Abdullah Al Dawood
As the CEO of Seera, Abdullah Bin Nasser Aldawood is entrusted with designing and implementing the company’s transformation programme to become a leading travel and tourism company with a strong portfolio of trusted brands, cutting-edge technologies and excellent customer service.
Abdullah is the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Saudi Entertainment Ventures, an owned subsidiary of the Public Investment Fund. He is also the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Alraedah Finance Company, as well as a member of the Board of Directors of the Saudi Stock Exchange (Tadawul), Rou’a Al Madinah, an owned subsidiary of the Public Investment Fund, and several other Boards including Careem. Abdullah has over 11 years of experience in investment banking, where he held several executive positions, including Vice President of Investment Banking at Deutsche Bank in the Middle East and North Africa.
Abdullah holds a master’s degree in Political Science and International Relations from Georgetown University in the United States as well as a master’s degree in Business Administration with honours from the same university. He holds a first class honours bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from King Saud University.
Amin Ismail is a Managing Director of Certares. Prior to joining Certares, he worked in mergers and acquisitions at American Express Global Business Travel. Amin has served in a number of executive management positions including as the CEO of Palestine Investment Fund’s real estate and hospitality investment company Amaar Group. He started his career working in leveraged finance for Bank of America and Abn Amro Bank. Amin serves on the Boards of Directors of Nirvana Travel & Tourism and Certares’ Joint Venture with Dubai Holding.
Amin received a Bachelor of Science degree in Finance from the University of Nebraska, and a Master of Business Administration from University of Miami.
Editor in Chief
Arnie Weissmann is editor in chief of Travel Weekly in the U.S. and serves as senior vice president/editorial director for its parent company, Northstar Travel Group.
Weissmann’s involvement in travel media began with Weissmann Travel Reports, comprising unbiased profiles of every country in the world (now part of Travel42.) He authored a geography textbook and served as publisher of critical hotel and destination guides in the U.S. and U.K. He also created the first core destination content for America Online.
Weissmann is seen on the Public Broadcasting Service’s “The Travel Detective,” and his commentary has been appeared on BBC, Sky News, CNN, CBS, NBC and in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today.
Con Korfiatis is the Chief Executive Officer of flyadeal, the Middle East’s newest airline based in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, which commenced operations in 2017.
Korfiatis was previously a partner with Heidrick & Struggles, specializing in the company’s industrial practice focusing on airlines, aviation, defence & aerospace sectors in Asia.
An airline and aviation executive with over 20 years of experience gained in a number of senior roles in different airlines, Korfiatis’ expertise encompasses executive management, finance, strategy, commercial, brand and marketing, network, government affairs, alliances and airline operations.
Korfiatis has a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics and Finance from Australia’s Monash University and is a qualified Chartered Accountant.
Saudi Ministry Of Tourism
Haitham Mattar was CEO of the Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority from 2015 – 2019, where he successfully repositioned Ras Al Khaimah to become one of the fastest growing destinations in the world, exceeding the target of one million visitors in the first three years and winning a number of global travel awards and personal accolades.
With more than 25 years of experience in global destination and hospitality management and marketing, Mattar has also held senior roles with leading global brands including Marriott, InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), and Hilton Worldwide.
Mattar’s cross-continent experience and valuable global insights allowed him to effectively lead Ras Al Khaimah’s destination growth strategy, through capturing existing and emerging source market movements and international tourism trends. He was also instrumental in the concept and delivery of globally recognized tourism demand generators in the emirate including Jebel Jais Flight: the world’s longest zipline and the region’s first Via Ferrata.
In 2017, Mattar was elected as Vice Chair of the UNWTO Board of Affiliate Members as well as being appointed as a member of the steering committee for the UNWTO 2017 International Year for Sustainable Development in Tourism. Mattar was also named a full-time advisory board member of the Global Thinkers Forum (GTF) in 2018, and an Advisory Board Member of Al Marjan Development. Mattar is also a member of the Steering Committee of the Ras Al Khaimah Department of Economy and was appointed in 2018 as a member of the Arabian Travel Market Advisory Board by Reed Travel Exhibitions. In August 2018 Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority joined WTTC as a member, being represented by Mattar.
Named ‘Tourism Promotion CEO of the Year’ at the Global CEO Excellence Awards, Mattar was featured in the Arabian Business ‘most powerful Arabs’ list, in addition to being named ‘Leisure and Tourism CEO of the Year’ at the prestigious CEO Middle East Awards and ‘Business Leader of the Year’ at the Hozpitality Excellence Awards in 2018.
A Lebanese-born American citizen and Arabic speaker, Mattar holds a Bachelors degree in Marketing from the University of Central Florida, USA, and a MBA in Marketing from the University of Liverpool, UK.
Area Director of Revenue
Yaz Plaza Hotels, Abu Dhabi
Hozaimah Hosain is the Area Director of Revenue for Yas Plaza Hotels overseeing the Revenue Management strategy and execution. Hozaimah has worked her way up in wide range of Group positions in Managed and Franchise properties including Sales, Project Management, feasibility studies, Distribution and ultimately Revenue management. She holds an MBA in Hospitality Management majoring in Innovation, Marketing and Revenue Management from Glion.
Regional Director, Africa & Middle East
International Air Transport Association (IATA)
Kashif Khalid is Regional Director – Africa & Middle East for the International Air Transport Association (IATA) providing leadership and subject matter expertise to Airlines, Airports, ANSP’s, Civil Aviation Authorities, Security Agencies and Governments to further progress IATA’s mission, projects, business development and industry advocacy positions.
Formerly he was Head of Assets & Acquisitions at Abu Dhabi Airports, leading the Global M&A function for the Abu Dhabi Government entity as well as the development, innovation, sustainability, and operations strategy of the Airports portfolio. Which included multi-billion-dollar infrastructure investments and capacity enhancement programs, including Abu Dhabi’s crowning jewel, the iconic Midfield Terminal Building (MTB).
He has advised global Governments and Airport Investors/Operators on both Greenfield and brownfield development projects, privatizations, public private partnerships in airports and associated infrastructure projects and concessions.
Earlier on in his professional career he has had the privilege of holding several senior executive positions with Dubai Government, Abu Dhabi Government, Citi and British Airways.
Kashif graduated Magna Cum Laude from New York in International Business & Economics and holds an MS-IB as well. His professional credentials include an advanced degree in Airport Planning and Finance, IAP – International Airports Professional and the ACI – Airport Executive Leadership program (AELP). He is also a Member of the Royal Aeronautical Society (MRAeS)
Managing Director, Middle East, North Africa (MENA), and India
Mamoun serves as Managing Director, Wego Middle East. Drawing on more than a decade of experience in the region, he passionately drives revenue and market growth in the Middle East, North Africa and India and leads the region’s operations.
Hmedan began in this role in October 2014 where he focused on developing the product as well as played an integral role in expanding the company’s portfolio and hiring the right talent across MENA and India. Prior to that, he established the Advertising sales unit in 2013 and was the Acting GM for the MENA region.
Mamoun’s vast experience along with his strong leadership skills and significant multinational experience brings in new dynamism in the management team. His solid background with sales operations, retail, e-commerce and thorough understanding of the importance of partners is profound and has helped the company become the largest travel marketplace in MENA.
Mamoun today leads a growing innovative team from the company’s Dubai headquarters.
Prior to joining Wego Middle East, Mamoun held different senior roles with leading start-ups with online and digital presence in the region.
Associate Partner, Dubai
McKinsey & Company
“Working in McKinsey’s Public Sector Practice in the Middle East has given me the chance to work with the highest-level stakeholders in government, on transformative topics that are really reshaping countries and changing the lives of citizens.”
Vice President Marketing
Dusit Hotels & Resorts
Michael Leong is the Vice President Marketing of Dusit Hotels & Resorts, the leading hospitality brand in Thailand, with over 300 distinctive hotels, resorts and luxury villas operating under six brands across 14 countries worldwide.
With over 25 years of experience in the hotel industry, Michael expertise covers various aspects in hospitality marketing, including distribution, branding, advertising, partnerships, digital marketing, loyalty marketing and CRM.
Prior to Dusit Hotels & Resorts, Michael has worked for international hotel brands like Shangri-La and Pan Pacific.
Executive Vice President, Consumer Travel
Muzzammil is an internationally experienced management consulting and operations executive focused on scaling and optimizing operations to enable sustainable growth. Currently, Muzzammil leads Al Tayyar Travel Group’s Online Strategic Business Unit which houses two of the largest OTAs in the region – Almosafer & Tajawal. The Online Strategic Business Unit continues to grow at a significant pace and is focused on serving the needs of travel and tourism customers in the region by providing a seamless end to end experience using technology.
CAPA - Centre for Aviation
Peter Harbison is Executive Chairman of CAPA ‐ Centre for Aviation (formerly the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation), headquartered in Sydney, with offices in Delhi and London and representative offices in Hong Kong, Singapore, Washington and Wellington.
Peter established CAPA in 1990. It is now the world’s largest daily publisher of B2B commercial and corporate aviation information and executive analysis, numerous newsletters, industry reports, fleet, MRO, airport and financial data, covering the global airline, airport, and air navigation services industries. CAPA produces the bi‐monthly Airline Leader executive journal, distributed exclusively to industry CEOs. CAPA runs a number of CEO‐level conferences in various parts of the world and is now also establishing a new generation online aviation management education programme.
A postgraduate alumnus of McGill University, Peter is an aviation lawyer, consultant and commentator on industry issues. He speaks frequently at industry events and, with CAPA’s analysts, presents private high‐level executive briefings to airlines, airports, suppliers and consultants.
His career in aviation comprises more than 40 years, in government and in industry, including two years with the Australian mission to the International Civil Aviation Organisation in Montreal and 10 years at a senior level in the International Air Transport Association, IATA in Geneva. He also spearheaded an aviation practice in a major Australian law firm for several years. Over the past 20 years with CAPA, he has conducted more than 200 consultancy projects in aviation, including airport privatisations, airline startups, strategy formulation and regulatory development and expert witness reports. He has authored and/or edited numerous reports on the aviation industry, including numerous comprehensive analyses of the global low cost airline industry, regional reports and most recently a 1,000 page 2014 World Aviation Yearbook.
Peter has been President of the Australian Aviation Council, President of the Aviation Law Association of Australia and New Zealand and IATA Travel Agency Commissioner.
Senior Vice President, Sales MEIA & Source Market Strategy
Pippa joined Shangri-La Group in 2018 based in Hong Kong. At the Group’s headquarters, she was responsible for the groups international sales efforts as well as Global Distribution Strategy. She relocated to Shangri-La’s Dubai hub in 2020, heading Sales and global source market for Middle East, India, Indian Ocean, Europe and Americas. Pippa is directly responsible for the company’s third party distribution strategy in addition to driving profitable share from all segments.
Pippa commands over 20 years’ experience in the hospitality industry across various markets. Her past leadership roles include spearheading the Leisure, Luxury, TMC & Airline strategy for Starwood Asia Pacific in addition to spearheading the dynamic migration of business for Starwood Hotels & Resort and then Marriott International.
CEO & Founder
In a career spanning 20 years in the hospitality industry; Puneet has worked in various hotel and corporate level roles in Marketing, Revenue Management and Distribution. He has been responsible for implementation of several strategic projects; ranging from Performance Marketing, New Hotel and Restaurant openings, Sales Systems, Automated Revenue Management System, Revenue Management Education, Pricing Reforms and implementation of Distribution Platforms.
Puneet is also involved in various industry wide initiatives. He serves as the Asia Pacific Chair to the HSMAI Revenue Management Advisory Board and has successfully completed 2 terms as the Asia Pacific Chair on the Board of Directors of Hotel Electronic Distribution Networking Association (HEDNA). Puneet also served as a member of the Leading Hotels of the World International Rooms, Revenue Management and Distribution Advisory Board.
Puneet is passionate about education and training and has been external/visiting faculty of Revenue Management to leading business schools such as Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, SP Jain, Dubai and also involved with the Cornell NUS and SIT on projects and roundtables.
Puneet has personal investments in several successful Restaurant and Bar projects that have established themselves among the most successful brands and gives him a first hand insight as a quintessential entrepreneur.
Co-Founder & Group CEO
Rajesh Magow is the Co-Founder & Group Chief Executive Officer of MakeMyTrip Limited, the holding company of India’s leading travel brands MakeMyTrip, Goibibo and redBus. A part of the founding team that built MakeMyTrip ground up, Rajesh is a believer of India’s digital opportunity and a backer of many young Indian tech companies that are raring to make their mark.
An internet industry veteran with a demonstrated history of working at the intersection of India’s booming consumer technology and tourism sector, Rajesh is passionate about transforming business using tech and creating disproportionate value for customers.
Rajesh played a key role in executing a successful merger between MakeMyTrip and Ibibio group. He has also led the initial public offering of MakeMyTrip, with successful listing on NASDAQ in the US in 2010. He is a recipient of many awards, including the Bloomberg Award for the Best CFO in India in 2010.
Rajesh also serves as Director on the board of Flipkart. He has earlier served as the CFO and acting CEO for the India operations of eBookers.com, now part of Travelport.
SVP, Business Development, MENA
Remo Giovanni Abbondandolo
Remo Giovanni Abbondandolo is the SVP of Business Development at Checkout.com for the MENA region. Prior to joining Checkout.com Remo led the Middle East expansion for Travelstart. Previously, Remo helped found Africa Internet Accelerator (one of Naspers’ investments), which launched three of the fastest growing e-commerce businesses in South Africa. He also worked at Rocket Internet Australia & South East Asia where he was a founding member of the team that launched leading e-commerce companies The Iconic, Zalora and Lazada.
Remo holds a Dual Master’s of Science in Management of Innovation and New Technology from Bocconi University and Copenhagen Business School.
Senior Director, Digital
Almosafer, part of Seera Group
Ronnie spent his early years winning national spelling bees and earning honours as a debate champion. But, his career has been spent making people’s lives better through technology. He has been a tech/management consultant at Workbrain (Infor), AT Kearney, and Axsium Group serving clients in North America, Australia, and Europe. In 2011, he raised angel investment and founded his first tech startup Veritasq. Veritasq went on to be acquired by a competitor in 2013.
In 2013, Ronnie co-founded and assumed the role of CEO at Polyform Labs. Polyform Labs was acquired in 2014 by Arlene Dickinson’s (Dragon’s Den) firm, Venture Communications, as its in-house Agile innovation practice and Ronnie was appointed as Sr. Director of Technology & PMO.
After taking a year off to be a full-time dad, Ronnie now serves the consumer travel Omnichannel team at Seera/Almosafer/Tajawal.
In and out of work, Ronnie is devoted to lifelong learning. He also gives back by mentoring and teaching life skills to individuals overcoming life challenges. He holds a Computer Engineering degree from UofT and an MBA from the Rotman School of Management.
CEO & Co-founder
Ross is CEO & Co-Founder at Wego, which is online travel marketplace that provides top ranked mobile apps and websites for users living in the APAC and MENA regions. Wego harnesses powerful technology that simplifies the process of searching, comparing and booking flights and hotels across hundreds of airlines, hotels and online travel agency websites. Wego is has dual-HQs in Singpaore and Dubai and is backed by top-tier investors including Tiger Global, Crescent Group, Square Peg Capital and the MBC Group.
Ross is a veteran of the Asian internet industry having established Yahoo!s Southeast Asian operations in Singapore back in 1998 and leading product development efforts across the region for 6+ years. He is also Singapore Co-Chair of H2, the premier global leadership network for the digital industry. Ross has been an active angel investor in the technology sector for a decade and enjoys working with other passionate entrepreneurs. He has worked in Sydney, Melbourne, London, Kuala Lumpur and is now splits his time between Singapore and Dubai. He travels frequently for business but not nearly enough for leisure.
Head of Information Technology
Sanjay recently joined Jumeirah Group as the Head of IT. He brings over 20 years of experience gained within Emirates Airlines where he held a variety of positions across the Information Technology environment.
He has a very extensive experience in leading broader Digital Transformation initiatives encompassing a wealth of innovation to both customer journey and organization infrastructure. He is passionate about Technology. In addition, he is an avid reader and loves running.
Director, Client Relationships
Sarah is STR’s director of client relationships and is based in London. She joined the HotelBenchmark team at Deloitte in 2005 as a Business Development Executive, later becoming an Account Manager responsible for a number of key international clients. Sarah regularly attends and presents at hotel operator and industry events, spreading greater awareness of STR’s benchmarking services. She has seven years of experience in hotel operations in Ireland and holds an honours degree in translation (German & Spanish) from Dublin City University.
In first person
I’m responsible for building and maintaining relationships with STR’s clients. Based in London, I regularly attend and present at hotel operator and industry events, spreading greater awareness of STR’s benchmarking services. I have over seven years of experience in hotel operations and have been with STR since 2008.
Stephan Ekbergh married father of 4, lives in Cape Town. Ex professional DJ for 10 years. Entrepreneur in Travel. Started the E-commerce revolution in Scandinavia 1999. Is now doing the same in Africa. Passion for releasing gifts and entrepreneurship with people. Writes and speaks about business, life and taking risks. Investor and active boardmember, also works with and finances non profits organization Thembalitscha foundation.
Chief Strategy Officer
Subramanya Sharma is responsible for the overall business strategy at Cleartrip and works closely as part of the Executive Team. Prior to Cleartrip, he has worked in Yahoo and Siemens, primarily in product management functions.
Mr. Sharma has an engineering degree from National Institute of Technology (NIT), Karnataka, and a Master’s degree from Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore (IIMB). A gold medallist from IIMB and a technology buff with a few patents, he enjoys parenting & solving crosswords in his free time.
Director, Market Strategy & Sales
Su Ramanathan is the Director of Market Strategy & Sales at Expo 2020 Dubai UAE. As a former Director at VisitBritain (British Tourist Authority), Su brings a wealth of destination development and marketing experience to Expo 2020 where she is responsible for driving visitation through global business promotional strategy and marketing campaigns focusing on travel verticals.
Su has over 12 years of experience in destination development and the tourism sector with VisitBritain and honed her expertise in various international locations including London, Dubai, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur. Her last role at VisitBritain was Director of Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa where she focused on strategic market development, partnerships with key airlines and travel entities, activation of brand partnerships, collaborative projects with diplomatic and government entities and pioneering marketing campaigns including celebrity and brand ambassadors programme in over 15 markets. Prior to VisitBritain, Su has had brief stints in banking, engineering and construction and held senior roles in the private tertiary education sector.
Su has a Bachelor of Economics (Honours) and a Masters in Information Management. She was recognised as one of the top 50 outstanding public sector staff in the UK BAME Public Sector List 2017 alongside the Mayor of London, Ministers, academicians and other public sector leaders. She is also a recipient of the EU-ASEAN (Asia Europe Institute) scholarship.
Director Asia Pacific, Middle East & Africa
Tricia Warwick MCIM
An internationally accomplished and polished, Sales and Marketing Director, with a proven track record of success, at C-suite level, with blue-chip organisations including British Airways, AEG Live, Utell International, and luxury hotel groups; Jumeirah Hotel Group, One & Only, Atlantis and Mazagan (Kerzner International).
Stellar network internationally across the travel and hospitality industries with C-level decision makers. A Fellow of the Institute of Travel and Tourism and Member of the Institute of Marketing.
As Visit Britain APMEA Director, her priorities for the region include: developing commercial partnerships, providing regional market analysis to improve Britain’s competitive position overseas and driving inspiration and conversion to visit and explore Britain through our consumer marketing.
Yeoh Siew Hoon
Yeoh Siew Hoon is the founder of WIT, launching it in Singapore in 2005 and going on to launch WIT editions across Asia Pacific. In 2016, WIT Europe made its debut in London, days after the Brexit vote.
WIT has won several awards including Most Innovative Marketing Initiative and Trade Conference Of The Year from the Singapore Tourism Board and in 2014, Siew Hoon was recognised Tourism Entrepreneur of The Year. A journalist by profession and passion, she’s also a speaker and facilitator at events around the world.
She’s also a published author of titles such as “Around Asia In One Hour: Tales of Condoms, Chillies & Curries” and children’s books such as “Adventures of Habibie The Turtle” and “The Story of Baitong and Boon”.