GSTC Board of Directorsrariel2023-07-24T14:55:24+08:00
GSTC Board of Directors
The GSTC Board of Directors plays an integral role in the leadership of the organization. The board consists of 18 voting members and 2 non-voting members, as follows: 12 elected by members to 3-year terms; 6 appointed by the Board to 1-year terms; the 2 non-voting members of the board are the Chair of the Assurance Panel and the CEO. Members of the GSTC Board of Directors are elected by current members of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC). The GSTC Election Committee validates the election process each year. All GSTC members in good standing are eligible to nominate candidates for the board and to cast votes in the election. Non-members are not eligible for nomination and are encouraged to become members for at least one year prior to running for board election.
Luigi Cabrini, Chair
Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) Region: Global Category: NGO (Voting Member)
Mr. Luigi Cabrini is the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council. Mr. Cabrini led several initiatives on sustainable tourism at global level, focusing his activities on tourism and climate change, tourism and biodiversity, observatories for sustainable tourism, the green economy, tourism and heritage and global partnerships. He was the Director of the UNWTO (World Tourism Organization) Sustainable Tourism Programme until 2014 and previously held the positions of UNWTO Director for Europe and Secretary of the General Assembly and Executive Council. From 2014 to 2018 he was an Advisor to the Secretary-General of the UNWTO. Before joining the UNWTO he has been engaged during 20 years in United Nations programmes for development and for protection of refugees, in Guatemala, Mexico, Somalia, Pakistan, Poland and Spain. Luigi Cabrini is fluent in Italian, English, French and Spanish and has basic knowledge of Russian and Polish. He is the author of various articles, speeches and papers.
Dr. Kelly S. Bricker, Vice-Chair
Professor, Sustainable Tourism, Ecotourism & Nature-based Recreation, Arizona State University Region: North America Category: Academia (Voting Member)
Dr. Bricker is Professor and Director of the Hainan-Arizona State International Tourism College (HAITC), located in Phoenix, Arizona. She completed her Ph.D. research with the Pennsylvania State University, where she specialized in sustainable tourism and protected area management. She has research and teaching interests in ecotourism, sense of place, community development, natural resource management, value of nature-based experiences, and the impacts of tourism. She has authored and edited books on sustainability, which highlight case studies in tourism meeting environmental and societal issues in Sustainable Tourism & the Millennium Development Goals: Effecting Positive Change; educational texts focused on adventure education in Adventure Programing and Travel for the 21st Century and graduate education in De-Mystifying Theories in Tourism Research; and most recently, relevant to current projects, co-edited This Land Is Your Land: Toward a Better Understanding of Nature’s Resiliency-Building and Restorative Power for Armed Forces Personnel, Veterans, and Their Families (Sagamore Publishing, LLC). Dr. Bricker serves the boards of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council, the Tourism and Protected Area Specialist Group of the IUCN, and Tourism Unity. With partners in OARS and her husband, she developed an ecotourism operation called Rivers Fiji.
CB (Ram) Ramkumar, Vice-Chair
Director of Green Dreams for the Planet Region: South Asia Category: NGO (Voting Member)
CB Ramkumar has been an active GSTC Member for many years, currently serving as the GSTC Program Director for South Asia, and was influential in the adoption in 2014 by the government of India of national sustainable tourism standards which drew heavily from the GSTC Criteria. Ram is an author, speaker, trainer, consultant, an entrepreneur and an expert in applied sustainability. He developed a model for sustainable living when he built the first 100% eco resort – Our Native Village in Bangalore, India. Over the last decade, he has extended his expertise to sustainable living – sustainable food, sustainable health, sustainable service, marketing & branding. Ram had been an advertising and marketing professional for two decades. His long career in the advertising & marketing took him to global companies like Saatchi & Saatchi, Ogilvy & Mather, Publicis and Standard Chartered Bank.
Dr. Ioannis Pappas, Treasurer
CEO of Green Evolution SA Region: Europe Category: Industry (Voting Member)
Dr. Ioannis Pappas is a GSTC authorized Trainer. He is the CEO of Green Evolution SA, an experienced professional engineer, with over 25 years of work in several fields of science, focusing on sustainability and tourism, energy and environmental efficiency in infrastructure and buildings. He is also auditing and advising on standardization of companies and technological implementation of climate adaptation and mitigation methodologies. Dr. Pappas is Co-founder and a Board Member in a number of organizations (Sustainable Building Council of Greece, Hellenic Passive House Institute, Hellenic Start Up Association) as well as Co-founder of the Hellenic Ecotourism Society. He worked with the Joint Research Center-IE of European Commission and was a Greek representative as the expert for ITL at UNFCCC.
Natalie Kidd, Secretary
Chief People and Purpose Officer, Intrepid Group Region: Asia-Pacific Category: Industry (Voting Member)
Natalie Kidd is the Chief People and Purpose Office of Intrepid Travel, the world’s largest provider of adventure travel experiences. Globally recognised as a leader in responsible travel, Intrepid’s portfolio of three specialist tour operators and 25 Destination Management companies take travellers to more than 120 countries on all seven continents. Intrepid supports eight SDG goals, has advocated on issues such as climate action, animal welfare, child protect and gender equality, is a certified B-Corp and has been carbon-neutral since 2010. Natalie joined Intrepid in 2005 as the founding General Manager of the first vertically integrated DMC, based in Hanoi Vietnam. Over the years she grew this one DMC into a global network of 25 inbound tour operators. In 2020 she moved from the role of Chief Operating Officer to her current role, responsible for the development and implementation of the company’s sustainability strategy. Natalie holds a Masters of Business Administration (AGSM), a Master of Asian Studies (UNSW) and a Bachelor of Arts/Asian Studies (USyd). In 2018 she completed the Australian Institute of Company Directors’ (AICD) director program and remains a member of the AICD.
Sustainability Director, Airbnb Region: Global Category: Industry (Voting Member)
Ameet Konkar is the Director of Sustainability for Airbnb, Inc. Starting in 2007 when two Hosts welcomed three guests to their San Francisco home, Airbnb has since grown to 4 million Hosts who have welcomed more than 900 million guest arrivals in almost every country across the globe. Ameet spearheads Airbnb’s sustainability strategy and execution, helping embed sustainable practices into every home, experience and trip. Before Airbnb, Ameet spent a number of years in the renewable energy sector helping build new businesses, including most recently one providing solar in Sub-Saharan Africa. Prior to that he spent 8 years with the premier strategy consulting firm Bain and Co. Ameet has an MBA from the University of Pennsylvania, Wharton School of Business and an MS in Industrial Engineering from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.
Dr. Anna Spenceley
Region: Pacific Category: Academia (Voting Member)
Dr. Anna Spenceley is an independent consultant based in Papua New Guinea. She works on sustainable tourism issues for a wide range of international agencies, including recently the EU, the World Bank group, the World Trade Organization, UNDP, IUCN and WWF. This year she has been analyzing the impact of COVID-19 on the tourism sector in protected areas for the EU, and has compiled a blog post of over 600 materials on tourism and the pandemic for public use. She is a signatory to both the “Future of Tourism” and “Tourism Declares a Climate Emergency”. Anna is Chair of the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA) Tourism and Protected Areas Specialist Group (TAPAS Group), and sits on the Independent Advisory Panel of Travalyst. She is on the editorial boards of the Journal for Sustainable Tourism, the Journal of Ecotourism and Koedoe. Her book publications include “Private sector tourism in conservation areas in Africa”, “Tourism and Poverty Reduction”, and “Responsible Tourism: Critical issues for Conservation and Development”. She is currently editing a new “Handbook for sustainable tourism practitioners” for Edward Elgar. Anna was a founding board member of the GSTC, sits on the GSTC Destination Working Group, and is a GSTC trainer.
Beatriz Barreal Danel
Founder and CEO of Sustainable Riviera Maya Region: Americas Category: NGO (Voting Member)
Beatriz Barreal Danel is the CEO and Founder of Sustainable Riviera Maya. Since 2009, Beatriz has dedicated her time with Sustainable Riviera Maya to making Sustainable Tourism the primary engine for development, wealth and the engine of peace; preserving at the same time, natural treasures, local culture and society, as providing a linking platform that encourages seminars, congresses, encounters, processes, training and certifications, in sustainable strategies, solutions and actions in the Riviera Maya. Beginning in 2012, Beatriz led the alignment of Riviera Maya as a GSTC Destination Criteria Early Adopter, and now leading the process towards certification of Playa del Carmen as a sustainable destination through GSTC-Accredited certification bodies. She is also responsible for developing marketing strategies, branding and communication in the corporate field, first as a consultant (Beatriz Barreal Consultancy 1989-2013) and from 1993-2000 the Founder and CEO of Neographika Inc. During 1995-2009 Beatriz supported local NGO’s in the State of Quintana Roo. She dedicated her time to support environmental conservation, empowering women and indigenous groups, and addressing issues concerning teenagers in risk categories due to domestic conditions and health.
Accreditation Panel Chair at GSTC Region: Global Category: Assurance Panel (Non-voting Member)
Cathy has been Chair of the Accreditation Panel – now Assurance Panel, since October 2010. She has been actively involved in the evolution to the present day of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council. From 2001 to 2006, Cathy was the Executive Director and then CEO of the worldwide tourism certification program, Green Globe. She was responsible for all aspects of delivering the program to tourism operations in over 50 countries with the objective of achieving a more sustainable tourism industry. During her time in the mid-90s as a senior executive with the Australian Government’s Department of Tourism, she managed the government’s environmental tourism programs. She assisted industry to develop the world’s first ecotourism certification program as well as several other tourism certification programs for different industry sectors.
Group Sustainability Director, TUI Group Region: Europe Category: Industry (Voting Member)
As TUI Group Sustainability Director, Charlotte is in charge of implementing TUI Group’s new Sustainability Strategy 2030 with the mission to strengthen TUI’s leading position in sustainability and shape the future of sustainable travel. She previously held the function of HR director and member of the management board at TUI Nordic, where she had been driving change at one of TUI’s centers of excellence for innovation since 2010. In 2019 she was named “Swedish HR Director of the Year”, a tribute honoring her contribution to the successful transformation of TUI Nordic into one of TUI Group’s digitalization and innovation hubs. Prior to her role within HR Charlotte gained experience in various operational functions including the hotel sector.
Dr. Elif Balcı Fisunoğlu
Vice General Manager, Tourism Operations and Development, Türkiye Tourism Promotion and Development Agency (TGA) Region: Türkiye Category: Public Authority (Voting Member)
Is currently, the Vice-General Manager of Tourism Operations and Development division in Türkiye Tourism Promotion and Development Agency which founded by Ministry of Tourism and by law and also representative of TGA at UNWTO Board of Affiliate Members.
She has her career in the tourism, travel, hospitality, meetings, and destination marketing industry spans more than 25 years, specializing in tourism product development and destination and nation marketing. A highly regarded advocate for the sustainable development of global tourism with an outstanding reputation, Elif has held a broad spectrum of senior positions in corporate brands, NGOs and DMOs in both Türkiye and Europe.
CEO of the Sustainable Hospitality Alliance Region: North America Category: NGO (Voting Member)
Glenn Mandziuk is an internationally recognised chief executive with over 25 years of leadership experience in advancing sustainable practices in tourism, hospitality and economic development, and establishing strategies and programmes that inspire responsible growth. Prior to becoming CEO of the Sustainable Hospitality Alliance, Glenn was President and Chief Executive Officer of Canada’s Thompson Okanagan Tourism Region (TOTA) with its 4,000 industry stakeholders. Glenn’s leadership resulted in the organisation being recognised as a global champion of excellence and innovation in sustainable destination management and responsible industry development practices. The team received recognition from the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), World Travel Awards, and Responsible Tourism Institute’s Biosphere Gold Certification – a first in the Americas. In addition, the UNWTO awarded TOTA Quest Certification for excellence in leadership, execution and governance capacities – only the third such recognition for a destination management organisation bestowed in the world. Glenn has 10 years’ experience in the hospitality industry in family-owned and operated hotels and resorts and holds a Master of Environmental Design degree majoring in sustainable tourism planning. He is also a director on the Board of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council and the Responsible Tourism Institute.
Hyun (Hugh) Kim
Executive Director, Jeonbuk Culture and Tourism Organization (JBCT) Region: East Asia Category: Public Authority (Voting Member)
Hyun (Hugh) Kim has worked for over 25 years in the tourism, MICE and nature conservation at national, regional and international level. He enjoyed long and successful careers with the Korea National Park Service (KNPS), International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Asia, Gyeonggi Tourism Organization (GTO) and Incheon Tourism Organization (ITO) in several managerial & directorial positions focusing on all facets of sustainable tourism, MICE, and transboundary protected areas management in terms of the Demilitarized Zone tourism as well as the Hanbando Peace Park Initiative between South and North Korea. Hyun, as an Executive Director of Jeonbuk Culture and Tourism Organization (JBCT), provides strategic leadership covering a wide spectrum of thematic programmes in MICE and tourism. He holds BAs in Tourism and is a graduate of the Seoul National University with qualifications in Forest Environment (Outdoor Recreation).
Special Adviser, Innovation Norway Region: Europe Category: Public Authority (Voting Member)
For the past two decades, Ingunn Sørnes has been with Innovation Norway, the Norwegian Governmental organization for innovation and development in industries in Norway, including tourism. She was earlier employed in the Norwegian Ministry of Agriculture, then the State Bank of Agriculture before entering the Norwegian Industrial and Regional Development Fund (SND). From a position in rural development and diversification in agriculture in the Ministry she moved to funding, research coordination and training in the State Bank and the SND before being appointed to Innovation Norway to lead the work towards a more sustainable tourism. Her work includes policy development, measures and incentives to increase sustainability within tourism in Norway. This includes developing and implementing a national standard for sustainable tourism at destination level (GSTC-Recognized Standard) with all assisting tools and instruments.
Co-founder and CEO of Vinetree Tourism Region: East Asia Category: Industry (Voting Member)
Ms. Koko Tang is the co-founder and CEO of Vinetree Tourism, a Chinese ecological tourism company, operating the world’s most unique and luxurious wild tent camps and ecological tourist trails. Vinetree has been promoting responsible travel and sustainable tourism in China while committed to immersing people in a culture experience in nature and making high quality ecological tourism experiences. Its projects are showcases in china in terms of small business’s engagement in sustainability practice. Ms. Tang is also the Deputy Secretary General of China Adventure Association (CAA). She was awarded as the 2017 TOP 10 China Tourism Industry Innovative Leader and also be granted as the tourism expert consultant of Shanghai Chongming government think tank in 2018. Ms. Tang graduated from the University of Birmingham, UK with a Master degree of Commercial Law. She has extensive experiences in mergers and acquisitions and cross-border transactions during her 7 years services at King & Wood LLP and Sidley Austin LLP, both are renowned international law firms. She was the founder of Invest in Africa Club during her stay in Zambia between 2014 and 2015.
Prof. Kumi Kato
Professor, Faculty of Tourism, Wakayama University Region: East Asia Category: Academia (Voting Member)
Dr. Kumi Kato is a Professor at the Faculty of Tourism/Graduate School of Tourism, Wakayama University and a special appointed professor at Musashino University, Japan. She also has a visiting professorship at Asian Institute of Tourism, University of the Philippines, and advisory roles in the Sustainable Tourism Promotion Center, APTEC (UNWTO Japan), Osaka University and Global Himalayan Expeditions. Kumi has been leading the national project to implement the Japan Sustainable Tourism Standard for Destinations (JSTS-D), a standard that was developed during 2019 based on the GSTC Criteria and a global research project she chaired. She also served as a site auditor for the WTTC Tourism for Tomorrow Award. Kumi is a passionate advocate for sustainability in community development, education and research, working with a wide range of stakeholders. Major works include disaster recovery and community resilience (community heritage restoration in Fukushima evacuation zones); traditional ecological knowledge of women (women divers’ ecological knowledge); slow and wellness-focused tourism (pilgrimage tourism). Besides academic publications, her work includes creative outputs such as public art installation, documentaries, and performances. She believes in creative inspirations and community power in promoting sustainability. Prior to her return to Japan in 2008, Kumi taught in Australia for 24 years in various capacities including a lecturer at the University of Queensland and Griffith University. Based in Japan, she is committed to promoting sustainable tourism locally, regionally, and globally.
Chief Communication Officer, JTB Group Region: Japan Category: Industry (Voting Member)
Ms. Kuniko Takasaki is the executive officer leading JTB Group’s corporate communications, and is responsible for driving sustainability and diversity across the group. At the JTB Group, the commitment to upstanding corporate citizenry is reflected in its Mission: ‘We strive to foster peace and global interconnectedness through the creation of opportunities for meaningful human interaction’. By accelerating diversity, which is the foundation of sustainability, and strengthening internal and external communication regarding sustainability, she strives to ensure that our management policies and commercial activity contribute to the long-term health and viability of our industry, our society and the planet as a whole.
Director of Customer & Operations at easyJet holidays Region: Europe Category: Industry (Voting Member)
Matt Callaghan is easyJet holidays’ Director of Customer & Operations and member of the management board, responsible for all aspects of customer experience and business operations as well as the development and implementation of the easyJet holidays’ Sustainable Tourism Programme, which launched in September 2021. Matt has worked in the travel industry for eleven years, in roles spanning risk, customer experience, commercial development, operations and strategy. Prior to easyJet holidays, Matt held senior leadership roles at easyJet and British Airways, having joined from Deloitte’s risk advisory services. Matt is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales, and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Geography.
Programme Manager, Kavango Zambezi (KAZA) Transfrontier Conservation Area Secretariat Region: Southern Africa Category: Intergovernmental IGO (Voting Member)
Netsai is the Programme Manager of the Kavango Zambezi (KAZA) Transfrontier Conservation Area Secretariat based in Kasane, Botswana, where she is responsible for providing strategic leadership across the spectrum of KAZA operations i.e., biodiversity conservation, tourism business and regional development, stakeholder networking, and partnerships. Before joining the KAZA Secretariat Netsai worked for 14 years in Southern African sustainable development, working for organisations including the Hillside Dams Conservancy Trust, ResourceAfrica, Fair Trade Tourism, and a SADC and GIZ partnership programme as a long-term sustainable tourism expert and team leader. Netsai has extensive experience in Southern African partnership development with civil society, public and private sector organisations including the Regional Tourism Organisation of Southern Africa (RETOSA), the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Secretariat, various SADC Transfrontier Conservation Area Structures, Tourism Ministries, Tourism Boards, national parks agencies and some of the region’s leading private sector tourism associations and sustainable tourism certification organisations. Netsai Bollmann holds an MBA from the University of Southern Queensland and a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a specialisation in Law from London Metropolitan University.
Chief Executive Officer of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) Region: Global Category: CEO (Non-voting Member)
Randy Durband has had two careers in travel and tourism – twenty-plus years in senior leadership positions at some of the finest U.S. tour operators, having served as President for Travcoa, INTRAV, and Clipper Cruise Lines, (brands within TUI Travel plc), plus Executive Vice President of Tauck World Discovery. Following that, in his second travel and tourism career, Randy advanced the work of Sustainable Tourism as an advisor, consultant, and speaker. He brings his knowledge of the business of travel, his global network of travel professionals, and a passion for sustainability to support the GSTC and the general sustainable tourism movement.
CSR Commissioner, ITB Berlin Region: Europe Category: Industry (Voting Member)
Rika Jean-François holds a Master Degree in Social Anthropology and Iranian Studies with an expertise on ethnic identities, sustainable development and diversity issues from the Free University of Berlin, Germany. She started to work in tourism as a tour guide in Greece, while studying at the University of Crete and as an incoming agent in Athens. Back in Germany she became counselor at the University’s International Academic Exchange Office and travelled as a researcher to Iran, Malawi and Haiti. Ms. Jean-François obtained an additional qualification in Quality Management, working on the evaluation of development aid workers’ education for the German Development Service. Since 2004 she has been with Messe Berlin and vitally developed ITB’s Corporate Social Responsibility. As ITB’s head of CSR she is a passionate speaker at sustainable tourism events internationally. Putting an emphasis on human rights and diversity, she has spearheaded ITB’s implementation of the LGBT+ travel segment and was member of the board of directors of the IGLTA (International Gay&Lesbian Travel Association) for 5 consecutive years – currently she serves on the board of the IGLTA Foundation. She is also a board member of PATA (Pacific Asia Travel Association) and supports many international sustainability committees and is a jury member at several global responsible tourism contests.
Director of Mt. Huangshan Scenic Area Administrative Committee (HSAC) Region: East Asia Category: Public Authority (Voting Member)
Wu Wenda serves as Executive Director of Mt. Huangshan Administrative Committee (HSAC), Vice-Chair of China Association of National Parks and Scenic Sites and Chairman of China Mountain Tourism Alliance. Prior to these important leadership roles in tourism, he served as the Deputy Mayor and Secretary of the Political and Judiciary Commission of Huangshan City from 2012 to 2018. From 2001 to 2012, he served for the governments of two famous cultural and tourist counties (Shexian County and Yixian County) in Huangshan. From 1996 to 2001, he served as the Deputy Director of Huangshan Environment Protection Bureau. Majored in Chemistry and Economic Management, he worked for college youth association and student management after graduation from Huangshan University in 1985.