Marcello is an economist with over 18 year of advisory and training service in hospitality, tourism, and sustainable development. He has gained extensive experience in the field of hospitality and tourism, working for different organizations: intergovernmental (UNWTO, UNDP, IUCN, IADB, ADB, ICIMOD), governmental (SNV, Italian Cooperation, GIZ, DFID), large (Sol Melia Group, Louvre Group, Arthur Andersen, Mazars) and small businesses, non-governmental organizations, communities, protected areas, universities and academic and research centers.
He participated in more than 25 projects and programs in over 25 countries on three continents (Europe, Latin America and Asia), among others: MDG, ST-EP, GEF, International Year of Ecotourism, EU Life, Al-Invest, Asia-Invest, Trans-boundary Landscape. His experience on mountain tourism covers all approaches related to sustainability being involved in economic, environmental, management and social projects on hospitality and tourism in the Alpine and Hindu Kush Himalaya regions.
Marcello has contributed to carrying out more than 20 publications, guidelines, best practices, training materials and articles on hospitality and sustainable tourism matters for renowned international organization (UNWTO, IUCN, SNV, ITC/ILO, WWF, RA and ICIMOD). Native Italian, at present he lives with his family in Kathmandu.
South African mountaineer Cathy O’Dowd was the first woman in the world to climb Mount Everest from both sides and more recently was a member of the team that did the first ascent of Nanga Parbat via the Mazeno ridge. Her next expedition will be to an unclimbed mountain in India.
Cathy is an acclaimed international speaker, focusing on building high performing teams when operating under intense stress in the face of high risk and overwhelming challenges. She has shared her insights with corporate audiences in more than 40 countries on six continents.
She is the author of "Just For The Love of It", a New York Times bestseller about her Everest expeditions. She is a passionate rock climber, alpinist and ski mountaineer, who loves to share the stories of her experiences through speeches, writing and photographs. For more information visit http://cathyodowd.com. Twitter/Instagram @Cathy_ODowd
Mr. George Gotsiridze graduated from Iv. Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University, Department of Geography and Geology as a geographer/geo-morphologist and earned Ph.D degree in Geography (Geomorphology, Paleogeography and Cartography) in 1999.
In 1991 he started working at the Geomorphology Department of Iv. Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University first as a laboratory assistant and had an assignment as a senior lecturer at the Department of Geomorphology and Geo-ecology from 1996 to 2004. From 1997 to 2004 he continued his work at the Department of Land Management of Georgia and worked as a Chief of Land Cadastre and Property Registration Department.
From 1998 -2004 he worked as a Project Manager on the joint project of the Government of Georgia and Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA): “Support to the Development of Land Cadastre and Land Information System in Georgia”.
George Gotsiridze is a founder of GIS and RS Consulting Center GeoGraphic Ltd. and worked as a General Manager since then and as a Director since 2007. During his professional carrier he have got expertise in land use management, urban/city planning, mountain planning, rural planning; he lead multidisciplinary projects in the filed of regional and municipal development, spatial planning, cultural heritage management, infrastructure planning, strategic planning, disaster management, climate changes; more than 10 years he is actively involved in master planning of Georgia's cities, settlements and resorts.
David Lordkipanidze is the first Director General of the Georgian National Museum, a network of ten museums and two research centers which, under his leadership, have been extensively expanded and upgraded.
The renowned archaeologist and paleoanthropologist, Dr. Lordkipanidze led the discovery of the earliest known hominid remains outside of Africa at the Georgian site of Dmanisi. A recipient of many international awards for his groundbreaking discoveries and leadership, he is a corresponding member of Georgian National Academy of Sciences, foreign associate of U.S. National Academy of Sciences, the member of the German Archaeological Institute, and the European Academy of Sciences and Arts.
He was awarded with the National Decorations of France, Georgia and Germany. He is the author of more than one hundred scientific articles and a regular contributor to scholarly journals. During his leadership he started the major renovation process of the Museums united under the Georgian National Museum’s umbrella. Six museums have already reopened its doors to public, the Svaneti Museum (reopened in 2014), located in the high mountainous region of Georgia, was nominated for the Best European Museum Award in 2016.
Paul Stephens is the Executive Director and co-founder of the Transcaucasian Trail Association. He was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Georgia from 2005-2007 and has been exploring the region ever since.
He has worked as an educator, journalist, and communications specialist for USAID in Tbilisi. He is a graduate of Columbia Journalism School and has written extensively on international affairs and global development issues. transcaucasiantrail.org
Sara Manuelli is the Communication Officer of the Mountain Partnership Secretariat/FAO, coordinating the communications team and implementing advocacy and knowledge management activities.
Since 2009, she has led the development and monitoring of communication activities related to International Mountain Day, the United Nations day dedicated to raising awareness about mountains. Sara has over fifteen years of experience in creating communication and outreach strategies, implementing them through online, social media and print tools, and ensuring that the messaging reaches the intended audience.
She also worked for the English press and for universities. She is the author and editor of several books and scientific articles. A British/Italian national, she holds a BA in Social Anthropology from the School of African and Oriental Studies, London and a postgraduate in Journalism from City University, London. www.mountainpartnership.org
Mr. Aleksandre Onoprishvili is the Director of Mountain Resorts Development Company of the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia since 2013. The company is in charge of the development of all mountain ski resorts of Georgia: Gudauri, Bakuriani (Didveli, Kokhta, Mitarbi), Goderdzi and Mestia (Hatsvali and TeTnuldi). The main field of the company's activities includes management of mountain ski-resorts, realization of infrastructural projects including ski lifts’ and sport facilities‘ construction, development of mountain tourism infrastructure, bringing novelties for this sectors etc.
After securing the function of Business Engineer, Pascal Roux managed multiple medium-size companies always with the overall objective of a distinction and an organizational innovation in companies.
In 2010, Pascal acquired MDP Consulting and became its President. He brings all his passion to confirm the uniqueness of the Cabinet and to bring its customers the assurance of special consideration and professional. He anchors the complementary components of competence Tourism Engineering and Urban Planning. In 2011, MDP became an Affiliate Member of the World Tourism Organization. MDP Consulting has now an international dimension and reputation allowing the firm to broaden its thinking. Tourism economies make the territories to grow with their own rooted features. Pascal's passion is to reveal and enhance those ones.
Pascal is regularly invited to participate in lectures, workshops and conferences throughout the world with a focus on innovation planning, and how organizations and ideas impact destinations. Pascal spent his entire life in the french alps mountain where tourism economy conveys so much to people, being the first winter destination worldwide. Pascal has worked throughout the world destinations and understand multicultural views and models. He is a native French and speaks English. www.consultingbymdp.com
Dr. Fiona Pià holds a PHD in architecture and urban planning from the EPFL (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne). Her research focuses on the elaboration of new models of urbanization and sustainable mobility in the mountains. Her work has been awarded several times and is of great interest to academics as well as concerned local communities.
In addition to her academic and scientific research work at LAMU (EPFL's Urban architecture and mobility laboratory), Fiona Pià is a partner architect of dl-a, designlab-architecture LLC in Geneva. Her firm is leading in the design and implementation of alpine projects such as "Montagne Alternative" (Valais-Suisse). Designlab-architecture is also among the leading firms in the Andermatt Swiss Alps Project (Uri-Switzerland). Dr. Pia's academic publications; Dr. Pia architecture related projects
Herrick Fox is a forester, land-use planner and policy adviser with over 20 years of experience in rural development, land management and natural resource policy. His background includes extensive work in community-based collaborative planning on multiple-use public lands and associated mountain resort permitting and development.
For the last 14 years he has worked with the U.S Department of Agriculture (USDA), first as a land-use planner with the US Forest Service on National Forests in Pennsylvania and Wyoming, and later as a forest and land-use policy adviser in Washington DC with senior officials in USDA and the US Senate.
In 2015 he began in his current position as a Supervisory Program Manager in USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service. He previously worked in conservation and forestry in Russia for seven years in the 1990s with USAID and IUCN programs in Moscow, Siberia and the Russian Far East and under a Fulbright research fellowship with the Russian Academy of Sciences in Vladivostok.
Herrick holds a Bachelor’s degree in natural resource policy and management from the University of California at Berkeley and a Master’s degree in forest science from Yale University. An avid skier and hiker since early childhood, he continues to hone his gravity management skills in the marble and limestone canyons of Washington, D.C., where he resides with his wife and their 3 children.
Mr. Khazaradze is a founding member of and a principal investor in GRDC. He is also founder and Chairman of the Board of Directors of TBC Banks, Georgia’s largest bank, which has won the “Best Caucasus based Bank” prize in 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2005. Mr. Khazaradze also sits o the Board of the Georgian Glass & Mineral Water Co. N.V., which owns “Borjomi”, the leading mineral water brand in Georgia, a business he has advising and investing in since its revival in 1994.
In 1988 Mr. Khazaradze began his business career as an engineer at the Scientific Research Institute, joining the International Association of Creative Programs as Vice President in 1990. In 1991 he founded and was resident of the Tbilisi Business Centre, an investment and advisory organization, establishing a chain of retail and distribution businesses. Ha has been nominated every year as the best businessperson in Georgia since the prize’s inception of 1995, the year in which he won it.
Mr. Khazaradze studied on the Harvard Business School’s Executive Education Program, 1998 – 2000, and is a member of the Economic Council to the President of Georgia. Mr. Khazaradze also co-founded an International School in Tbilisi and takes keen interest in sponsoring an annual literary prize and a young person’s music festival in Georgia.
Head of the tourism department at the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development since 2014, Michel is the permanent representative of France at the World Tourism Organization and is the administrator of Atout France, the French Tourism Development Agency in charge of promoting France as a touristic destination.
Michel Durrieu has managed several international companies of the tourism industry. Executive chairman for Spain, Latin America and the Mediterranean of Carlson Wagonlit Travel, a world leader in business travel management, he was also Chairman for Marketing & e-business of TUI Spain, Board member for New Media / e-Business of TUI AG at Hannover (world leader for leisure tourism) and International Director for the Digital Branch and Chief Executive for Spain of Nouvelles Frontières. He was also president of several professional organizations, namely GEBTA Spain and Europe (Guild of UE Business Travel Agents).
Michel Durrieu is also professor at the Toulouse Business School since 1995 in which he created a master training in “Management of Services and Tourism Activities” based in Barcelona. He has graduated from the École supérieure de Commerce de Toulouse with a Master in Management of Service Activities and communications, and has a bachelor degree in international trade. In 2017, Michel DURRIEU has published a book entitled "Tourism – France as a world n°1".
Born in the French Alps, Nathalie Saint-Marcel graduated in foreign trade from the University Savoie Mont Blanc. In 2009, she earned a MBA in Strategy & Management for sports companies.
She started her career in 1995 as junior consultant in the International Department of the Savoy Chamber of Commerce and Industry. She specialized herself in mountain development and sport sector. In 2005, she got involved in the creation of the Mountain Industry Cluster - CIM in the Rhône-Alpes region.
In 2012, the CIM Cluster merged with the France Neige International association: the Cluster Montagne was born. It currently gathers more than 180 members: companies, institutions, training and research centers. As a non-profit organization, Cluster Montagne represents and promotes, throughout the world, French know-how for sustainable mountain tourism development. Cluster Montagne supports the development of mountain management projects throughout economic intelligence, performance, innovation, international development and human resources. More than 60 actions are organized each year for the members in France and on “mountain markets” abroad. Cluster Montagne also coordinates a collective think tank about the future mountain, aiming at developing a more sustainable, more interactive, more secure, more concerted, more accessible, more playful and more effective mountain. Nathalie Saint-Marcel is deputy manager of this organization of 8 collaborators, located in the heart of the French Alps. www.cluster-montagne.com
Matthias Ernst Jaeggi spent the first twenty years of his career in financial services, of which the last 10 years as Head of Funding at Swiss Reinsurance Company, responsible for Swiss Re’s multi-billion annual funding programme. He successfully developed and issued several novel contingent capital instruments including a catastrophe trigger bond. Two years ago, he founded a debt advisory boutique to execute from start to finish bank debt and debt capital markets deals for other companies. One of these transactions was to assist Andermatt Swiss Alps AG - the venture of Mr. Samih O. Sawiris to develop the Swiss mountain village of Andermatt into a unique alpine vacation destination - in executing their inaugural listed capital markets bond. After this transaction, he was asked to come on board as the company’s CFO. Since then he has secured external funding for a number of the company’s projects including real estate and long-dated government debt and grants for the 130m expansion and upgrade of the SkiArena Andermatt-Sedrun.
Matthias holds a master degree in finance from the University of Zurich, Switzerland. www.andermatt-swissalps.ch
Mahmoud Hashemi is President of International Affairs of the Iran Mountaineering Federation. He also is President of Atour Adventure Group, a Tour and Trekking Operator that has been appointed by the Ministry for Sports and for Foreign Affairs to run the trekking activities at Mt. Damavand, the highest peak in Iran and the highest potentially active volcano in all of Asia.
Mahmoud is an Iranian national and has accomplished summit ascent of 8 peaks above 8.000m in the Himalaya. He has opened some new routes on 6.000m peaks in India and has accompanied many groups to climb 7.000 and 8.000m as group leader and guide.
Since 2004 he has instructed Mountain Guides and Mountaineers to climb and lead groups to the Himalayan peaks. In his position as President he has converted Atour Adventure and stabilized its business by applying safety measures and security protocols and by training guides in order to make climbing and trekking safe and enjoyable. He is the head of Iran Mountaineering National Team. Mahmoud graduated in Tourism Industry and International Affairs of Tourism.
Mr. George Chogovadze - Head of the Georgian National Tourism Administration, holds a Bachelor’s and a Master’s degrees in Business Administration from the European School of Management.
Mr. Chogovadze has broad experience of working in both the private and public sectors. He began his professional career at Swissair - Swiss Airlines, later became the Director of the Marketing Department for Georgian Airways, the country’s national carrier. Has held several managerial positions at various prominent tourism companies, such as Lufthansa City Central Travel. In 2009, he became a Board Member and a Chairman of the Events and Public Relations Commission at the International Chamber of Commerce in Georgia (ICC), after which he served as the Deputy Head of the Economic Affairs Department at the Tbilisi City Hall.
With over 25 years of experience in global destination and hospitality management, Haitham Mattar has held senior roles with leading global brands and provided his sales and marketing expertise to world-renowned companies, including Marriott, InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) and Hilton Worldwide.
As Senior Vice President of Marketing and Sales for Hilton Worldwide, Mattar was responsible for hundreds of properties and managed a 240+ strong team across the Middle East, Africa, Eastern Europe, Turkey and Russia, sharpening his aptitude in hospitality, travel and tourism.
In his current role as CEO of the Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority, Mattar continues to use his cross-continent experience and valuable global insights to effectively lead Ras Al Khaimah’s destination marketing and growth strategy while capturing existing and emerging source market movements and global tourism trends. Under Mattar’s leadership, Ras Al Khaimah is achieving sustainable growth in visitor numbers and netting a growing share of the global outbound tourism market.
A Lebanese-born American citizen and Arabic speaker, Mattar holds a Bachelor’s degree in marketing from the University of Central Florida, USA, and an MBA in marketing from the University of Liverpool, UK, having completed a thesis on the sustainability of tourism in Dubai.
Mr. Laurent Vanat is the founder and principal consultant of Swiss based Laurent Vanat Consulting SARL and author of the International Reports on Snow & Mountain Tourism.
He has been specialized in the snow and mountain tourism industry for 15 years with experience in business consulting and management. After graduating from the University of Geneva with a Master's in Commercial and Industrial Sciences, his curriculum went through positions in sales in the Kustner industrial company, CFO and then CEO of the Habsburg Group and business consultant for PricewaterhouseCoopers Geneva. He established on his own in 2004 and later on founded Laurent Vanat Consulting SARL, where he works as an independent consultant.
Vanat has an array of experience in the tourism sector, including ski resorts, sport & leisure, hospitality, real estate and wellness. He is the author of a business planning manual, the Swiss ski resorts’ end of season report and the yearly International Report on Snow & Mountain Tourism, which has become a reference in the industry, conferences and TV interviews. www.vanat.com
Prof. Arlt is the founder and director of COTRI China Outbound Tourism Research Institute he established in 2004 with offices in Hamburg/Germany and Beijing/China. COTRI is the leader of market research and product and strategy development consultancy project for leading international companies and organizations.
Prof Arlt’s professional career has been closely linked to China from the very beginning when he studied at Fu-Jen University in Hsinchu/Taiwan (1977) and at the Chinese University of Hong Kong (1980/81). He holds a M.A. in Sinology (1985) and PhD in Political Sciences (2002) from FU Berlin.
After finishing his studies Prof Arlt has gathered a lot of work experience as publisher, journalist, consultant, organizer of fairs and exhibitions and as owner of outbound and inbound tour operator companies (offices in Berlin and Beijing from 1992-1999), all in connection with China, tourism and transportation. From 2002-2008 he worked as Profesor at the University of Applied Sciences Stralsund, Germany. Since 2008 he is Professor at West Coast University of Applied Sciences Germany, where he teaches in the Bachelor and Master Programme “International Tourism Management”. Furthermore he is Supervisor of Bachelor and Master Theses at West Coast University, member of the supervisor team of PhD Theses at different universities including KU Eichstaett (Germany), Middlesborough University (UK) and the University of Girona (Spain).
During the last 25 years he has been invited as a renowned keynote speaker around the world and was involved in the organization of international Conferences. http://china-outbound.com/
Dr. Josef Zenhäusern runs his own consulting company “Advice Zenhaeusern - Advice in sports, sponsoring and tourism” since 2000 and was assigned by the International Ski Federation (FIS) to work on their Development Programme. In this position he has assessed solidarity projects in emerging countries as well as organized seminars for FIS in this framework.
He has also been President of Leukerbad Tourism Office, a Swiss thermal and ski resort, since 2010. Furthermore, he has been a Member of the organizing committee of the International Lauberhorn World Cup Races since 2002 and acted as Managing Director of the Swiss Ski Federation from 1992 to 1999.
Before working as Executive Manager of the Leukerbad Tourism Office from 1977 to 1992, Dr. Zenhäusern began his career in 1972 as manager at Bellwald&Jaeger, Zurich, where he worked on concepts for tourism development. He holds a PhD in Economics (1971) from the University of St.Gallen, where he wrote his dissertation on Marketing and Publicity in Tourism. advice-zenhaeusern.ch
Guram Adamia is a Head of IT Department at Mountain Resorts Development Company of Georgia. As IT and business development professional he has 13 years of experience working on different IT projects throughout Eastern Europe.
Guram joined management of Georgian resorts in 2011 to oversee bursting growth of new Georgian ski resorts hence IT infrastructure in period of 5 years. During this period, from 2010/2011 to 2015/2016 winter season, the total winter season visits have increased 9-fold growing from 88 883 to 848837 in 2015/2016; united ski pass for 4 resorts was developed to connect all resorts in one product; and 4 remote resorts where connected to global internet high speed network. As a part of multi.ski project, Guram oversaw and implemented homegrown innovations in distribution of tickets like online charging stations for ski visitors and servicing of tickets in different distribution points (shops, hotels, movie theatres). Currently, Guram is working on future innovations for Georgian ski resorts, including, alternative data carriers for ski tickets; “pay as you go” system for skiers; and real-time dynamic pricing.
For more than 20 years Konstantin Andreas Feustel is advising and shaping in tourism. As founder of the technology start-up GEIOS, he is working with an experienced team on integrated digital services along the customer journey - with the focus on inspiration, information and cross-selling after the booking process as well as during the trip. As founder of the tourism consultancy WIIF, he supports well-known destinations in innovation processes as well as in service and product design, specialized in in-destination business models, electronic ticketing and tourist cards.
Andreas and his different ventures and projects have have been recognised through various official awards, such as the German Tourism Award 2009, 2012 and 2016 (Guest card Oberstaufen PLUS, Hochschwarzwald e-Carsharing, „Mein Hochschwarzwald“ and Destination-App) and the Innovation Award of the State of Baden-Württemberg 2011 (Hochschwarzwald Card) among others. He has carried out various projects with clients such as DMO Hochschwarzwald Tourism (High Black Forest), the German State Saarland’s Tourist Office, DMO Deutsche Bodensee Tourismus (Lake Constance Tourism), and Austrian DMOs Salzburger Land and Saalfelden-Leogang.
About GEIOS - Destinations use GEIOS to inform guests, simplify their journey and enable an unique vacation experience - and to gather relevant guest information. Vacation time starts after the booking process: Providing services, selling additional offers and creating anticipation. Dynamic profiling and individualized communication. Service information before and after the journey including the generation of relevant evaluations. To put it in a nutshell: A digital concierge as personal travel guide for the guests.
Mr. Makoto Miyata is Partnership Development Expert at the Tourism Commission of Hakuba Village, Japan. The objective is to connect the village economy with not only outdoor/sports equipment companies but also the leading edge IT technology companies such as Yahoo! Japan, the largest Internet companies in Japan.
As a Hakuba citizen, his challenge have extended to the revitalization of the village economy which includes the hotels turnaround, the launch of trail-running and freeride ski events, and strengthening the off-season-market. Hakuba Village in the Nagano Prefecture is home to one of the largest mountain resorts in Asia and served as the main venue of the Nagano Winter Olympics in 1998. His family is closely linked to the region's touristic development. His grandfather is one of the pioneers of skiing in the region also know as the “Japanese Alps” since he built the first ski lift in Hakuba some 70 years ago and his family has been involved in the hospitality business running local hotels for about the same time.
He is also one of the event directors of the ULTRA-TRAIL Mt.FUJI. He also takes the role as the Co-founder & President of EUPHORIA, one of the leading IT system providers for top athletes including Japan National Rugby Team and a lot of professional teams (over 200) managing their health and condition. Prior to his above mentioned assignments he had worked as a marketing professional at BRIDGESTONE Corp.
Christopher is an experienced tourism expert with almost 15 years of experience in the field of tourism and destination development. He studied tourism management at the renowned IMC in Krems, Austria and afterwards he worked for 13 years for Kohl & Partner, the number 1 tourism consultancy in the Alpine Region. He was responsible for the international destination development projects and one of the partners of the company.
During 2008/09 he also worked for Roland Berger Strategy Consultants and Horwath HTL in Moscow, Russia. In March 2017 he joined PeakSolution/Skiline, a company with innovative IT solutions for tourism destinations.
Rafael Olmedo has graduated in Aeronautical Engineering and Physical Sciences. During the last 15 years he has been working in European research projects related with Aeronautics, Intelligent Transport Systems, Search and Rescue and Remote Sensing.
In 2011, he founded GEKO NAVSAT, a small Spanish company that develops innovative solutions based on satellite navigation technologies. As CTO of the company he is leading different projects related with the technical implementation of a personnel guidance solution based on the use of 3D sounds, and also with the development of wearable electronic devices performing advanced navigation features and wireless middle range communications.
He is author of several patents and scientific papers, and during the last years he has been awarded with different prizes including the special topic prices from the European Satellite Navigation Agency and from the European Space Agency at the European Satellite Navigation Competition Galileo Masters. He has been participating in many different dissemination activities in technical or research nationals and international forums, promoting new solutions and applications of the Satellite Navigation Technologies and its application in natural areas and mountain scenarios. innovactm.com ; gekonavsat.com