Sen M. Ramsamy

ITIC 2018 Advisory Board
Sen M. Ramsamy Managing Director Tourism Business Intelligence
Vanilla Islands, Africa & Middle East

Sen is presently the Managing Director of the Tourism Business Intelligence, a company specialized in consultancy services for tourism, hospitality management, investment facilitation and tourism training, for the Vanilla Islands, Africa and Middle Eastern regions.

Mr. Ramsamy is also the Regional Director of the Centre of Excellence for Destinations (CED) based in Montreal, Canada. He has more than 30 years of experience at senior management level in Tourism Development, Destination Marketing, Sustainable Tourism Development and Hospitality Management. He has also served as Resource Person in Tourism for international institutions (United Nations World Tourism Organization, World Bank, International Labor Organization, International Trade Center, Economist Intelligence Unit) and several foreign governments in Africa and the Caribbean Islands. He was previously Director of the Mauritius Tourism Authority. He was also Director of Hospitality Business Development for a major conglomerate in the United Arab Emirates where he was posted for more than 5 years.

Sen holds a bachelor degree in Mathematics from Chennai University and an MBA in services marketing and a post-graduate diploma in Tourism Management from the George Washington University in USA. He also has a post-graduate certificate in Tourism from Sorbonne University in France. He is bilingual, English and French, and has authored several publications on Tourism, Sustainable Development and Destination Marketing. He travels extensively across the world to share his experience, knowledge and thought leadership in tourism and hospitality management.

He has initiated the creation of the Tourism Police in Mauritius, he has chaired the Hotel school of Mauritius for many years and has been instrumental in the creation of the University of Technology Mauritius with a faculty for Tourism and Hospitality Management. Sen’s professional career was recognized by the Energy Globe Award which he had won in 2003 for his outstanding works towards environmental protection and tourism development.

Susanna Saari

ITIC 2018 Advisory Board
Susanna Saari Senior Lecturer Faculty of Engineering and Business, Turku University of Applied Sciences (TUAS) and President of Skal International

Susanna is co-author of: ‘Enhancing the competitiveness of a wellness tourism destination by coordinating the multiple actor collaboration’ (2017) at the Routledge Handbook of Health Tourism with Telle Tuominen and Daniel Binder. Furthermore, she is a co-author of How to develop a competitive health and well-being destination (2014) with Donna Dvorak and Telle Tuominen.

She holds an M.Soc.Sc in Leisure and Recreation studies and is a doctoral candidate at University of Lapland, majoring in tourism. Her doctoral dissertation will study urban wellbeing destinations. Susanna has been the project coordinator of both the WelDest (2010-2012) and the ILIS project (2008 -2010), financed by EU dealing with issues on health and wellness tourism destination development and spa management.

Susanna is a representative of TUAS at Turku Tourism Academy as well as a board member of The Finnish Society of Tourism Research. At international level she is the 2018 World President at SKAL International (Association of Travel and Tourism professionals, www.skal.org), worlds’ largest not for profit tourism organisation, and a board member of ‘The Code’, The Code of Conduct for the Protection of Children from Sexual Exploitation in Travel and Tourism (2016-2019).

Dr. Catheryn Khoo-Lattimore

ITIC 2018 Advisory Board
Dr. Catheryn Khoo-Lattimore
Senior Researcher & Lecturer
Griffith Institute for Tourism
Brisbane, Australia

Dr. Catheryn Khoo-Lattimore is an international expert on women and children in tourism. She has recently co-published two books: ‘Women and Travel: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives’; and ‘Asian Genders in Tourism’. Her work has been published in international journals and that specifically on girlfriend getaways have been featured by travel sites, radio and newspapers. Catheryn also speaks frequently at corporate training programs, international conferences, lectures, seminars and workshops all over the world.

She is the Second Vice-Chair of The Council for Australasian Tourism and Hospitality Education (CAUTHE); Editor-in-Chief of international journal, Tourism Management Perspectives; and the proud founder and chair of Women Academics in Tourism (WAiT). She researches at the Griffith Institute for Tourism (GIFT).

Catheryn has started and sold businesses for profit and has experienced consulting for institutions and organisations, and lived and worked in Malaysia, New Zealand and America. She is settling for now, in an Australian bayside suburb.

Catheryn is also the UNWTO’s Regional Expert (Asia and the Pacific) for the 2018 Global Report on Women in Tourism.

Daniela Wagner

ITIC 2018 Advisory Board
Daniela Wagner
Director, International Partnership
Jacobs Media Group

With an international remit, Daniela leads the overseas operation, bringing together travel professionals across the globe.

Daniela heads up strategic international business development for Travel Weekly Group and is responsible for creating new international events in Asia, the Middle East and Europe, as well as bringing new clients into the UK market through existing Travel Weekly channels.

She has a demonstrable track record of outstanding achievement within the travel industry and has had great success growing businesses due to her commercial creativity. She has applied her entrepreneurial and interpersonal skills very effectively in large corporate and start-up environments. Fluent in both German and French, she has an extensive network of top-level industry contacts around the globe.

Daniela is also responsible for co-ordinating European PATA chapters, recruiting and retaining members, co-ordinating key events (including the PATA Advocacy dinner) and securing sponsorship.

Isabel Hill

ITIC 2018 Advisory Board
Isabel Hill Director National Travel and Tourism Office at US Department of Commerce

As Director of the National Travel and Tourism Office at the U.S. Department of Commerce, Ms. Hill is the senior career official with responsibility for travel and tourism for the United States Government and a globally recognized expert in tourism policy and planning.

Her office produces the national statistics on travel and tourism and promotes policies that support the competitiveness of the U.S. travel and tourism industry.

Ms. Hill led the development of the first National Travel and Tourism Strategy for the United States across 12 federal agencies and with the private sector, reflecting her skill in public-private engagement to advance shared objectives.

Ms. Hill also led negotiations to open the market for packaged leisure travel from China to the United States, and she advances U.S. policy in international travel and tourism fora.

Additionally, Ms. Hill directed the first International Tourism Promotion Program for the United States. Based on the platform ‘You’ve Seen the Films, Now Visit the Set’, the award-winning campaign paved the way for the creation of Brand USA, the nation’s first dedicated tourism marketing organization.

She is past Chair of the OECD Tourism Committee, a subject matter expert for the World Economic Forum, and sits on the Advisory Committee of the World Tourism Forum Lucerne.

Prior to her federal service, Ms. Hill was the Film Commissioner at the South Carolina Department of Commerce and Director of Business Development and Policy for the South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism.

Hon. Najib Balala

ITIC 2018 Advisory Board
Hon. Najib Balala EGH
Cabinet Secretary
Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife
Kenya

Honourable Najib Balala, EGH, was born in 1967 and is trained in International Urban Management at the University of Toronto, Canada. He underwent the Executive Program for Leaders in Development at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

CS Balala was early this year re-appointed as Cabinet Secretary for Tourism & Wildlife by H.E. Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta, CGH, President of the Republic of Kenya. He had been appointed as Cabinet Secretary for Tourism in the 2015 Government reshuffle. He moved from the Ministry of Mining, where he was appointed as Kenya’s first Minister in May 2013 and is credited with delivering the Draft Mining Bill in 2014, the first policy and institutional framework review of Kenya’s mining sector since 1940.

Hon. Balala served simultaneously as Member of Parliament for Mvita Constituency, Mombasa, and as Kenya’s Minister for Tourism from April 2008 to March 2012, where he delivered the Tourism Bill and gave the sector a policy and legal framework geared towards maintaining sustainability. Then, he was elected Chairman of the United Nations World Tourism Organization in 2011 and was voted Best Tourism Minister in Africa in 2009 by Africa Investor (AI).

He is credited with steering Kenya’s tourism sector to recovery following the post-election violence in 2008. He played a significant role in boosting growth and stability in the Kenyan and regional tourism sector, working closely with private and institutional investors, with conservation and regional development agencies to ensure that the economic potential of this vital sector was both prudently and sustainably managed.

Advisory Board Members

 
Chairman
ITIC 2018 Advisory Board
Dr. Taleb Rifai Former Secretary General United Nations World Tourism Organization
(UNWTO)
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Vice-Chairman
ITIC 2018 Advisory Board
Hon. Najib Balala, EGH Cabinet Secretary Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife
Kenya
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Members

ITIC 2018 Advisory Board
Gerald Lawless WTTC Ambassador Former Chairman of WTTC
Former President & Group CEO of Jumeirah Group
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ITIC 2018 Advisory Board
Isabel Hill Director National Travel and Tourism Office
(USA)
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ITIC 2018 Advisory Board
Anita Mendiratta Founder & President CACHET Consulting
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ITIC 2018 Advisory Board
Daniela Wagner Director, International Partnership Jacobs Media Group (UK)
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ITIC 2018 Advisory Board
Prof. Dimitrios Buhalis Director of the eTourism Lab Deputy Director of the International Centre for Tourism And Hospitality Research (UK) more…
 
 
ITIC 2018 Advisory Board
Susanna Saari Senior Lecturer President, Skal International and Senior Lecturer, Turku University of Applied Sciences (Finland) more…
ITIC 2018 Advisory Board
Dr. Catheryn Khoo-Lattimore
Senior Researcher & Lecturer
Griffith Institute for Tourism
Brisbane, Australia

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Secretary to the Board

ITIC 2018 Advisory Board

Secretary to the Board

Sen M. Ramsamy Managing Director Tourism Business Intelligence
Vanilla Islands, Africa & Middle East
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Rebranding tourism in Africa

Despite its wealth of natural attractions, Africa still only attracts 4.2% of the world’s tourists. Unchallenged negative stereotypes about the continent and an over-reliance on traditional markets are undermining growth in the sector. This can be corrected. Report by Thomas Collins.

While much has been said about the political and economic realities of Africa, one sector is consistently overlooked: tourism. For many African countries, the sector plays a significant role in the economy and as the world deepens its inter-connectivity, the continent is presented with a sizeable opportunity.

Indeed, from picture-perfect beaches and great open savannahs to bustling metropolises full of culture, Africa has much to offer. It is sad then that most non- Africans travelling the continent do so either only for business, or for humanitarian purposes.

Africa has still not penetrated global consciousness as a viable holiday destination and according to the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) attracted only 4.2% of the world’s tourists last year.

Interestingly, the best way to explain these low figures is by looking less at tangible assets like infrastructure and power and more at intangible assets like perceptions and stereotypes.

Africa’s failure to remarket itself has left the brand overwhelmingly defined by media images of conflict, poverty and disease.

Yet for all who regularly engage with the continent, the ‘single story’ characterisation of Africa barely scratches the surface.

Thankfully, nuance is slowly being added to the continent’s voice and people like Taleb Rifai, ex Secretary-General of UNWTO, remain positive about the future while recognising the issues at hand.

ONLY WAY IS UP

‘Tourism in Africa is still very novel but it is catching up quickly,’ says Rifai. ‘The important thing is that the growth rate in Africa is higher than anywhere else in the world.’

Currently Africa attracts between 60-65m tourists per year but Rifai predicts this figure will more than double to 150m by 2030.

A large and often overlooked explanation of this predicted growth is the ever-increasing importance of the Chinese market in all aspects of African affairs. Last year, the UNWTO logged that Chinese tourists spent $258bn globally, almost twice as much as the US in second place, and $70bn more than Germany, France and the UK combined.

Rifai argues that Africa must capitalise on this growing phenomenon and advises a move away from more traditional tourist markets.

‘All in all, I think African countries do not take the Asian market too seriously,’ he says. ‘The overdependence on the traditional North American and European markets has to be revisited.’

Chinese tourists themselves have clearly taken to Africa as a tourist destination.

According to Standard Bank, the number of Chinese tourists in Kenya will hit 60,000 this year; doubling the figure from 2015.

The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China has even launched a new credit card, in partnership with Kenya’s Stanbic Bank, specifically for Chinese tourists visiting the East-African country.

This shows great intent and should be recognised and built upon by government and corporations alike.

Another factor to build on is Africa’s growing interconnectivity. The difficulties associated with travelling around the African continent ‘ranging from visa issues to basic travel infrastructure and flight paths ‘have traditionally deterred tourists.

Rifai points to the African Union’s recent implementation of the Single African Air Transport Market as evidence of improvements to travel in the region.

Smaller carriers, he argues, will now be able to fly between more countries, as a de-regulated market reduces some of the financial burdens previously inhibiting local operators.

Finally, global tourism trends are aligning nicely with what Africa naturally has to offer. ‘It is one of the only places in the world where you have real natural life that is well preserved and taken care of; which is consistent with the new trends,’ he says.

As tourists push authenticity further up their wish-list, Africa can only stand to gain.

REBRANDING AFRICA

While global market forces are inadvertently working to ensure a boost to the number of tourists in Africa, some negative perceptions nevertheless remain at play.

Rifai argues Africa needs to actively rebrand itself to more successfully attract tourists.

‘Branding is bringing the best out of what you are,’ he explains. ‘There is so much energy and goodness but none of it is being shown.’

For Rifai, the way to rebrand is by actively working to overturn or reclaim some of the stereotypes, and also, presenting a more nuanced picture of Africa.

He explains that the continent can overturn some of its negative cliches and use them to its advantage.

‘You go to some African destinations and find what Europeans call chaos,’ he says. ‘I call that energy; I wouldn’t call it chaos. I look at poor neighbourhoods and instead of seeing poverty I see life. You need to look at some of these stereotypes that are seen internationally as not so positive and introduce them in a way as if to say, this is who we are, come and see it.’

Indeed, in his view, for every negative story about Africa, the continent should respond with a thousand more about success as this would help change public perceptions. ‘Concentrate on stories of young men and women who are making progress,’ he suggests.

At the same time, Rifai warns against of the dangers of presenting Africa to the world as a homogeneous bloc. This, he argues, already dictates how much of the world views Africa, and has had a negative impact in the past.

‘We have to be very careful about marketing Africa as a whole,’ he warns. ‘When we had Ebola the entire African continent suffered. People were unaware that Portugal and Spain were in fact closer to the epicentre than Kenya and South Africa.’

A global umbrella brand can be created but he advises it must also be textured with Africa’s hugely diverse array of 54 countries.

‘There are so many cultures and sub-cultures in Africa,’ he says. ‘Mauritius is not Angola, Angola is not Tunisia and Tunisia is not Egypt.’

As the continent’s global brand gradually improves and market forces align with what Africa has to offer, the sector will only go from strength to strength.

‘I am very excited about the future of tourism in Africa,’ finishes Rifai.

THINK TOURISM 360

The International Tourism & Investment Conference (ITIC) has been designed to stand out as a sought-after platform to stimulate a new thought process focusing on key global issues impacting positively or negatively on the industry. It may also herald a new vision and new perspectives for tourism as the powerhouse for future economic growth and investment for wealth and job creation through innovation and global value chain. As tourism gathers greater momentum among travellers, ITIC will also address the concerns and challenges facing destinations worldwide – geographic locations, connectivity, capacity building, infrastructure, human capital, resources, safety and security, amongst others. These are areas bearing potentials for investment based on proper planning, development strategies through a blend of global networking and concerted local actions.

Tourism Investment Platform

The Conference will provide a platform to drive international awareness and investment into the tourism sector and it will also act as a catalyst for inclusive growth. ITIC will therefore add value to the efforts of tourist destinations by assisting in translating their vision, objectives and development strategies into bankable project Initiatives. Delegates will have the opportunity to participate in high level group discussions, networking and PR with policy makers, private sector stakeholders, private equity firms, funding agencies, high-net worth investors, bankers, fund managers, tourism experts, business innovators and influencers, who have the power to channel capital and raise funds by using London as the prime financial hub for investment. One of the key factors will be to explore investment opportunities in green tourism projects in Africa with the aim of reducing emissions and building a climate-resilient future, while at the same time minimizing negative impacts on the local environment. Investors across the world are becoming more concerned about these issues asking for more transparency before investing their money in projects.

ITIC will give visibility to leading industry entities and emerging destinations in their policy orientation by pairing specific tourism strategies with investment solutions, thus acting as a catalyst and an engine for inclusive growth and sustainable economic development.