Keynote: Bruce Poon Tip
Founder, G Adventures
Passionate about the power of travel to change the world for the better, Bruce Poon Tip is a global leader in social entrepreneurship, immersive travel, and innovation. A visionary and travel and tourism industry trail blazer, he is best-known as the founder of G Adventures, the world’s largest small group adventure travel company and pioneer of community tourism. In 2003, with a vision that travel could be a force for social good and significant wealth distribution, Bruce also founded G Adventures’ nonprofit partner, Planeterra. Planeterra harnesses the power of the tourism supply chain to channel travellers’ dollars into underserved communities around the world.
Under Poon Tip’s leadership, G Adventures has been named by National Geographic Adventures Magazine as a best ‘Do It All Outfitter’ on Earth and is a six-time recipient of the Top 10 Employers for Young People, a lifetime platinum recipient of the 50 Best Managed Companies and for ten consecutive years was named as one of Canada’s fastest growing companies by Profit (magazine). G Adventures also received multiple Best Workplace Awards, as a result of employee surveys conducted by the Great Place to Work Institute.
Extolled for his exemplary work and contributions, in 2012 Bruce was inducted into the Social Venture Network Hall of Fame, joining celebrated entrepreneurs such as Richard Branson (Virgin Airlines), Anita Roddick (The Body Shop), and Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield (Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream). He was also awarded a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, which recognizes significant contributions to society, and named EY Entrepreneur of the Year in 2016, 2006 and 2002. In 2018, he was inducted into the British Travel and Hospitality Hall of Fame and honoured as one of AFAR USA’s ‘Travel Vanguards’ – a visionary travel industry leader who is changing the face of travel for the better. In 2019 he made his top 10 debut on Glassdoor’s Top CEOs in Canada list.
Poon-tip, the recipient of three honorary doctorates is a prolific writer and his first book, Looptail: How One Company Changed the World by Reinventing Business, released in 2013, became a New York Times Best Seller. In 2015, he released his second book, Do Big Small Things, a journal about life and travel that encourages readers to share their own inspirations and creativity. In 2020, he was honoured as one of Fast Company’s Most Creative People in Business and released a free instabook titled Unlearn: The Year the Earth Stood Still.
- Opening and Welcome Remarks
Dr. Andrew Spencer
Deputy Executive Director/Senior Lecturer, Mona School of Business and Management, University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona Campus
Dr. Andrew Spencer is currently Deputy Executive Director and Senior Lecturer at the Mona School of Business and Management at the UWI, Mona.
Most recently he served for four years as the Executive Director of the Tourism Product Development Company Limited, the agency responsible for the maintenance, development and enhancement of the tourism product in Jamaica, and the largest agency in the Ministry of Tourism.
He also served from 2013 to 2017, as the Director of the Centre for Hotel and Tourism Management (CHTM), University of the West Indies, Nassau Bahamas. His PhD thesis from Bournemouth University in the UK was awarded the Institute for Travel and Tourism (ITT) PhD Student of the Year- 2011/2012 award by the ITT Education and Training Committee in the United Kingdom.
His research record demonstrates over 50 scholarly publications, including 3 authored books with top international publishers. Dr. Spencer has consulted extensively with Caribbean nations on issues related to tourism development. He has also chaired and been a member of 12 public boards in Jamaica.
At present, he chairs the Governance Committee of the University Council of Jamaica, the University of the Commonwealth Caribbean’s Tourism Advisory Board and the Mona Inn and Conference Centre Ltd.
Senator Lisa Cummins
Barbados Minister of Tourism and International Transport and Chair of the CTO’s Ministerial Council
Minister Cummins was in May 2018 appointed by the Government of Barbados to serve as a Senator in the Upper House of Parliament. In September 2018, she was appointed Chairman of the Barbados Port Inc., and on July 23, 2020, she was invited to join the Cabinet of Barbados as Minister of Tourism and International Transport.
She was previously the Executive Director of the University of the West Indies Consulting Company from 2016 to 2020. A former career diplomat for ten years ranging from 1997 to 2008, she served at the Headquarters of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade where she covered the United Nations and was then posted to the Barbados Embassy in Washington DC.
An International Trade Specialist by training, she joined the Commonwealth Secretariat in 2008 as a Trade Policy Adviser and was posted to Uganda as lead technical adviser and a member of the negotiating team for services in the East African Community trade talks with Europe and the EAC Common Market, where she worked on projects in East and Southern Africa for several development partners including the World Bank, UNCTAD, the European Union and Trade Mark East Africa. She also led the negotiations for Uganda at the World Trade Organisation for the successfully concluded WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement.
Mrs. Cummins headed the Barbados Coalition of Service Industries, from 2013 to 2018 where she participated in the development of services standards for trade in services sectors, was a founding member of the Caribbean Coalition of Services Industries, and served on the national negotiating team for services and investment in the CARICOM – Canada Trade Negotiations.
She has served in multiple capacities, including as Past President of the Rotary Club of Barbados, past Assistant District Governor of Barbados for Rotary Regional District 7030 and on various boards regionally and internationally, including as member of the Advisory Board of the Shridath Ramphal Center for Trade Law and Policy. She is currently the Chairman of the Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO) and Vice President of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) Commission for the Americas.
The holder of an undergraduate degree in International Relations and Diplomacy (UWI Mona), a Master of Science in International Trade Policy (UWI Cave Hill), and a post graduate certificate in professional education from the Harvard Kennedy School of Public Policy on Public Private Partnerships. She is the proud mother of a 21-year-old daughter.
Professor Sir Hilary Beckles
Vice-Chancellor, University of the West Indies
Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, 8th Vice-Chancellor of The University of the West Indies is a distinguished academic, international thought leader, United Nations committee official, and global public activist in the field of social justice and minority empowerment.
He received his higher education in the United Kingdom and is Professor of Economic History. He has lectured extensively in Europe, the Americas, Africa and Asia. He has published over 100 peer reviewed essays in scholarly journals, and over 20 books on subjects ranging from Atlantic and Caribbean History, gender relations in the Caribbean, sport development and popular culture.
Sir Hilary is President of Universities Caribbean, Chairman of the Caribbean Examinations Council, Chairman of the CARICOM Reparations Commission and Advisor on Sustainable Development to former United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. He has had widespread global recognition for his academic achievements and leadership expertise, and was knighted by the Government of Barbados. He has received numerous honorary doctorates from around the world and recently received the Martin Luther King Jr. Peace and Freedom Award.
- Plenary Session 1: Social Inclusion
Moderator – Dr. Sherma Roberts
Senior Lecturer in Tourism & Programme Coordinator, M.Sc. Tourism Programmes, University of the West Indies (UWI), Cave Hill Campus
An alumnus of Brunel University (PhD), University of Surrey (MSc. distinction) and The University of the West Indies (BA History and Postgraduate Diploma, International Relations), Dr. Sherma Roberts is a Senior Lecturer in tourism at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus.
Having taught in the UK, she joined the Department of Management Studies in 2005, where she has worked hard to raise the profile of tourism education through the development of a suite of postgraduate tourism programmes relevant to the region; collaborating closely with the local and regional industry for internships and guest lectures; and the hosting the first UWI wide international tourism conference, creating the opportunity for students in the OECS to pursue undergraduate tourism programmes at Cave Hill.
In addition to teaching, she serves as Chair of the Tobago Tourism Agency and previously held positions as Chair of the Tourism Advisory Council in Barbados and Deputy Chair of the Barbados Tourism Product Authority. Dr. Roberts has also contributed to the public discourse on tourism as a speaker at various local and regional tourism fora and been instrumental in developing the participatory framework for the Tourism White Paper (2012-2021) in Barbados. Recently, she served as a panelist for the Caribbean Examinations Council developing the recently launched CAPE tourism syllabus and was Chief Examiner for the subject from 2014-2016.
Having written and presented papers in areas pertaining to community participation, corporate social responsibility, sustainable tourism, diaspora tourism, e-marketing and tourism entrepreneurship, Dr Roberts contributions to the tourism industry extends further in three co-edited books, and recently published Contemporary Caribbean Tourism: Concept and Cases- which will be used by tourism students throughout the Caribbean archipelago and beyond.
When she is not preparing lectures, writing a paper or answering student emails, she spends her time walking on the beach, planning the next house ‘lime’, pottering around her garden and travelling.
Dr. Anne P. Crick
Director JMMB Group and Lead Consultant, A –Z Jamaica Information Ltd
Dr. Anne P. Crick is a Senior Lecturer and former head of the Department of Management Studies and the Centre for Hospitality and Tourism Management at The University of the West Indies (UWI).
She is also a former Associate Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences. She holds a BSc degree in Hotel Management (UWI), an M.S. in Organizational Management (Pennsylvania State University) and a PhD in Organizational Management (Rutgers). She is also a trained facilitator.
Dr. Crick worked as a manager and trainer in several of Jamaica’s leading hotels before moving into academia. She currently lectures in Quality Service Management and the Behavioral Sciences. She has over 20 book chapters and articles relating to her field of work and has done numerous presentations locally and overseas.
She is a former director of the HEART Trust NTA and an advisor to the Jamaica Customer Service Association, and currently serves as a director of the JMMB Group and deputy Chair of the Board of Studies at the College of Insurance and Professional studies.
In 2007 Dr. Crick was made an honorary member of the Jamaica Institute of Management. Currently she is one of the consultants on the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO)’s Regional Human Resource Development Knowledge & Skills Audit Project.
Deputy Director, ILO Decent Work Team and Office for the Caribbean
Mr Lars Johansen, a Norwegian national, is the Deputy Director of the ILO Decent Work team and Office for the Caribbean, a post he has held since 15 November 2018.
He first joined the ILO as an Associate Expert in 1995, and has since worked in a number of positions, regions and areas including South East and Central Asia, Central America and the ILO Headquarters in Geneva.
Mr Johansen was Chief Technical Adviser in a number of development cooperation projects both in Central America and Central Asia, the former in a sub-regional project to promote social dialogue and the latter on child labour. At ILO Headquarters Mr Johansen was in charge of the regional desk for the Americas in the International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour (IPEC), and also served at what is today known as the Partnerships and Field Support (PARDEV) Department. In 2015 he joined the ILO’s Regional Office in Beirut as Chief of the Regional Programme Unit.
Mr Johansen has broad experience and understanding of a number of areas at the core of the ILO’s mandate such as social dialogue, child labour and international labour standards, as well as development cooperation activities. While in Beirut he worked extensively on the ILO’s role in the overall UN response to the refugee crisis particularly affecting Lebanon and Jordan, and its effect on the labour markets in the host countries with a focus on labour market policy advice, employment intensive infrastructure development and child labour.
Before joining the ILO, Mr Johansen was responsible for MENA, the Horn of Africa and India in the International Department of the Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions. He is a Social Anthropologist graduate from the University of Bergen in Norway.
Future Tourism Coordinator, United Nations Development Programme, Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean
Master’s graduated in International Relations and Diplomacy from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), the University of London, Miguel has a passion for international politics and development especially in the Caribbean and African regions.
In the Caribbean, Miguel has worked with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) for three years with a heavy focus on the response to natural hazards including Hurricanes Maria in Dominica and Dorian in The Bahamas.
Currently, his main area of work is the response to the COVID-19 crisis in the Eastern Caribbean region, leading the UNDP Future Tourism project that focuses on assisting MSMEs in their recovery from the pandemic. Away from the Caribbean, he also has experience in working in disaster relief and development in other regions, in countries like Albania or Madagascar.
Prior to his career in International Development, Miguel has 7 years of experience working in the healthcare sector in Spain and the UK.
O. A. Carey Turnquest
CHTA Young Leader and Director of Food and Beverage
The Cove Atlantis and The Reef Atlantis
O. A. Carey Turnquest is a hands-on and results-driven senior professional with over thirteen years of experience in the hospitality and tourism sector.
He holds an executive position in a leading resort in the Bahamas. Carey has led teams in the rooms and food and beverage fields and is committed to keeping his employees engaged while delivering on unique, lasting memories for his customers.
He also serves as an adjunct professor in the School of Business and Hospitality Studies at the University of the Bahamas. He is a member of the Young Leaders Forum in the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA), a selected group of emerging hoteliers from around the region under the age of 45.
Carey holds a Bachelor of Arts (BA) with honors from Brown University and a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Liverpool, as well as post-graduate certificates from Cornell University. Conversational in French and Portuguese, Carey is also fluent in Spanish and loves to travel and meet people from around the globe.
An active youth leader in his local assembly East Street Gospel Chapel, he enjoys working with and mentoring young people. Carey is married to the former Kendira Beneby, and they have a two-year-old son Ben.
- Plenary Session 2: Sustainability: The Future Colour of Money
Moderator – Maria Fowell
Senior Technical Specialist – Tourism
Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Commission
Maria Fowell is tourism management professional with twenty over (20) years’ experience in the tourism industry in Saint Lucia, including five (5) years of policy formulation and implementation at a national level. Maria has ten (10) years’ experience leading corporate marketing and internal communications in the financial services sector within the Eastern Caribbean, supporting cross-functional teams in the implementation of strategic plans.
Maria has a BSc in Tourism Management from the University of the West Indies and an MSc in Marketing from the University of Leicester in the UK. Her skills include tourism planning & administration, community tourism initiatives, and event management. Experienced also in brand strategy and market research, Maria is a member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing, UK.
Maria, a Saint Lucian national, currently holds the position of Senior Technical Specialist Tourism at the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Commission. In pursuit of the organization’s vision of a better quality of life for the people of the OECS, she is committed to sustainable tourism development and achieving balanced growth through tourism.
Deputy Director, Caribbean Division
The Nature Conservancy
Marci has worked in international management positions for The Nature Conservancy since 2003. She currently oversees the execution and promotion of the Caribbean Division’s regional conservation strategies around marine protection, climate adaptation, and coral restoration by leading a team that implements conservation initiatives in 17 countries and territories.
She was previously the Conservancy’s Regional Director of Marketing for Latin America, where she led strategic partnerships and the multi-country expansion of the Conservancy’s marketing program there.
Prior to the Conservancy, Marci worked for an educational non-profit organization in Santiago, Chile, and in commercial real estate and public relations in Atlanta. She has an International M.B.A. from the University of South Carolina’s Moore School of Business and a B.A. in English from Emory University.
Dr. Joanne Tull
Lecturer and Academic Co-ordinator, Carnival Studies Unit, Dept. of Creative and Festival Arts, University of the West Indies
Dr. Jo-anne Tull is an academic, a researcher and consultant in Caribbean creative economy development with particular interest in festival statistics, cultural heritage and development, cultural industries impacts and creative entrepreneurship and strategy.
She is currently completing two manuscripts – one on the Caribbean creative and cultural economy – “Caribbean Cultural Economy Anthology” with Dr. Deborah Hicklng-Gordon (forthcoming UWI Press); and the other, a digital text “The Business of the Arts CAPE Guide” with Mr. Farley Joseph. She has also written and published in the area of festival/event evaluation and cultural resources.
Dr. Tull is currently the Academic Coordinator of the undergraduate Carnival Studies programme as well as the post-graduate diploma ACEM (Arts, Cultural and Enterprise Management) at the Department of Creative and Festival Arts, University of the West Indies St. Augustine Campus. At the undergraduate level she teaches the economics of culture, enterprise internships for the arts, festival management, festival project and cultural research methods; and at the post-graduate level – Arts, Culture and Society, and Project Development.
Executive Director, Environmental Resource Institute of Charlotteville, Tobago – MPhil. Bio. hon. PMP, PADI MSDT, Reef Check Eco Diver Trainer
As a senior expert with broad experience in Caribbean SIDS, Aljoscha Wothke is the main technical expertise in facilitating innovative stakeholder collaborations regarding sustainable green & blue economy, responsible tourism, protected area management, environmental resource management, marine and terrestrial conservation, and organisational capacity building.
He is a founding Director of Northeast Tobago’s most outstanding ENGO and has been project lead in award- winning interventions.
He was the team leader for drafting the technical documents for NE Tobago’s successful nomination as a UNESCO Man and the Biosphere Reserve, lead on drafting the dossier to list Tobago’s Main Ridge Forest Reserve as Trinidad and Tobago’s first Natural National Heritage Site.
Currently he is the technical lead in drafting the 10-year management plan as well as the Sustainable Shark and Ray Management Plan for North-East Tobago`s MaB Reserve. In 2021, Mr Wothke received the National Environmental Achiever Green Leaf Acknowledgement by the Environmental Management Authority, Trinidad and Tobago and was appointed as a Member of the National Council for Sustainable Development of Trinidad and Tobago by the Minister of Planning and Development.
Diannille Taylor Williams
Deputy Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, Transport and Ports, St. Kitts & Nevis
Diannille has been a St. Kitts tourism professional for over 20 years. Mrs. Taylor-Williams holds a Diploma in Hotel & Tourism Management from UWI as well as certifications in Human Resources Management, Tourism Projects in Rural Areas and Community Development in Tourism.
She is currently an advisory board member for the St. Christopher National Trust, former director of the St Christopher Air & Sea Ports Authority (SCASPA) board, former Chairperson of the CTO’s Sustainable Tourism Technical Committee, and the immediate past Chair of the ACS Special Committee on Sustainable Tourism. Mrs Williams has also served as Chair of the St. Kitts and Nevis Tourism and Related Services Technical Committee on Standards (TC2).
As Assistant Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Tourism, Mrs. Taylor-Williams liaises with the private and public sectors to ensure a successful and responsible tourism product. She has dedicated her professional life to tourism in St. Kitts and has been an integral part of the Ministry of Tourism since 1995. She serves as the focal point for the St. Kitts Sustainable Tourism development program as well as the Chair of the St. Kitts Sustainable Destination Council (SDC) which won the 2019 WTTC Tourism for Tomorrow Award in Destination Stewardship. She is also a representative of the Heart of St. Kitts Foundation.
Diannille believes that work in sustainable tourism is “Good for us, better for all” and integral to any and all tourism development. She lives by edict of Martin Luther King Jr: “Whatever your life work is, do it well.”.
- Plenary Session 3: Smart Destinations and Businesses
Moderator – Frank Comito
Special Advisor and Former CEO/DG
Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA)
With 40 years of experience in economic development, organization management, government affairs, project management, workforce development, research, and in providing business and investor support in The Bahamas, the United States, the U.S. Virgin Islands and the Caribbean, Frank Comito has held the positions of CEO and Director General for the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) until January 2021, and the Executive Vice President for the Bahamas Hotel and Tourism Association for 10+ years.
Whilst he still serves as a part time Special Advisor to CHTA and provides support services to the industry and governments in the region, his contributions have led the private sector’s regional efforts on marketing, advocacy, tourism development, crisis readiness and response.
A key player in the revitalization of the city of Nassau since 1998, Frank’s service as Deputy Chairman of the Nassau Airport Development Company contributed to a $410 million investment in upgrading the airport and subsequently gained his title a Lifetime Director for the Downtown Nassau Partnership, an organization which he founded in 2008.
The beauty, people, diversity, history, and culture of the Caribbean, especially the 28 destinations and 15 major islands in the Bahamas he occasionally visits are an avid love for Frank. But apart from his island interests, his Bahamian wife Donna and two children are his greatest loves.
Prof. Lloyd Waller
Executive Director, Global Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management Centre
Prof. Lloyd Waller is a Professor of Digital Transformation Policy and Governance. Professor Waller is currently the Executive Director of the Global Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management Centre headquartered in Jamaica, with offices in Africa, the Middle East, Asia, and the Mediterranean.
Prof Waller has a Bachelor of Science in International Relations and Political Science (Double Major) and a Master of Science in Sociology of Development with a focus on electronic commerce, both these degrees are from the University of the West Indies, Jamaica.
Professor Waller also has a Ph.D. in Social Policy from the University of Waikato, New Zealand with a focus on methodologies for evaluating the impact of electronic tourism (e-tourism). Professor Waller’s areas of research include Big Data Analytics and Advanced Research Methods, Digital Transformation Policies and Practices, Tourism Resilience, Democracy and Electronic Governance, Behavioral Science as well as Development Studies.
In the last 15 years, Professor Waller has worked with several international organizations as well as global businesses on over 100 cross-national projects. Prof Waller also sits on several local, regional, and international boards and committees and has published well over 100 books, book chapters, academic journals, conference papers as well as technical reports.
Business Intelligence Manager, Curaçao Tourist Board
Christine Campagnard is a Curaçao native with 18 years’ experience in Information and Analytical Systems. She holds a Business Mathematics degree from the Amsterdam University of Applied Science. She began her career in the Insurance & Bank sector in the Netherlands and decided to change course 12 years ago to continue her career in the Tourism Sector. A decision with no regrets. Her passion for tourism in combination to analyze data and love for her native country stimulates her to drive the tourism development of Curaçao.
Ms. Campagnard currently holds the position of Business Intelligence Manager at the Curaçao Tourist Board. In 2015, she successfully introduced the digitalization of the Immigration process for visitors, where the objective is to create the ultimate visitors’ experience upon arrival. Her constant focus is to deliver service to the visitor and to return value to the organization by utilizing the visitors’ data insights. Because of her effort and vision, the sector is able to make data driven decisions.
Under her management, Curaçao make use of different data analytics systems, being able to share active dashboards on history and predictive tourist data. The visitors’ experience is constantly measured with the use of all the tools in place. Christine is currently working on another interesting project that will level up the use of tourist data to another dimension.
Her expertise was key during the pandemic. She projected the economic consequences of the pandemic for the Government of Curaçao, therefore tourism recovery and to get back to the pre-pandemic tourist performance is important. She has been working alongside the Health Department to reopen the destination in a safe and responsible way. Today she is one of the experts who advise and manage the entry process for travelers. Christine collaborates in most of the islands’ projects that support the safety of the island. Presently she is also guiding the digitalization of Covid protection for the local community.
Dr. Lisa Indar, PhD, MSc, BSc.
Director, Surveillance, Disease Prevention and Control Division
Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA)
Dr. Indar is an innovative public health scientist specializing in infectious diseases, travellers’ health, and food safety. She has 18 years regional and international experience in in managing and executing regional public health surveillance and response programs; with robust leadership, multidisciplinary technical expertise (epidemiology, microbiology, food safety, environmental health), health diplomacy, communications, implementation, capacity building, resource mobilization. She has a PHD (with high commendation), MSc (Distinction) and a BSc (Honors).
Dr. Indar is the Director of Surveillance Diseases Prevention and Control Division at CARPHA, responsible for directing, coordinating, and managing public health surveillance and response activities related to conditions of regional and international importance. She is currently the technical lead for CARPHA’s, comprehensive, multi-facted regional’s health response to the COVID-19 pandemic, working with CARICOM, Heads of Government, Agencies, international, regional, and national multisectoral stakeholders to keep the Caribbean safe and promote a safe economic recovery. Dr. Indar also leads the Regional Tourism and Health (THP), an innovative program that is addressing the health, safety, and environmental sanitation threats to tourism, with the aim of strengthening regional and national health systems to enhancing the health of visitors and locals and thereby promote sustainable tourism and economic resilience. Recently, under Dr. Indar’s guidance, regional guidelines for resuming travel to the Caribbean and a comprehensive package of Proactive COVID-19 tourism measures to build assurance among the travellers that the Caribbean is healthier safer choice as travel resumes were developed.
The Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) is the sole integrated regional public health agency in the Caribbean, responsible for preventing disease, promoting, and protecting health in the Caribbean through leadership innovation and partnerships. CARPHA serves 26 member countries and is currently leading the Caribbean’s health response for the COVID-19 pandemic.
Alvaro Carrillo de Albornoz
Instituto Tecnológico Hotelero
Aeronautical Engineer from Madrid PoliTech. and Executive MBA from the Instituto de Empresa. He began his professional career in the 90s in the world of aeronautical consulting, and brings a global vision towards innovation and technology after 8 years in ENDESA (utility company) in the directions of R+D+i and Corporate Strategy and 14 years in the tourism sector.
Since 2008 he has directed the Instituto Tecnológico Hotelero (ITH), improving the competitiveness of the hotel sector through innovation and technology. He is also director of the Technological Platform of Tourism; ThinkTur, president of the association eAPyme (for the digital transformation of SMEs) and as an associate professor in the area of Strategy of the Instituto de Empresa.
He also collaborates as an expert with the European Commission in the definition of a European standard for R&D&I management in CEN / TC 389. In Spain, he is a member of the Tourism Council, of the Sustainability, Digital Agenda and R&D&I Commission of CEOE and of the UNE working groups CTN 166 (Innovation Management), CTN 178 (Smart Cities) and CTN 182 (Hotels and tourist apartments).
- Summary Proceedings
Acting Secretary General, CTO
Neil Walters is the Acting Secretary General of the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO). While acting as the organization’s chief executive officer, Mr. Walters oversees the CTO’s operations and leads the organization’s initiatives to strengthen tourism’s role as a major contributor to the economic development of the Caribbean.
His responsibilities include delivering the CTO’s mission as the Caribbean’s tourism development agency; fostering relations with the tourism industry’s key stakeholders; and providing specialized services and technical support to member governments and a variety of private sector members in the areas of advocacy and representation, marketing, human resource development, communication, research and statistics, information technology and sustainable tourism development.
Mr. Walters joined the CTO in 2000 as Accountant in the Finance & Resource Management Department, after working in different areas of public accounting and finance in Barbados. In 2009, he was appointed Director of Finance & Resource Management of the CTO, responsible for the financial management of the organization, and providing counsel on the efficient utilization of the organization’s funds.
- Panel Discussion: New Frontiers for Greater Caribbean Tourism
Moderator – Mr. Kennedy Pemberton
Adviser, Directorate for Trade and Sustainable Development, Association of Caribbean States (ACS)
Mr. Kennedy Pemberton is a citizen of St. Kitts & Nevis, who having had the opportunity to represent his country at the 2002 Regional Tourism Youth Congress, credits the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) with exposing him to tourism as a career path.
Kennedy Pemberton is a multiple scholarship recipient receiving awards from the British Council, the Organisation of the American States (OAS), and the Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO). He holds a B.Sc. International Tourism Management (Honours) from UWI – St. Augustine, and a M.Sc. Tourism Development (Distinction from the University of Surrey – United Kingdom.
Within the last five (5) years Kennedy has crafted project proposals that helped raise in excess US $1.5 Million for regional tourism development, and supported some 15 projects at national and regional levels. Kennedy has provided management support to donor-funded initiatives like the ‘Climate Smart and Sustainable Caribbean Tourism Industry’ Project funded by the Caribbean Development Bank, and the ‘Innovation for Tourism Expansion and Diversification’ Project, funded by the Compete Caribbean Partnership Facility.
Through his current role at the Association of Caribbean States continues to drive regional initiatives that position the Greater Caribbean as a responsible destination region, including COVID-19 recovery programming within the area of Tourism Safety Security and Resilience.
Maynor G. Larrieu
Associate Market Manager, Expedia Group Lodging Partner Services, Expedia Inc
Maynor Larrieu is an enthused digital marketer, speaker, trainer, digital media strategist, and an award-winning photographer who enjoys travel. He is currently the Associate Market Manager for the Expedia Group and has spent the last two years in this position. Maynor has enjoyed eighteen years serving in the tourism industry. In his early days, he worked as a Tour Operations Manager and later served as the Marketing Director for the Belize Tourism Industry Association (BTIA) before becoming Digital Marketing Manager at the Belize Tourism Board.
With over 10 years in Digital Marketing experience in Belize and abroad Maynor has worked with many local resorts, restaurants, tour operators, and other organizations.
Maynor has had the pleasure to be a distinguished speaker at many international conferences, including the CAMACOL Hemispheric Congress in Miami, Guatemala Tourism Congress, Tourism Marketing Congress in Nicaragua and an annual speaker at BTB’s Belize’s Digital Marketing Summit. Staying up to date in social media and digital marketing in hospitality is his passion.
As a Digital Marketing Trainer, Maynor has developed and delivered numerous workshops including, Content is King, BTB Social Media Workshop, BTIA Marketing Seminar, BTIA Professional Business Behavior, Cancun Travel Mart Tradeshow, and numerous Belize presentations in Latin America amongst others.
Maynor currently holds a double major Bachelors of Art, in International Marketing, and International Commerce. He is currently transitioning his degree completion to Boston University, Master of Science in International Marketing Management program. Certified Google Analytics consultant and an avid designer and front end web developer.
During his spare time, he enjoys travelling with his family also values giving back to the community as an active Rotarian. He enjoys helping and mentoring passionate and hard-working youths to reach their full potential.
Maynor pretty much sums up his career and finds his daily motivation with the following: “Your special sauce is based on hard work and dedication”.
Alejandro Restrepo Marino
Manager Security & Facilitation The Americas
AMERICAS-Regional Airport, Passenger, Cargo and Security, IATA
Alejandro Restrepo Marino holds a Civil Law Degree from Universidad del Rosario (Bogotá, Colombia, 2005), with legal studies from Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (Madrid, Spain, 2003), and an LL.M. in Air and Space Law from McGill University (Montreal, Canada, 2009).
With more than 12 years of professional experience, Mr. Restrepo has practiced law for prestigious law firms in Colombia and acted as Legal Assistant Director for the Colombian Air Transport Association in Bogotá.
Mr. Restrepo joined IATA as part of the Security and Facilitation team (September 2009 – September 2020). During this tenure, Mr. Restrepo held various positions and was responsible for driving industry policies and procedures to combat acts of unlawful interference against civil aviation while supporting the implementation of global best practices on facilitation processes both on a global scale from Montreal HQ and within the Americas region from Miami.
As of October 2020, Mr. Restrepo transitioned to the Member and External Relations department for the Americas. Under his new responsibilities, and as part of the Americas Restart Core team, he is mainly focused in addressing the challenges member airlines face due to the COVID-19 pandemic and acts as a key liaison with governments throughout the region to ensure the safe and efficient restart of operations.
Acting CEO & Director General, Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association
Vanessa Ledesma is the Acting Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Director General of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA). Over her 25-year career in association management, beginning as a meeting planner, she has amassed impressive management and leadership experience in addition to extensive knowledge of the Caribbean tourism industry.
She joined the Caribbean Hotel Association (now CHTA) in 1999 where she managed and developed events and shepherded the association’s volunteer team. In 2014, Vanessa assumed responsibility for the organization’s operations. She was appointed Chief Operating Officer the following year, creating history as the first woman to hold an executive position within the Caribbean trade association. Born and raised in Puerto Rico, Vanessa now resides in Florida. She loves the mountains, the Boston Red Sox, and is a proud PANK (Professional Aunt, No Kids).
The Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association (CHTA) is the Caribbean’s leading association representing the interests of the region’s private sector. For more than 55 years, CHTA has been the backbone of the Caribbean hospitality industry. Working with some 1,000 hotel and allied members, and 33 National Hotel Associations, CHTA is shaping the Caribbean’s future and helping members to grow their businesses.
Denise Urias Levy
Environmental Specialist, Inter-American Development Bank (IDB)
Denise Levy has a broad range of experience on environmental and social policy and environmental management issues in Latin America.
She has focused on land use planning and land conservation financing, as well as strategic environmental impact assessments. In the past 10 years she has pursued more deeply sustainable tourism and its interface with biodiversity conservation and climate change.
Prior to joining the Bank, Denise Levy was a private lands conservation program manager with The Nature Conservancy in Brazil. She holds a Law Degree from Federal University of Parana, Brazil, a Ph.D. in Public Policy Analysis from the University of Illinois at Chicago, and a M.S. on Environmental Sciences and Policy from Johns Hopkins University.
Currently she is a Senior Environmental Specialist at the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), Washington, D.C.
- Closing Remarks
Dr. Acolla Lewis-Cameron
Dean, Faculty of Social Sciences-University of the West Indies, St. Augustine Campus
Acolla is currently Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of the West Indies (UWI), St. Augustine, Trinidad.
Her educational achievements include a MSc. Hospitality and Tourism Education from the University of Surrey, UK and a PhD in Tourism from Brunel University in the UK. Her research interests include tertiary tourism education administration and curriculum development, tourism planning in Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and destination marketing in SIDS.
She is the lead editor of text, “Marketing Island Destinations: Concepts and Cases” and co-author of the text “Caribbean Tourism: Concepts and Cases.