tourism and Protected Areas Specialist Group (TAPASG) and Coordinator of the TAPASG Communities & Heritage Working Group which works on community engagement and benefit-sharing from tourism and protected areas. Sue is currently Senior Programme Officer for the Conservation Areas and Species Programme for the IUCN Eastern and Southern African Regional Office, coordinating the Biodiversity and Protected Areas Management (BIOPAMA) programme in 24 African countries.
Craig Newman
President, Global Association of the Exhibition Industry (UFI) & CEO, Johannesburg Expo Centre.
With his unique ability to assess each situation and act without delay, Craig Newman has successfully turned the Johannesburg Expo Centre (JEC) into a highly profitable business, year on year. In June 2016, Craig celebrated 10 years of service as Chief Executive Officer. With over 25 years of industry experience, Craig has made a phenomenal contribution to the South African exhibitions, conferences and events industry. Since 1991, he has occupied leadership positions in some of South Africa’s leading MICE industry companies that included Forge Ahead Exhibitions, TML Reed Exhibitions, Oasys Innovations, Balanced Solutions and Kagiso Exhibitions and Events. From the early stages of his career, Craig showed that he could lead with confidence, insight and integrity. Craig became the major driving force behind the JEC with his exceptional vision and his confidence to make things happen. His liberal and frank demeanor is complemented by his positive outlook and where some may see challenges, Craig sees opportunities for growth. In 2003 and 2004, Craig served on the board of the Exhibition & Event Association of Southern Africa (EXSA) and as the Venue Forum Chairman of the EXSA Board in 2009. As an active member of the South African exhibitions industry, Craig has developed an enviable understanding of the South African market, as well as the African market and his wealth of knowledge and experience has been tantamount to the excellent turnaround strategy for JEC. In 2014, Craig was elected onto the main Board of Directors at the UFI, the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry and was further appointed onto the UFI Executive Committee. He was later appointed as Vice Chairman of the UFI Middle East Africa Chapter. His most recent achievement is being appointed as President of UFI for 2018, 2019 and 2020. Craig Newman is a respected and admired leader. His friendly approach, together with his fearless attitude makes for a potent combination that is capable of leading the Expo Centre for years to come.
Assia Riccio
CEO and Founder EvolvinWomen, Dubai

Assia is the Founder and CEO of Evolvin’ Women, a socially responsible platform for sourcing female talents in hospitality, differently, aimed at improving the employability of women from developing countries through the provision of necessary resources, networks, education and employment opportunities that would not be otherwise available to them. Her commitment to the SDGs #4, #5 and #8 and her work in the field of equality of opportunity and inclusion through Evolvin’ Women, translated in 2017 into her membership of the UAE task-force for the 7 Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs), a collaboration between the UN Women and the United Nations Global Compact.
As a result of embedding social responsibility in HR practices within the hospitality industry, in 2018 Evolvin’ Women became one of the first microenterprises to join the United Nation Global Compact.
Assia is a member of the Dubai Business Women Council and an Advisory Board Member for Zawadi International for young entrepreneurs in Africa. Assia is the former Group Learning and Development Manager at Jumeirah Restaurant Group (JRG) – Dubai, where she developed the L&D strategy for over 1000 employees working in 42 restaurants. Assia has been recognized as one of the GCC’s Women Leaders of 2017 and received the Women in Leadership Award by CMO ASIA and the Women Super Achiever Awards at the World HRD Congress 2018 for helping hospitality businesses in the Middle East and Africa embed social responsibility in their business practices and become catalysts for equality of opportunity.

Marang Marekimane
Changemaker for SMEs

Marang is the founder of Business Process Mechanics, assisting entrepreneurs to review their business models and automate business processes to build sustainable businesses. In 2018 Marang joined Lean Business South Africa as a Managing Partner – a tech start-up providing an innovative tool to track investments in developing SMEs.
As part of Designathon Works in South Africa, Marang assists entrepreneurs to develop and commercialise innovative products and services. Some of these designathons are with children as young as 7 years old.

She was previously a Management Consultant for banks and insurances companies such
as FNB, Standard Bank and Liberty

Tim Harris
CEO, Wesgro
Tim Harris is the CEO of Wesgro, the Tourism, Trade and Investment Promotion Agency for Cape Town and the Western Cape.Tim previously served as Member of Parliament and Shadow Minister of Finance for the Democratic Alliance (DA). He holds a BA in English Literature and a Masters in Economics from the University of Cape Town. Tim currently sits on the board of the Cape Town Film Studios and BPESA.
Ms Pam Yako
Chairperson, South Africa Tourism & Managing Director of Zenande Leadership Consulting.
Ms Pam Yako is the Managing Director of Zenande Leadership Consulting. She holds a B Com (Rhodes University) and Masters in Business Leadership (UNISA) degrees and has over 20 years’ experience in the public sector. She has worked as a Municipal Manager for Amathole District Municipality, Director-General for the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) and Department of Water Affairs (DWA).
She is a Certified Coach with the Coach Training Alliance and is trained in Enneagram in the narrative tradition, coaching with the Enneagram as well as an accredited Integrative Enneagram Practitioner. She has undergone training with internationally renowned trainers like Dr. David Daniels, Peter O’Hanrahan as well as Dr. Ginger Lapid-Bogda and this has given her an international perspective in the work she does.
As an entrepreneur and a consultant, she has worked with organisations in both the public and private sector and is currently running her own business and this makes her to fully appreciate the challenges and opportunities faced by her clients and work proactively with them in order to achieve long-term sustainable results. Her consulting project repertoire includes project management, facilitation of strategy development processes; offering strategic advice to clients; municipal turnarounds; organisational development, change management, board assessments, team coaching and effectiveness.
Pam is the Chairperson of the South African Tourism Board and has served as a board member of the Eastern Cape Parks and Tourism Agency Board, a public entity in the Eastern Cape where she was a member of the Finance Committee and Investment Committee of the Board. She is the Chairperson of the Seriti Institute a non-profit organization and a WWF-SA board member. She has previously served on the board of Linkd Environmental Services (an environmental consulting company). She is also a member of the Institute of Directors.
Pam is passionate with working with women in leadership positions and these include those in management positions/aspirant or running their own businesses and have for four years hosted an annual woman in leadership conference. In addition, Pam is a keen writer and she writes a monthly blog on pertinent and topical leadership issues (zenandeleadership.wordpress.com).
Dr Neil Midlane
Wilderness Safaris Group Sustainability Manager, Southern Africa
Dr Neil Midlane was appointed as Wilderness Safaris Group Sustainability Manager on 1 April 2019, though his connection to Wilderness goes back to 2010 when he founded and ran the Kafue Lion Project with support from Wilderness and the Wilderness Wildlife Trust. He spent three years in the field working on his thesis, which earned him a PhD in Zoology through the University of Cape Town.

Neil is a member of the African Lion Working Group (an affiliate of the Cat Specialist Group and the Conservation Breeding Specialist Group of the IUCN), the Mozambique Carnivore Working Group and the Transfrontier Specialist Group. He is also a qualified Chartered Accountant (SA) and holds a Masters degree in Environmental Management from the University of Stellenbosch.

Toni Ukachuwu
Publisher and CEO of Aviators Africa, Lagos, Nigeria
Toni Ukachuwu is the Publisher and CEO of Aviators Africa. A media and    Integrated marketing company that services the travel and tourism industry. He also founded Aviators Africa Academy, a social enterprise that seeks to inspire and engage the next generation in aviation and Aerospace in Africa.

Toni is the Aviation Development Director, Africa at AviaDev. A premier route development event dedicated to improving air connectivity to,from and within the African continent. He is The regional manager at African Business Travel Association(ABTA)and partner at Nigeria Travel Week.

Daniel Adidwa
CEO, Tour2.0, South Africa
Mr. Adidwa is a leader who is passionate about entrepreneurship and technology. He takes pleasure in channelling this passion through sourcing innovative solutions, that address current problems within the African continent and taking these solutions to market.

Daniel is a qualified Marketer and attained his BA Degree in Integrated Marketing Communication and a Diploma in Account Management from the AAA School of Advertising. Daniel has worked at various communications agencies, where he worked on various local and international blue chip accounts.

He is passionate about the African continent, its people and the stories behind African communities. He believes that technology can play a large role in getting the world to experience real African Stories. He currently holds the position of CEO of Tour2.0 and former Vice-Chairman of the Regional Tourism Association of Southern Africa (RETOSA) youth steering committee.

His organisation, Tour2.0, has managed to stimulate the cultural and community tourism sector within South Africa and is in the process of expanding within the African continent. Tour2.0 has built a product base of over 70 unique cultural and community tourism experiences within South Africa and is expanding to various territories on the continent.

Elizabeth Twumwaa Sasu
Entrepreneur, Aviationist, IT Administrator, Travel/Tour Consultant, Journalist and a Public Relations Consultant

Elizabeth Twumwaa Sasu is a young lady with high aspirations and ambitions of making a difference in the world. She is an Entrepreneur, Aviationist, IT Administrator, Travel/Tour Consultant, Journalist and a Public Relations Consultant.
She is an experienced Revenue Management Officer with a demonstrated history of working in the airlines/aviation industry. Skilled in Crisis Communications, Event Management, Editing, Journalism, Training, and Media Relations. She is a strong operations professional with a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) focused in Communications (Public Relations) from Ghana Institute of Journalism.
Elizabeth is the CEO of GH-Aviation and Tigerbase Ent, the founder of Efam Modern Montessori School, Co-founder of Aviation College and Professional Studies, The Organizer/Programmes Director & Public Relations Officer of Ghana Association of Aviation Training Organizations (GAATO). The host of “ON THE SPOT” of the Aviation Canteen Show.
With her aim of making a difference in the world, she believes that knowledge is power and for the world to change it is through acquiring knowledge. With this vision, she believes that giving a good and strong education foundation starts from infancy. So she has an educational facility that trains kids from 6 months to adulthood.
Her passion is to bridge the gap between Aviation and Tourism for sustainable socio-economic growth of the country. With this in mind, she created the AviaTour Conference and is a convener of the Aviation Tourism Group. Elizabeth likes to help aspiring aviators understand the industry and decide on the right fields in the industry they want to pursue.
She is currently championing the agenda #bringbackourairlines, which seeks to make our airlines work well and hold accountable for the wellbeing of staff even if it goes defunct. She loves aviation with a passion and hopes to be instrumental in making Ghana an aviation hub in West Africa.

Barry Clemens
Hospitality & Tourism professional

Barry Clemens is a through and through Hospitality & Tourism professional with extensive International experience in the trade.

Recently made major inroads in the tech start up industry in the hospitality industry and has been a speaker at various conferences relating to digitalisation and sustainable tourism.

With a European upbringing, education and hospitality experience; he has made Africa his home since 1995 and has made an impact on the industry

Barry has been at the helm of multinational companies in his field of expertise and has shown extreme business acumen and tenacity in building and developing these companies.

His grounding experience that has brought him through the various stages of employee and management levels gives him the know-how and appreciation of the ground work and importance of the team.

Barry’ entrepreneurial spirit that comes natural, combined with experience and sound business and financial acumen has accumulated to several success’ and achievements such as;

Lilizela Award judge for 5 consecutive years to date (2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 & 2018)
Winner and finalist of several international awards in hospitality for properties under his management
Elected executive member of the DCCI Tourism forum
Proven track record in successfully developing financially distressed business’ into profitable units, whilst improving service delivery.

He recognises the importance of education and transformation in the industries and has a great passion for this, which culminated in projects achieving these goals and assisting communities to develop.

Samantha Annandale
Regional Operations Director, ONOMO Hotels
Samantha Annandale, Regional Operations Director for ONOMO Hotels, one of the hotel chains with the strongest pipeline development on the African continent and an ambition to operate more than 3700 rooms by 2022, has 27 years of hospitality experience in various hospitality models. Samantha has been the forefront of leading innovation and trends and now with ONOMO Hotels fast on track to be the Pan African hotel group of choice for travellers and investors.
Susina Jooste
Director, The Private Hotel School

Susina Jooste is a Director at The Private Hotel School Pty (Ltd), since 2008. She holds a Master’s degree in Education, with research title: A Curriculum Framework for Continuous Professional Development in Hospitality and Culinary Arts. Susina is mainly involved in the academic and business development of the company.

Whereas the majority of public higher educational institutions in South Africa have abandoned programmes in hospitality and tourism management, thus eliminating tuition opportunities in this field of studies, Susina was instrumental in the development, registration and accreditation of five higher education programmes that are currently being offered by The Private Hotel School. Her main focus over the past 10 years was to address the lack of higher education opportunities in the study fields of hospitality, tourism and events management. Susina currently serves on the Accreditation Committee for the Council on Higher Education (CHE).

During 2017, the majority shares in The Private Hotel School (TPHS) was acquired by the AdvTEch group and TPHS is now also included as a brand of the Independent Institute of Education (IIE). TPHS is also a partner school of the American Hospitality Academy – International Hotel Management Schools (AHA-IHMS). Susina is involved internationally as a board member of the American Hospitality Academy and has contributed to the development of the curriculum for AHA-IHMS.

Susina pioneered the implementation of the school subject ‘Hospitality Studies’ and was the chief examiner for 5 years in the Northern Cape Province. She has consulted the Western Cape Education Department and individual schools on the implementation and management of Hospitality Studies.

Since 1998 Susina has been co-ordinating annual workshops for educators and students in Hospitality and Consumer Studies from all provinces of South Africa and in Namibia. She co-ordinated various educational tours, both local and international (Switzerland, France, Italy and Argentina) for student and adult groups.

She has over 35 years educational experience and an enthusiasm to inspire others to grow as professionals and individuals. She has a unique talent of reaching people and of enriching lives. Her commitment to service excellence, consistency of quality, good leadership, managerial abilities and an uncomplicated style are her hallmarks. Motivation and energy are in no short supply with Susina. Taking on challenging projects and delivering without losing sight of the set goals are part of her performance.

Obinna Ekezie
CEO, Wakanow, Nigeria

Obinna Ekezie leads the management team of Wakanow.com Limited. Prior to founding Wakanow, he co-founded ByMobilePhone Ltd, a wireless access service provider to mobile networks in Nigeria. ByMobilePhone Ltd was the exclusive distributor of ESPN and CNN mobile content in Nigeria.

He studied Mechanical Engineering and Business at the University of Maryland. He is also a TQM professional, having completed the IBM Total Quality Management Business Program. As an accomplished professional basketball player, he was drafted into the National Basketball Association (NBA) in 1999 by the Vancouver Grizzlies, and played in the NBA for 5 years. He also played for Redstar Belgrade in Serbia, Lottomatica Roma in Italy and Dynamo Moscow in Russia before retiring in 2007.

Obinna is widely celebrated in various fora as a leading Entrepreneur in Africa, the highpoint being his recognition as the CNBC/ABLA Entrepreneur of the Year for 2015. This recognition is deserving of note as Wakanow is one of the fastest growing online businesses in Nigeria. In five years of its existence, it became Africa’s no 1 full-service online travel agency. Wakanow currently runs her commercial operations in Nigeria, Dubai, Ghana and Kenya. With an eye on a speedy global expansion, Obinna and his team are currently undertaking a large expansion project which will result in stronger footprint across Africa, the UK and USA.

He founded the company with a primarily focus on outbound travel from Nigeria and Ghana to destinations outside Africa such as UK, US and Dubai. But through the years, his vision expanded to also incorporate two different turfs- inbound travel of foreign nationals from Europe, America and Asia into Africa; and secondly Intra-Africa travel. This pursuit is consequent to the birth of ‘Destinations Africa’- a one-stop booking portal for Africa themed holiday with the proposition to showcase the natural beauty and economic potentials of the continent to her natives and the outer world at large.

Mr Ekezie realized that while there are thousands of Africans who would love to travel, most are constrained to limited options because of their inability to pay for their trips at once. Given that there is no formal credit system in most developing countries that would alleviate the effect of this circumstance, Obinna mobilized his team to provide a lasting solution to these travel challenges across Africa with the introduction of Wakanow Pay Small Small (PSS)- a flexible installment payment plan that also gives the traveler as much as 150% savings on their travel expenses. PSS is designed to allow travelers lock down choice travel deals by making only a 25% down payment of the travel cost and paying the balance in convenient installments before the travel date.
Furthermore, as a proof of his doggedness, Mr Ekezie led Wakanow through a fund raising process to secure an investment of $40million from the Carlyle Group signifying a vote of confidence in his visionary leadership and Wakanow’s bright future.

Mr Ekezie is also very passionate about facilitating movements across Africa, not just for holidays but also for the abounding economic potentials within the continent. He is presently leading various discussions with African Governments and Airlines on the trade and investment prospects of traveling within Africa.

With bravery, mental toughness and resilience of a star-athlete, Obinna continues to push forward the frontiers of travel and tourism in Africa and is moving Wakanow on the wings of a very exciting and promising future.

Jeffers Miruka
President and Founder member of the African Society of Association Executives (AfSAE). Nairobi, Kenya

Mr. Jeffers Miruka is the President and Founder member of the African Society of Association Executives (AfSAE). AfSAE is a pan-African professional community of association executives formed in 2015 to serve as the professional society for those within the Association Management profession in Africa. Mr. Miruka is also the Executive Director of the African Association of Agricultural Economists (AAAE), a Nairobi based association of agricultural and development economists with over 3000 members spread globally. Mr. Miruka has over 14 years combined experience in association management and Business Events – meetings, conventions, exhibitions, incentives, corporate, associations, intergovernmental, nonprofits. He has a rich experience in association development, convention bureau management, and is a frequent speaker and contributor to many global publications, media interviews and association forums. Mr. Miruka is currently involved with the government of Kenya, activating the Kenya National Convention Bureau. He is well known internationally in the MICE Business events industry and easily recognized as the pre-eminent African associations ambassador and a leader of the association movement in the continent. Mr. Miruka is a member of the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE), Mr. Miruka has a Master of Science in Global Marketing.

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