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Speaker Details

Speakers

Hon. Minister Catherine Afeku​
Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture,Ghana
Honourable Catherine Abelema Afeku was born at Axim in the Western Region. She obtained a Master of Business Administration from the Keller Graduate School of Management of Devry University in Atlanta, Georgia in the year 2008. Hon. Catherine Afeku is married to Mr. Seth Afeku with whom she has three children. She is a Christian and a Catholic.

Hon. Catherine Afeku has worked with the World Bank and Sitico Petroleum in Kenya, where she served as a Business Development Consultant. She was also employed at the Inlingua School of languages in Brescia, Italy. In the early 2000s she became a Government of Ghana spokesperson for infrastructure under the John Agyekum Kufour administration.

Hon. Catherine Afeku entered Ghanaian politics in the early 2000s during the presidency of His Excellency John Agyekum Kufuor. She was the Government’s Spokesperson for Infrastructure. She contested in the 2008 general election for the Evalue Gwira constituency.

She defeated the incumbent, Kojo Armah of the Convention People’s Party. In the 5th parliament of the 4th Republic of Ghana, she served as a member first of the Road and Transport Committee and then as a Depute Ranking member of the Communications Committee. She later became a member of the Business Committee of Parliament. She lost her re-election bid for parliament in the 2008 general election. Hon. Catherine Afeku again contested the constituency’s seat during the 2016 Parliamentary election where she defeated the incumbent, Kweku Tanikyi Kessie of the National Democratic Congress, to obtained to obtained 14,002 votes out of the 20,179 which represented 52.26% of total votes cast.

In January 2017, His Excellency, Akuffo-Addo, the President of Ghana, nominated her for the position of Minister for Tourism. As Tourism minister, she has embarked on several trips to market the country’s Tourists attractions and potentials. One of which was a trip to The Peoples’ Republic of China in March 2017 where she held meetings with investors and exhibitors to showcase Tourist sites, the Arts and Culture of Ghana.”
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.

The Hon Minister Anil Kumarsingh Gayan
Minister of Tourism, Mauritius

 

The Hon Minister of Tourism Anil Kumarsingh Gayan, laureate of the Cambridge Higher School Certificate Scholarship (Classical Side) of Royal College, Port Louis in 1968, completed his LLB(Hons) at the London School of Economics in 1972. He was then called to the bar and has been practicing as a barrister since 1973. In 1974 he joined the Attorney’s General Chambers as Crown Counsel. He is also holder of a Master’s Degree in LLM with specialization in international law and law of the sea.

 

 He has been member of Bar of England and Wales since 2007 and also member of African Union (AU) Panel of Eminent persons on Hissen Habre in 2008 to 2014. In 2011 he was the Special Adviser to the Comoros on maritime delimitation issues and at the same time Chairman of AU panel on qualifications of AU Commissioners.

 

 It is useful to highlight that from 2008 to 2014 the Hon Minister of Tourism, was lecturing in the field of International Law with special reference to Collective Security at the University de la Reunion.

 

 He was first elected as Member of Parliament in 1982, he then served as Minister of External Affairs, Tourism and Emigration in 1983. For the period 1989 – 1990, he acted as Chairman of the Bar Council. Then in 1991, he was consultant for Geneva based Centre for Human Rights and did consultancy work on Judiciary and Human Rights in Bhutan, Mongolia, Armenia and Togo. The Hon Minister was appointed Senior Counsel by the President, Republic of Mauritius in 1995.

 

 He further pursued in the political arena as Minister Foreign Affairs and Regional Co-operation from 2000 to 2003 and as Minister of Tourism in 2003 to 2004. Following the last general election in 2014, he was appointed as Minister of Health from Dec 2014 to Jan 2017, then as at date as Minister of Tourism.

 

Mr 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.

Ms. Elcia Grandcourt
Director, UNWTO Africa Programme
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).
Mr. Vincent Oparah
Project Manager of the Skills and Employment for Youth Programme of the NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Agency and Advisor on Sustainable Tourism at NEPAD
Mr Vincent Oparah is currently the Project Manager of the Skills and Employment for Youth Programme of the NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Agency, with focus on decent youth employment and entrepreneurship. He is also the Advisor on Sustainable Tourism at NEPAD.

Previously, Mr Oparah was the Fund Manager of the NEPAD Climate Fund. He facilitated the implementation of 22 climate change adaptation projects in 18 African countries between 2014 and 2016. As a result, some of the beneficiaries were accredited, to access funds, through the Green Climate Fund.

He has a Master Degree in Public and Development Management from Wits School of Governance, Johannesburg, South Africa. Mr Oparah volunteers as a mentor at the Mandela Washington Fellowship – Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI).

He has authored and co-authored a few publications on development issues, tourism and environmental policies. Mr Oparah is well travelled within Africa and internationally.
Gillian Saunders
Deputy CEO, Grant Thornton and Head of Advisory, South Africa and Advisor to South Africa Minister of Tourism
Gillian Saunders, Deputy CEO, 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.
Christelle Grohmann
Director, Grant Thornton, 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
Lee Anne Bacc
Director, Grant Thornton, South Africa

Lee-Anne Bac is a Director at 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:

 

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.
Brendon Hart
Sales Director, Marriott International
After spending time in digital advertising and property development, Brendon found his home in hospitality spending 6 years with the Radisson Hotel Group on various projects around Southern Africa including the launch of several new Radisson Blu’s. Brendon’s path then took a turn to the largest hotel company in the world starting the Global Sales Office in South Africa for Marriott International; having just expanded the region to include Sub Saharan Africa and West Africa, the team has grown and the future is bright.
Brendon has recently won the Global Sales Leader of the year for 2018 as well as being a part of the upcoming Presidents Circle Top Achievers trip for excellent results.
You can find Brendon on the weekends trying to become a wine connoisseur in the Franschoek valley or on the golf course attempting to convince his mates he should have turned pro.     
Tes Proos
Founder of Crystal Events Africa and Immediate Past President of SITE Southern Africa
Tes has been in the hotel and hospitality industry for more than 30 years, having started out as a hotel management trainee with the Southern Sun group of hotels in 1985. She spent 5 years at Sandton Sun Hotel before joining the opening team of Gallagher Estate in 1993.
From there her career included a 5 year stint with Sun International and she started working as a DMC since July 2000.

Tes is the owner and founder of Crystal Events Africa which opened in 2008 and also a proud winner of the 2014 Crystal Award for Best Motivational Programme. She served as president of the SITE Southern Africa chapter from 2012 until March 2018.

She served as a hotel grading assessor with the South African Tourism Grading Council and is also a guest lecturer at the Hotel and Tourism Business School of South Africa.

Tes has extensive experience in hotel, operations and event management as well as sales and marketing within the tourism industry. She thoroughly enjoys sharing her knowledge and passion at all levels and consults to the industry on a regular basis.
Dr. Kobby Mensah
(PhD in Journalism, MSc International Marketing, PGDip Marketing)
Dr Mensah is a Lecturer at the Department of Marketing and Entrepreneurship, and the Coordinator of the Marketing and Communications unit, University of Ghana Business School, Legon. He is a leading expert in Communication, Digital Marketing, Financial Services Marketing, Key Account Management, Customer Relationship Management, Brand Management and Political Marketing.

He has trained and consulted for a number of leading companies and organisations in Ghana, including Ghana Institute of Engineering, Association of Ghana Industries, Glico, Coca Cola etc. He was awarded Chartered Marketer status from the same body having fulfilled his Continuous Professional Development (CPD) requirements. Kobby worked as a research officer for the Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) group in Sheffield between 2010-2013, working with Sheffield Council on UK Government policies; worked for multinational companies such as Vodafone UK, T-Mobile UK, Santander and the DSGI Group in marketing, communications and customer management capacities.

In Ghana, Kobby worked for the M&J Travel Group as a Marketing Manager in 1999-2000. Kobby is Chair of the Sales and Marketing Compliance Committee of Accra Brewery Ltd (ABL), an AB InBev Company; Coordinator, Marketing and Communications (UGBS Marcoms); Coordinator, Constitution Dialogue Series, CeDRA/British High Commission (BHC) collaboration. Kobby’s opinion on corporate and political strategies are sought by international and local media brands.
Frank Murangwa
Director of Destination Marketing. Rwanda Convention Bureau
Frank Murangwa is currently the Director of Destination Marketing before this position, he served as the Acting CEO of Rwanda Convention Bureau from January 2016 to November 2017.Mr Murangwa’s core mandate is to drive the growth of Rwanda’s MICE industry. He has experience in tourism marketing and tourism quality assurance. Rwanda Convention Bureau is a destination Marketing Organization that is charged with marketing and promoting Rwanda as a premier MICE Destination.

Mr. Frank Murangwa was voted AFRICA’s MICE ICON 2017 by Street of Gold Foundation. Frank Murangwa has a strong tourism educational background and practical experience in the tourism sector and has also gained significant expertise in developing strategies for tourism destinations.

Graduated in Tourism Management, his marketing skills are reinforced by a strong tourism background. Frank Murangwa holds a Bachelor of Degree in Tourism Management from Makerere University of Uganda and a Master’s degree in Tourism Destination Management from Breda University of Applied Science (NHTV) Netherlands. Frank is fluent in English and Kinyarwanda.

Frank is passionate about travelling to different destinations to experience new cultures, explore beautiful sceneries and enjoys sport as well.
Jeffers Miruka
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), and has a Master of Science in Global Marketing.

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.

Jon Howell
MD AviaDev, Bench Events

Jon has worked in the field of aviation and tourism in Africa for 6 years, organising events around the continent. Jon is based in Manchester, UK, and has a passion for African aviation and Africa as a whole. Jon founded AviaDev Africa in 2016 as a platform to bring together the African aviation community with a view to improving connectivity to, from and within the African continent. Jon is also a global ambassador for the Gorilla Organisation, a UK based charity raising funds for gorilla conservation.

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.

Rudi van der Vyver
CEO Southern African Association for the Conference Industry
( SAACI), South Africa

Rudi van der Vyver was appointed as CEO of the Southern African Association for the Conference Industry (SAACI) early 2017, bringing a wealth of management experience in the financial services, business consulting and hospitality industries to the umbrella body of the business events sector in Southern Africa.

A driven, innovative and creative individual with a comprehensive management and leadership back- ground, van der Vyver brings 15 years of extensive and diversified experience, a comprehensive training foundation and an exemplary career at leading organisations to SAACI.

Rudi van der Vyver holds a BCom (Hons) degree in marketing with the designation of Chartered Marketer CM (SA) and is a Professional Business and Life Coach. Van der Vyver has a clear vision to implement a SAACI strategy of continuous sharing, collaboration, innovation and growth, ultimately ensuring efficiency and professionalism across all aspects of the business events sector. He is very passionate about the business events industry and the business of events.

Barry Clemens
General Manager, HANDY, Africa & Indian Ocean

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.

Kwakye Donkor
CEO, 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.

Esmaré Steinhöfel

Regional Director, ICCA Africa

Esmaré currently fulfils the role of Regional Director for Africa for the International Congress and Convention Association. Her key focus is to deliver ICCA services, products and events, for the recruitment and retention of members and for maintaining and enhancing ICCA’s reputation and awareness amongst target markets.

She has extensive experience in the international marketing and sales arena. Before joining ICCA, she managed the International Sales portfolio at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC).

Prior to her joining the CTICC she worked at Arabella Starwood South Africa, promoting the 5* Westin Cape Town and the Arabella Western Cape Hotel & Spa. She was also part of the opening team that started the Cape Town Convention Bureau where she fulfilled the role of promoting Cape Town to the meetings, incentive, conference and exhibition industry with a focus on Association Marketing and Research.

Esmaré is currently a member of SAACI, the Southern African Association for the Conference Industry, and has served on the SAACI National Board as Venues Forum Chair as is currently a Board member of the SAACI Western Cape Chapter. She also serves on the Board of the African Society of Association Executives.

She has been awarded the SAACI Fellowship Award in 2017 as well as the Top 40 Women in MICE in both 2017 and 2015. During her stint at the Cape Town International Convention Centre she was awarded Manager of the Year in 2012.

Rosette Chantal Rugamba
Managing Director, Songa Africa & Amakoro Lodge

Rosette is  Managing Director of Songa Africa and Amakoro Lodge  a  Luxury tour  and Hospitality company in  East Africa-based in Rwanda  . 

Rosette, who is very passionate about tourism  has been actively involved in Travel and Tourism for the past 24 years beginning with Euro Star in UK, and then as sales and Marketing Manager  British Airways – Uganda , before returning to her native Rwanda to spearhead the  revitalization of the Tourism Industry as Director General of Rwanda tourism and National Parks (ORTPN) and later as Deputy CEO of Rwanda Development Board (RDB)  ,Rosette has a great wealth of public sector insight and experience in mobilizing public-private partnership to grow tourism effectively and responsibly .During her  8 years Tenure from 2003 to 2010  as  Head of Tourism  and Conservation in Rwanda she was charged to re-vitalise tourism as a key economic drive for Rwanda post 1994 Tutsi Genocide ,the number of tourist grew from 13,000 to 790,000  and also became  the number one Foreign Exchange earner  .Rwanda also won Best African  Exhibitor in ITB-Tourism trade fair   for 4 consecutive years. Rosette has been recognized by the East African Community Secretariat as one of the leading tourism and conservation strategist  in the region.

 


Carmen Nibigira
Project Director at Howarth HTL, East Africa

Carmen has over 17 years’ experience in the hotel and tourism industry in Africa and Europe. A former Regional Coordination for East Africa Tourism Platform and Director General of Burundi National Tourism Office, Carmen is a seasoned tourism policy strategist. She has run tour company operations in Burundi, Rwanda, Kenya and Uganda as well as managed an international hotel in Tanzania. She has also conducted tourism and hospitality related capacity building trainings in Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Togo, the Republic of Congo and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). In the capacity of consultant, Carmen advised governments and non-governmental organizations on tourism planning, strategy and business competitiveness in West and Central Africa.

She worked at the Ecole Hôtelière de Lausanne, Switzerland, as an Academic Assistant and Researcher before joining Clemson University in 2012 where she is currently a PhD Candidate in Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management. Her area of research is focused on policy and political economy of tourism as well as on the socio-political fabric of emerging tourism destinations. Carmen believes in her long-term vision of reinforcing human capacity and policy development in tourism for Africa.

She is also a member of the Board of Directors of Akilah Institute for Women, a high education college that offers market-relevant education with a campus in Kigali, Rwanda. She also publishes widely on different issues related to tourism development, human resources and policy in East Africa and is known to be an advocate for inter and intraregional travel and tourism in Africa.

Carmen is an avid reader and traveller.

Prof Dimitrios Buhalis
Head of Department of Tourism & Hospitality, Director of eTourism at Bournemouth University, England

Professor Dimitrios Buhalis is the Head of Department Tourism and Hospitality, Director of the eTourism Lab and Deputy Director of the International Centre for Tourism and Hospitality Research, at Bournemouth University in England.

In 2018 Bournemouth University was ranked 8th in the QS World University Rankings for Hospitality & Leisure Management.

He is also the First Vice President of the International Academy for the Study of Tourism, an Executive Board Member of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) Affiliate Members and the Editor in Chief of the most established Journal in Tourism: Tourism Review.

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.

Aaron Munetsi

Regional General Manager, Africa & Middle East - South African Airways

Aaron is the General Manager, Africa and Middles East for South Africa Airways. He is responsible for business development and stakeholder management at all levels. Liaison with host government to obtain operating permits and support for South African Airways operations. Recruitment in line with structure and deployment of resources to achieve revenue targets.

 Prior to his current position, he was the Regional Manager for North, West and Central Africa where he developed and executed the Business Plan for South African Airways by working with a team of Country Managers to achieve the stipulated objectives.

Aaron is of the founding members of the Nigeria-South Africa Chamber of Commerce, whose sole purpose is to enhance the trade and business relationships between these two countries.

Yao Oppong Pepra

CBO, Wesgro, Cape Town, South Africa

Yaw Oppong Peprah CA(SA), is a Ghanaian born South African. His family left Ghana in the early 80’s and settled in a little town called Mthatha, in the Eastern Cape. He attended the University of Cape Town where he achieved a double major in Information Systems and Accounting. He went on to obtain his Post graduate diploma in Accounting through distance learning at the University of Natal. He qualified as a chartered accountant after serving his articles at PriceWaterhouseCoopers where he moved through the ranks achieving the title of an Assistant Manager prior to his departure to take up an exciting investment associate role at the National Empowerment Fund (“NEF”).

The NEF was in its infancy at the time and was earmarked to be the governments Developmental Finance Institution, established to support small, medium and micro enterprises. It was a rather small team which offered him an opportunity to learn and be  involved in evaluating and presenting transactions to the investment committee as well as assisting senior management with implementing the strategies.

He was then headhunted to join the New Business and Acquisition Finance team at Standard Bank’s Corporate and Investment Banking team in Johannesburg, with the intention to be stationed in Cape Town. His team was tasked with unearthing new funding opportunities for the bank. It was a great learning experience, but his natural inclination towards being an entrepreneur got the better of him and he joined and co-owned a below-the-line advertising agency based in Johannesburg.
The business thrived and he exited it after a few years to focus on his own consulting business that provided him an opportunity to work and investigate further opportunities in Ghana and Kenya. This lead to his current role at Wesgro.

His current role is the Chief Business Officer at Wesgro. Wesgro is an agency mandated by the City of Cape Town and the Western Cape Government to promote tourism, trade, investment and film. His role encompasses the trade, investment and film mandates as well as certain strategic projects such as the InvestSA one stop shop, the national government’s initiative to promote the ease of doing business.

He is also a co-founder of the Silibona Educational Trust, a crowd-funded trust, set up, to assist historically disadvantaged young women with their tertiary education funding challenges.

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