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Meet our experts
Mike Yates

Michael Yates

Tourism Planning, Travel Distribution, Destination Marketing

Mike Yates has spent more than 20 years creating successful tourism strategies and solutions for companies and governments in the Asia Pacific region.

He has an intimate understanding of the business and cultural dynamics of the Asia Pacific region, having lived and worked in Sydney, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Singapore and Bangkok.

Mike grows travel brands, builds commercial alliances and develops differentiated product and service offerings. He helps companies rethink their business models in the face of disruptive technologies and rapidly changing market dynamics.

Most recently, he has been focusing on travel technology and distribution with one of the world’s leading travel commerce platforms. He also writes and speaks about industry trends and issues.

Some of Mike’s notable projects include developing a tourism marketing strategy for ASEAN; establishing partnerships with global brands Disney, Visa and CNN; driving a post-SARS recovery campaign leveraging private and public sector funding to regenerate travel to the APAC region; and managing destination brand communications for Singapore and Australia.

Hans Van Eenennaam

Hans van Eenennaam

Quality and Cost Control, Value Management, Executive Search

Hans van Eenennaam attended the École Hôtelière in Lausanne in Switzerland and Cornell University (Advanced Management Program).

He earned a Master’s in Business Administration from Erasmus University (Netherlands) and the University of Rochester (USA). He held management positions at various international hotels before acquiring Hotel De Keizerskroon in the Netherlands in 1978, transforming the four-star hotel into a dynamic and successful international five-star property.

In 1997 he was appointed by Royal Command to the position of Marshal of the Court of Her Majesty the Queen. Between 1998 and mid-2008 he organised some twenty-five incoming and outgoing State Visits, many Official Visits, State Funerals and many other events at various palaces, in the Netherlands and abroad.

Under his supervision, the Department of the Marshal of the Court and its staff of over 100 organised a large number of private events for the entire royal family, including seven royal weddings, birthdays, christening ceremonies and hunting parties.

On 1 July 2008, the day after he stepped down from his post, Her Majesty the Queen appointed him Honorary Chamberlain by Royal Command.

With his background as an entrepreneur and general manager of an international hotel chain, his 20+ years of operational hotel experience and 10 years as a royal appointee, Hans van Eenennaam is a skilled people manager and, as such, an asset to various boards and organisations or in an executive capacity.

The Okura Hotel Group, the Boston Consulting Group, the International Hotel Groups and Lefay Resort & Spa belong to his recent clients.

Michael Sagild

Michael Sagild

Asset and Brand Management, M&A, Executive Search

Michael is a global hospitality specialist with over twenty-­eight years of hotel experience across four continents. As a seasoned senior executive he has extensive brand management, development and asset management experience.

Having worked in most markets, Michael’s professional network of owners, investors, consultants, developers and other hospitality professionals is extensive and up-­to-­date, with strong peer relationships across the industry.

Michael is a specialist advisor for owners and developers of prime global hotel assets based in Bangkok, Thailand but his area of expertise is global. He provides highly bespoke advisory services on project development strategy, conceptualization, and brand selection with a major focus on mixed‐use projects, integrated resorts and tourism development strategies.

Michael’s particular expertise is assisting hotel and resort owners with repositioning strategies, asset enhancements, disposal strategies and acquisitions. Expert in formulating USPs, competitive positioning and branding strategy, he is also called on for operator selection, owner's representation and board director positions.

Michael most recently held the position of Managing Director Asia Pacific Development for MGM Hospitality and prior to this was Chief Executive Officer of Stein Group International where he was responsible for directing all aspects of the strategy, growth, and worldwide expansion for Stein Group International, Luxury Lifestyle Hotels and LUX magazine.

Prior to this, Michael held the position as Chief Operating Officer for Minor Hotels and Resorts in Bangkok, Thailand where he was responsible for the worldwide functions of the development, hotel, marketing and sales divisions.

Before joining Minor Hotels and Resorts, Michael led the Asia Pacific region for Le Meridien Hotels and Resorts. He has also had extensive experience in hotel operations in the Asia Pacific region with Hyatt and Shangri-La.

Michael is a graduate from École Hôtelière de Lausanne, Switzerland and completed the Advanced Management program at Cornell University.

Sheila Leong

Sheila Leong

Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions - Asia and the Americas

Ms Leong has been closely associated with the travel industry for twenty years.

In 2011, Sheila formed EON Events (S) Pte Ltd in Singapore which she fully owns and operates. EON Events offers value-added tactical, advisory and consultancy services in events management, business services and special projects. EON Events serves clients who are eager to gain access to the largely untapped and undiscovered Southeast Asian region.

Since its inception, EON Events has assisted BBC Asia (Mumbai office), India; Cruise Asia Ltd, Thailand; Fairfest Media Ltd, India; Macau Government Tourist Office, Macau SAR; Travel Impact Newswire, Thailand; TTG Asia Media, Singapore; VNU Exhibitions Asia Pacific, Thailand; and more recently, Singapore Tourism Board (Bangkok office) in achieving their goals.

In her fifteen years with PATA, Sheila organised the association’s Travel Mart, the association’s well respected Annual Conference, the niche Adventure Travel and Responsible Tourism event, and a brand new CEO-focused leadership forum, the PATA CEO Challenge in 2008.

Before joining PATA, Sheila worked through managerial ranks at Franco-Asia Travel, Shangri-La’s Rasa Sentosa Resort and Reed Exhibitions in Singapore.

Peter Ton

Peter Ton

Concept Development, Feasibility, Site Assessment

Peter Ton's professional roots are in the IT industry in the Netherlands. In the 1980's he founded and managed a successful software company with clients in Europe and North America.

After he successfully sold the company, he moved to Thailand and founded a real estate development company.

Widely regarded as one of Thailand's finest high-end residential villa projects, Peter designed, built and now manages 'Baan Ing Phu', an award-winning private estate of 50 luxurious pool villas with an organic cuisine restaurant, state-of-the-art gym, health spa and sports facility.

Having completed Baan Ing Phu, Peter Ton now advises and plans high-end real estate developments for international clients.

His strengths include site assessment and concept development, coordination with architects, designers and contractors, quality and cost control and value management.

In all his projects, Peter tries to integrate strong elements of wellness, since he believes that healthy life style choices will greatly influence our quality of life and personal sense of well-being.

Ken Scott

Ken Scott

Corporate Communications, PR and Reputation Management

Ken is a travel industry communications specialist. Based in UK, with an office in Bangkok.

He delivers PR and communication services to travel industry brands in Asia, Australia and UK.

A travel journalist in Asia 1986-2000, Ken became Manager then Director of Communications at PATA, the Pacific Asia Travel Association, in Bangkok, where he played a key role in communications in the SARS, Bali bomb and 2004 tsunami crises 2000-2006.

He set up ScottAsia Communications in 2006 and has serviced dozens of globally recognised travel related brands since.

Bill Calderwood

Bill Calderwood

Master Planning, Strategic Alliances, Destination Marketing

Bill Calderwood is a seasoned senior tourism executive with over 33 years experience in running major organisations and global networks across government, private and NGO sectors.

A respected CEO, he has run major corporations throughout Asia and Australasia, and has extensive experience in the fields of international inbound tourism, international associations, greenfield start up of tourism attractions, travel wholesaling, retail, marketing, regional development and strategic planning.

Bill possesses an impressive network in the tourism industry, airlines and government sectors throughout Asia Pacific.

As the Deputy Managing Director of the Australian Tourism Commission from 1995 to 2001, Bill led their strategic planning, market development, branding, research, industry development, airline negotiation, online development for brand and product distribution and their international trade and consumer marketing teams, and was part of the senior team which drove the tourism interface with the Sydney Olympics.

He is now the principal of The Ayre Group, a specialist Asia Pacific tourism consultancy, and has undertaken projects with various international, national, state and regional government bodies on strategic tourism development, and is recognised for his ability to deliver relevant insight, which comes from his considerable practical experience.

In addition to his extensive government work, his clients also include large hotel chains, regional development bodies, and industry associations.

Recent consulting assignments have included strategic planning projects for ASEAN, and the appointment by CBI, a division of the Dutch Foreign Ministry, as the Tourism Expert working with the industry in Bhutan and Nepal.

Jens Thraenhart

Jens Thraenhart

Travel Technology, Digital Marketing, Public-Private Partnerships

Jens Thraenhart was appointed by the tourism ministries of Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and China (Yunnan and Guanxi) to head the Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office (MTCO) as its Executive Director.

Jens Thraenhart is founder & president of Digital Innovation Asia (DIA), an initiative endorsed by the UNWTO, ASEAN, and PATA and NTOs in Asia, building digital capacity from social to mobile in the travel and tourism industry in Asia Pacific, including innovative initiatives such as E-Tourism Asia, E-Tourism China, Blogger Match-Up, and Digital Aid Asia.

He also founded China Travel Trends, as well as award-winning China digital marketing firm Dragon Trail in 2009, and has led marketing and Internet strategy teams with the Canadian Tourism Commission and Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, and has consulted for many global companies.

Educated at Cornell University with a Masters of Management in Hospitality, Mr. Thraenhart was recognised as one of the travel industry’s top 100 rising stars by Travel Agent Magazine in 2003, was listed as one of HSMAI’s 25 Most Extraordinary Sales and Marketing Minds in Hospitality and Travel in 2004 and 2005, and named as one of the Top 20 Extraordinary Minds in European Travel and Hospitality in 2014.

A UNWTO Affiliate Member, and Chair of PATA China, he founded the Annual China Responsible Tourism Forum & Awards in 2011.

A dual citizen of Germany and Canada, Jens now lives between Beijing, China and Bangkok, Thailand.

Susan Goldstein

Susan Goldstein

Youth and Student Travel, MICE - Europe and the Americas

Susan is an independent consultant and a 30 year career veteran in the youth and student travel industry.

Susan began her career in international youth and student travel at KILROY travels in 1984. During her fifteen-year tenure at KILROY, she established a global service network, spanning 175 service centers in 86 countries, and maintained the international system of own offices and independent agencies that distributed KILROY travels product worldwide.

In 1999 Susan joined FIYTO, the Federation of International Youth Travel Organizations as Director of the association’s annual conference and trade show, WYSTC. The joint event for FIYTO and its sister organization ISTC, the International Student Travel Confederation, employed Susan’s skills to build the premier forum for the global youth and student travel industry.

Three years later Susan became Director General of FIYTO and its subsidiary associations, consolidating their memberships and services; expanding their reciprocal trading opportunities; enlarging their advocacy footprint within parallel educational and mainstream markets; and most importantly successfully steering the organization through its merger with sister organization ISTC to create the world’s largest single voice for the youth and student travel segment, the WYSE Travel Confederation.

Susan then went on to become the Managing Director of the WYSE Travel Confederation’s new, wholly-owned event company, WYSTC A/S, trading platform for the confederation and its associations, as well as organizer of its two annual events, WYSTC and WETM.

Under her leadership WYSTC A/S grew the organization’s presence on the global scene significantly and established long-term collaborations with many leading parallel travel bodies. Strong reciprocal ties were established with associations such as ICEF, ITB, PATA, SYTA and virtually all national tourism bodies, active in the youth and student arena.

Currently, Susan provides a wide range of strategic planning, business management, and mentoring and coaching services to commercial companies. She also advises trade events such as ITB on meeting architecture and program planning, and regularly presents and moderates at industry events such as ITB, ICEF, SYTA, GIC, English UK and the Class of 2020.

Focusing more recently on international education and study abroad, particularly international internships, Susan now also advises universities and colleges on the networks and events that enable them to successfully transition into new emerging source markets and to take advantage of existing forums to speed their trajectory.

Peter de Jong

Peter de Jong

Corporate Strategy, Executive Search, Public-Private Partnerships

In late 2008, Peter de Jong founded ‘Travel and Tourism Strategies, Inc’. (TTSI) and serves as its Senior Partner.

Through a global network of seasoned experts, TTSI provides strategic advice and corporate support to travel, tourism and hospitality leaders in the public and private sectors.

From 2001 to 2008, de Jong served as President and CEO of the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA), and provided visionary leadership to enhance the growth, value and quality of the Pacific Asia travel and tourism industry.

He positioned PATA as the recognised industry authority, creating a powerful advocacy platform to position, promote and protect Asia Pacific travel and tourism.

During his tenure, PATA significantly increased its membership and trade fair revenues, initiated global recovery campaigns (SARS, tsunami, Bali), restructured PATA's offices in Europe, USA and Australia and opened new offices in Dubai and China.

De Jong initiated cutting edge CEO seminars and supervised the publication of unparalleled research on emerging Asia-Pacific markets.

Prior to joining PATA, de Jong served for 10 years as Director General of the ‘Federation of International Youth Travel Organisations’ (FIYTO) in Copenhagen, the global trade association for the youth and student travel industry. Under his leadership, FIYTO’s membership more than doubled and its financial reserves and trade fair attendance tripled.

He served 11 years as Secretary General of ‘The Experiment in International Living’ (EIL), a U.S.-based international citizen exchange organisation, specialising in language and educational travel, intercultural studies and academic exchanges. Immediately thereafter, De Jong completed a five-year stint as a travel industry consultant in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Peter de Jong is a frequent conference speaker, chair and moderator and has regularly appeared on CNN, BBC World, CNBC and other networks. He is often quoted in leading international papers and the trade press on global travel industry developments.

Tim Robinson

Tim Robinson

Legal, Regulatory and Compliance

Tim Robinson is a law graduate of Oxford University and holds an MA.

He was a partner in a large City of London law firm from 1982 to 2003, where he founded and headed the firm’s specialist Travel & Leisure Law department, which soon established itself as a market leader. Clients from around the world included tour operators, agents, consortia, hotels, airlines, NTOs and the MICE sector.

He served as legal advisor to many trade associations, including the Association of British Travel Agents, European Tour Operators Association, Incentive Travel & Meetings Association and the Pacific Asia Travel Association.

In addition to clients’ legal work, Tim also undertook extensive lobbying activities at national and European levels. He was the author of numerous articles on legal and commercial issues and a frequent conference speaker.

Tim sat on many advisory committees including for the UK’s Civil Aviation Authority, Government deregulation and the Foreign & Commonwealth Office’s Travel Industry Consultation Group.

In 2004, Tim left the legal firm to found the consultancy ‘Equator International’, in order to undertake a broader range of travel industry work.

He was appointed a non-executive director of several travel companies, an insurance and finance group and a media company. He undertook a wide range of projects relating to product development, risk management and due diligence, insurance, regulatory compliance, restructuring.

In 2006 he was invited by a client, the Globus/Cosmos vacation company, to establish a new office for their financial and operating headquarters in Nassau, Bahamas, where he is now based as Senior Vice President, Corporate Affairs.

Marco Gorin

Marco Gorin

Travel Distribution and Technology

Having earned his stripes in a variety of management positions in the IT and GDS industries, Marco Gorin currently serves as CEO of Aspire Infotech, a technology services company.

Previously, Marco served as CCO within Interglobe Enterprises in India and as Director Asia with Travelport.

Marco Gorin is a senior level executive with broad experience in building international sales and distribution channels in dynamic, quickly changing environments across both B2B and B2C market sectors.

He is highly regarded as an effective, hands-on team leader with an impressive international track record of exceeding business targets and producing impressive results in a series of business building and troubleshooting missions.

In his spare time, Marco is an avid scuba diver and high altitude mountaineer. He founded 'Charity Trek', a charity that raises funds for disadvantaged children through sponsored high altitude mountaineering in the Himalayas.

Gorin earned a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree from Huron University, Huron, South Dakota (USA) in 1996. He has lived and worked in Italy, Great Britain, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Thailand, the Middle East and currently resides in New York.

Monica James

Monica James

Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions - Pacific and the Americas

Monica James is an event management specialist who has worked in the hospitality, tourism and conference sectors for over twenty-five years.

She has a unique perspective of both sides of the conference marketplace, having worked as both a seller and a buyer. Coupled with formal training and teaching skills, she is well qualified to present industry insights.

Monica has highly developed communication, planning and organisation skills backed up by a teaching degree and qualifications in hotel management. For eight years, Monica operated as Conventions Services Manager with the five star international hotel chains, Sheraton and Marriott.

Clients included a diversity of organisations across the conference sector including prestigious corporates such as Coca Cola, Gillette, Mazda, Australian Associated Brewers as well as medical associations such as The Urological Society of Australia.

The years in the hospitality field were quite a departure from Monica’s original career of secondary school teaching. However, the pairing of the two careers has successfully developed Monica’s major skills and strengths in areas such as Logistics Planning and Organisation, Event Management and Delivery, Budgetary Planning, and Hotel operations.

Monica established her own Professional Conference Management company MJ Conferences & Incentives in 1995, working in the association, corporate and incentive sectors at a regional, national and international level.

Amongst others, her company has successfully delivered events for Rio Tinto, the Surat Basin Corporation, Interlaw Association Los Angeles, Young Professionals Organisation (YPO), Turner Sports Atlanta USA and the Goodwill Games in Brisbane.

Monica also enjoyed a 15 years association with the World Youth and Travel Conference (WYSTC) as their Conference Director where she was involved in organising a large trade fair and conference in a different country each year.

Shu De Jong

Sjoerd de Jong

Brand Building, Marketing and Communications

'Shu' de Jong is a New York-based brand developer who helps start-up or established companies launch new products and services.

His assignments range from product conception and creation, to developing marketing strategies and setting up distribution systems.

In recent years, his focus has been on the liquor industry, where he was instrumental in penetrating and developing the North American market for several foreign liquor brands.

Currently Shu also works with hospitality companies and purveyors of high-end luxury goods who wish to establish or expand their foothold in the U.S. market.

Early on in his career, Shu de Jong worked with high-end New York clubs, lounges, hotels and restaurants, as they developed new concepts and needed to re-invent themselves.

A former professional basketball player, Shu considers himself a 'culture vulture' with a keen understanding of new consumer demographics and ways to resonate with youthful, high value consumer groups.

Rutger Smits

Rutger Smits

Asset Management, Valuations, Executive Search

Rutger Smits is a global hospitality executive with extensive advisory, development, and asset management experience, as well as a senior level operational background.

Rutger is a graduate of the Institute for Hospitality Management, The Hague, The Netherlands. He has dual Dutch and Australian nationality and is proficient in a number of languages, including Dutch, English, and German.

Mr. Smits is widely travelled and has lived and worked in the Middle East, Australia, Europe, and Asia. He has worked in leadership roles with InterContinental Hotels, Andersen, HVS, Cushman & Wakefield, and Deloitte, as well as his own consulting company.

Appointed as CEO of Al Rayyan Tourism Investment Company ‘ARTIC’ in October 2013, he is responsible for the management and growth of ARTIC’s hotel portfolio. ARTIC, the hotel subsidiary of Al Faisal Holding, currently comprises some 25 projects around the globe, both operational and in various stages of development. Hotels owned by ARTIC include the Marriott Marquis City Center Doha Hotel, the St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort in Miami, and the Four Seasons Cairo.

A confident and eloquent conference speaker, Mr. Smits has participated in the Arabian Hotel Investment Conference and the Tourism in Tomorrow’s World Conference as a speaker and panelist. Married, with one child, Mr. Smits interests include golf, squash and yachting.

Marion Richter

Marion Richter

Aviation and Destination Marketing

Marion is a powerful business driver who displays deep knowledge of the tourism industry across Europe, Asia and the Pacific. Her experience spans across a wide range of business sectors.

She began her career in the hotel industry followed by the aviation sector.

During her 11-year tenure with Qantas Airways Ltd. as Sales Manager based in Germany she built a reputation for developing business strategies and incubating new business models. Her new pricing models helped to open new revenue streams.

In moving forward with her career she joined Tourism Australia in 1998 as Manager Central Europe, being part of the team creating successful marketing campaigns in the lead up to the Olympics.

During her 10-year engagement as Regional Director for PATA in Europe she identified new partner organisations and donor organisations for PATA's activities, both in the private and public sectors.

Marion is distinguished by her passion for the tourism industry and further steps in her career included leading sales and marketing roles with the German National Tourist Board and Preferred Hotel Group.

Marion recently moved to the Stuttgart area in Germany where she started her own company, Richter & Richter GmbH, providing strategic insights and corporate support to private and public sector groups worldwide.

Ron Andruff

Ronald Andruff

Travel and Internet Marketing

In 1994, on behalf of the United States Foreign Policy Association, Ron Andruff researched the expanding phenomena of so-called 'emerging electronic media and new technologies'.

He authored a widely acclaimed White Paper about the Internet and opportunities that would arise from it in the decades to come.

That early effort established the basis for future Net-based activities and, in 1998, Ron co-founded ‘fare 1, Inc.’, the first business-to-trade web-based company that empowered travel agents to fight back against the onslaught of online booking engines by providing their clients with the lowest available fares.

After taking fare 1 public on the London A.I.M. Exchange in 2000, he went on to found Tralliance Corporation, the .travel Registry, an Internet domain name space established exclusively for the travel and tourism sector (2001-07).

An expert in policy development, Ron’s depth of Internet experience has grown virtually since its commercial inception in 1998. His current endeavor, ICANN Sherpa, leads a team of professionals that have been active and effective participants in the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) policymaking community for many years.

As one of the many volunteers that constitute ICANN, Ron is currently the Chair of the Nominating Committee, which sources and places eight members of the Board of Directors.

With his combined knowledge of the travel industry and the Internet, coupled with more than 30-years of international marketing consulting experience, Ron has the skill sets to develop forward-thinking strategies in today’s technology driven marketplace.

Rene Bos

Rene Bos

Market and Consumer Research

Rene Bos graduated from Amsterdam Free University with a Master’s degree in Political Science - International Relations.

Through his one-man consultancy company ‘OmniBos Travel Research’ he joined NIPO, first as a senior tourism and travel researcher and later in the management of this Dutch market leader in consumer research.

Throughout his 18 year tenure at NIPO, he served such customers as KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Holland International and Arke (both now TUI), Maison de la France (now ATOUT France), the Irish Tourism Board and the Aruba Tourism Authority. For these customers he managed many mission-critical proprietary research projects.

He also co-managed NIPO’s authoritative syndicated ‘Annual Holiday Monitor’, gauging Dutch tourism behaviour.

After a stint for NIPO in Hong Kong from 1996 to 1998, Rene returned to Europe as Director of International Research first at NIPO, and later at TNS headquarters in London, after the latter had acquired NIPO in 1999.

Rene was recruited by global market leader The Nielsen Company in early 2006 to come to China to head up its online and its tourism and travel research business – first exclusively focusing on China, later with responsibility for the whole of Asia Pacific.

In this capacity, Rene developed and launched Nielsen’s ‘Annual China Outbound Travel Monitor’, and drove the development of similar research products in India, Korea and Japan.

Rene left Nielsen at the end of 2008 to join global consumer research start-up ‘EcoFocus Worldwide’ as co-founder as its Chief International Research Officer, Based in Beijing, he also provides consultancy on tourism- and online research to the market research industry and to the travel and tourism trade.

While continuing his role as tourism and travel consultant, Rene is now Vice President of Global Corporate Development for ChinaCache, China’s leading Internet content-delivery solutions provider, working from his home near Amsterdam.

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