Our Honorable Speakers - 2022

Experienced Chief Executive Officer with a demonstrated history of working in the leisure, travel & tourism industry. Sherin Francis is skilled in Negotiation, Customer Service, Business Development, Marketing Strategy, and Public Speaking. A strong business development professional with an MSC Finance focused in Finance and Financial Management Services from the University of London. Her first degree is in economics. Prior to joining the Seychelles Tourism Board, Mrs Francis has also headed the Seychelles Investment Board for four years whereby she has been instrumental in broadening the marketing arm of the board and raised Seychelles’ profile internationally as an investment destination. During her tenure at the Tourism Board, a position which she is still currently serving, together with her team, she has been instrumental in championing the digital revolution in marketing at the board amongst other achievements. She believes in the power of teamwork.

SHERIN FRANCIS

Principal Secretary
SEYCHELLES TOURISM BOARD

Cuthbert is a seasoned Tourism Executive and has held leadership positions within International and Regional Organizations. His mandate at the African Tourism Board is to leverage strategic relationships in the industry and beyond to unify Africa’s efforts in positioning herself as a Tourism destination powerhouse. In recognition to his contribution to promoting and restoring Africa’s tourism Post Covid 19,Cuthbert has recently been adorned with the coveted “Heroes of Tourism” Award; an award given by Tourism Experts and endorsed by Global Tourism Security Expert, Peter Tarlow. Cuthbert has had the honor to share his knowledge in the tourism industry as a Guest Speaker at various Local, Regional & International Conferences. A passionate humanitarian, Cuthbert is involved in several community development initiatives in his personal capacity, and enjoys music and a spot of gardening during his free time.

Cuthbert Ncube

Executive Chairman
African Tourism Board

Rosemary Anderson is the national chairperson of FEDHASA, the voice of hospitality in South Africa. In addition to running hospitality and tourism businesses in South Africa and the UK, Anderson has almost three decades of personal experience in and a perspective on the industry. Consequently, she is often called on to comment as a thought leader on hospitality issues, ranging from government support, business constraints to ease of doing business. Married with children, Anderson is particularly passionate about creating an enabling environment for employment both in the hospitality and tourism sector, and also with regards to the use of treated waste water for agricultural purposes which she believes could create thousands of agricultural jobs in a water- scarce country like South Africa.

Rosemary Anderson

National Chairperson
Fedhasa

Sisa Ntshona leads a Private Equity firm, Makhanyakude Holdings (MH) whose main area of investment is in mid-market Tourism activities across the value chain in Sub Sahara Africa. MH recently concluded its first equity acquisition into Dream Hotels & Resorts, a portfolio of 21 hotels & resorts across South Africa and Mozambique offering affordable luxury to its guests. Prior to that, Sisa was the CEO of South African Tourism, a role he held for 5 years from 2016 – 2021. In that role, he spearheaded the sector’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic by compiling the Tourism Recovery Plan ultimately to it being adopted and approved by the South African Cabinet. A big advocate for collaboration across the Africa continent, he drove the repositioning of the Tourism Indaba into a Pan Africa Travel Indaba, the oldest and biggest Tourism Trade Show on the Africa Continent.

Sisa Ntshona

Executive Director
Dream Hotels and Resorts
Ex-CEO of South African Tourism

Ben Martin has a considerable catalogue of experience as a consultant focusing on real estate economics, with a particular emphasis on resorts, residential, leisure and mixed-use development. He has completed projects across a broad range of countries in Europe, Central Asia, the Middle East and Africa and his clients have included government organisations, leisure and entertainment providers, property development companies, financial institutions, development corporations and local authorities. Mr Martin is involved at all stages of the study process, from preliminary site reviews to the design and development of tailor-made financial models that reflect the recommended development programme for the project. Having gained more than 25yrs of experience as a consultant in this sector, he now plays a key role in the management of project research and economic appraisal within the Hospitality Advisory Group at HKS Inc.

Ben Martin

Global Director of Hospitality Advisory Services
HKS

Trevor Ward is a specialist consultant in the hospitality and real estate industries. From the late 1980s he has specialised in the provision of advisory services to clients in developing countries, and for almost 20 years has been based in Nigeria, advising clients there and throughout the whole African continent. His international experience includes advising clients on hotel and other types of development in more than 90 countries in Africa, Europe, North and South America, the Caribbean and Asia. With a special focus on Africa, where he has worked on no fewer than 40 countries so far, he is working with many of the international hotel and real estate groups, and investors, who are seeking a presence there, and with existing players. He is regarded as one of the foremost experts on the hotel industry in Africa, and is engaged primarily in development consultancy, ranging from investment appraisals to operator selection, asset management, valuations and agency.

Trevor J Ward

Owner
W Hospitality Group

Ram has nearly 25 years of rich expertise in hotel business across multiple strategic roles which are focused on revenue maximization. As the Vice President of Hotel Revenue Optimization, he helps the hotels to the harness the effectiveness of their distribution channels and amplify revenue opportunities through better business strategies. This includes identifying and implementing newer business opportunities with focus on profitability, drive the e-commerce strategy to maximise direct business and hotel/ regional strategies. Prior to joining Preferred Hotels & Resorts, Ram served as Assistant Vice President of E-Marketing for The Oberoi Group, responsible for the group’s digital marketing strategy and e-commerce revenues. He also serves on the HSMAI Commercial Advisory Board for Asia Pacific & a part of the HSMAI India Board.

CS Ramachandran, CRME

V.P Hotel Revenue Optimization South Asia, Middle East, Africa & Australasia
Preferred Hotels & Resorts

My passion for community services guided me to join the hospitality industry. Over the last 15+ years, I have been fortunate to work with a wide range of international hotel groups like Kempinski, Accor and Radisson Hotels in multiple diverse regions. Specialised in full spectrum of designing and consulting technical aspect for events, entertainment and venue. I orientate as a team with strategy, innovation, digital marketing and technical sales. I am Certified Systems Engineer, Network Enterprise Professional and Wireless Administrator. Beside my role in Information Technology, recently I’ve accepted a new challenge in leading Audio, Video and Technical Production department in Kigali Convention Centre. I am tasked to commercialise and develop latest technologies, strengthen security, maximize revenue and reduce carbon footprint.

Fady Tadros

Director Information Technology
Radisson Hotels & Kigali Convention Centre

Ambitious Regional Director of IT and hands-on IT Manager with 15+ years of experience working with the latest technologies, within large worldwide corporate information systems structures. Multi-disciplined and conversant with all aspects of design, delivery, co-ordination, estimation and management of assigned projects. Works well under pressure and dedicated to providing maximum efficiency on tight budgets, using company’s assets to their fullest. A committed team player with an excellent commercial approach and problem-solving skills. Experienced with $ 2m+ budgets, strict timelines, works within process limitations.

Abbas EL Shabasy

Corporate Director of Information Technology
SUNRISE Resorts & Cruises

A seasoned hotelier, a trailblazer in hospitality. Ajay has played an integral part in the phenomenal growth story of Sarovar Hotels since its early inception to 90 hotels now. An alumni of Cornell- Essec, France, and product of Oberoi School of Hotel Management. He has worked extensively in France, Scotland, Australia, Africa and India. His work Mantra- Sincerity and hard work will always give results. He became the “CEO of the year” at the Hotelier India Awards 2017

Ajay Bakaya

Managing Director
Sarovar Hotels

Jael is currently the General Manager at RB PARK- HILL HOTEL Ghana and the Director of Administration at AAWTH (AFRICAN ASSOCIATION OF WOMEN IN TOURISM & HOSPITALITY) with over 10 years of active operational experience in the Tourism and Hotel Industry. She has worked with Travel Agencies in the UK. After a successful Completion of her Internship with JW Marriott in Central London, Jael came to Ghana to work with Marriott Hotel in Accra (Pre- opening). She is the CEO for The Haven Honeymoon Concierge (Travel Agency). In 2021, she was nominated as the Rising Star for The Pyne Hospitality & Tourism Awards held in Nigeria and also won the Most Admired Female Hospitality Professional from Hospitality Awards Ghana 21’. Jael Strives to mentor more women into tourism and hospitality leadership roles. She provides coaching sessions and assist students with their career paths.

Jael Agyei Akyeampong

General Manager
RB Park-hill Hotel Ghana

Harish Chandra is a Hospitality Technology Veteran with over two decades of expertise across multiple industries including the Hospitality, Aviation, IT & Telecom sectors, He oversees the IT & Telecom needs of the existing and new hotels and RSO's. Responsible for formulating and implementing IT strategy, technology solutions, information management initiatives and policies to support the organization’s business requirements.

Harish Chandra

Hospitality Technology Veteran

Highly motivated, hands-on hotels management, professional bringing more than 27 years’ experience of successfully developing top-notch new hotel properties; provides the highest quality of customer satisfaction and delivers first-rate business and operations management. Demonstrates the ability to exceed profit targets, cost effectively develop new projects, quickly turnaround existing properties, effectively and positively manages and motivates culturally diversified staff, maximizes productivity and efficiently controls costs. Keeps good relationship with Hotels owners and develops transparency in handling them. Leads with Vision and implement with strategy seeking productivity and profitability at high levels.

Kamel Senhadji

Chief Operating Officer
Azalai Hotels

“Having started his career with the beautiful Liz Mcgrath Collection at the Cellars Hohenort, Mike went onto to some of South Africa’s most prestige’s and Iconic properties including the Cape Grace Hotel and the Saxon Hotel in Johannesburg where he held positions in both F&B and Rooms management. Mike then joined Seven Tides International where he opened up the 566 bedroom DUKES DUBAI Hotel, sister hotel to DUKES London, on Palm Jumeriah in Dubai achieving the “World’s Leading new hotel for 2017”by World Travel Awards. More recently Mike re-joined Newmark Hotels where he oversees the strategic and operational management of existing & new properties within the Newmark Hotels portfolio across Africa.” During the pandemic Newmark Hotels has pushed forward with our growth strategy adding 3 new properties into the portfolio with a number schedule to join in 2022. We are also immensely proud to have been able to keep all of our properties open during this very difficult period.

Mike Vroom

Executive Director Africa
Newmark Hotels

Eric has been involved in the hospitality industry since 2000 enjoying a successful global sales and management career spanning Guestroom Telephones & HSIA at TELEDEX, Operational Software at FCS, Revenue Management at Duetto, and Guest Facing technologies at NEVOTEK. In 2020 Eric decided the time was right to set up his own business with a focus on Recruitment and Consultancy in the Hospitality Vertical, “This was something I felt was missing – a single resource for employers to find experienced candidates, and a single place for candidates looking for these roles.

Eric Rogers

Principal
Eric Rogers Global Hospitality & Technology Services

CD is an Executive, Business and Life Coach that, after a 22-year hospitality career has turned his passion into his purpose and launched 34 Coaching, his Neuro-Science based coaching venture. CD spent his hospitality career around the world working with The Ritz-Carlton, Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, Marriott Hotels, Tsogo Sun and the Emirates Group, specializing in opening flagship properties and helping to organize events such as the Dubai Rugby Sevens. With the extreme pressure in hospitality, CD used his coaching techniques to bring out the full potential in his staff and groomed them for future leadership positions utilizing various Neuroscience techniques. CD has a full-time coaching practice and is an International Coaching Federation certified coach. He partners with executives, entrepreneurs and forward thinkers to achieve goals and bring about positive behavioral change.

CD Kotze

Founder – 34 Coaching
South Africa

A HR professional with 12 years of experience, mostly in luxury brands in Hospitality. Thinking of ‘talent’ and ‘culture’, Mbithe comes to mind as a true believer and advocate of both-placing passionate and talented people forward and providing them with the tools, guidance and momentum to drive a company’s vision forward. A super Transformer for the Accor Brand in the MEA region, Mbithe puts people first and cultivates a culture of inclusivity, collaboration and accountability. She holds an Executive MBA and Bachelor of Commerce. She is a member of SHRM(US), Institute of Human Resources(Kenya), represents Fairmont Hotels at the Kenya Association of Hotel Keepers and Caterers(KAHC) and sits in the Joint Industrial Council which handles Industry grievances.

Mbithe Wambua

Group Director - Talent & Culture
Fairmont Hotels and Resorts

Salman Saeed is General Manager of Park Inn by Radisson, Abeokuta, a leading four-star city conventional hotel in Nigeria since April 2021. Salman has a proven operations and executive management background and about 20 years quality experience, driving growth in various roles within the hospitality industry. Responsible for overseeing the seamless management of all facets of the hotel, Salman has a hands- on approach in bringing intelligent solutions to the complexities of business. His visionary perspective on quality performance has earned him opportunities in the industry across exciting roles including being, Director of Sales at the Hashoo Group in Islamabad, Executive Assistant Manager at the Pearl Continental Hotel in Rawalpindi and Deputy General Manager, at the Marriot Hotel, Islamabad. Finely skilled at effectively managing staff in their hundreds, Salman also took on roles of General Manager of two properties at the Pear Continental, Muzuaffarabad and Peshawar in Pakistan.

Salman Saeed

General Manager
Park Inn by Radisson Abeokuta, Nigeria

Leed Hospitality was created by Mrs Laetitia GNASSINGBE, a worldwide renowned expert in the hotel and tourism industry. She fluently speaks four different languages ​​(French, English, Spanish and German) and is currently based in Alsace on the Switzerland border. Graduated from the Saint Quentin en Yvelines Hotel and Tourism School, having 19 years of experience internationally at all levels in her field. She is an expert in Management, marketing, operation, concept creations, and hotels renovation. Laetita has been hotel Manager at several hotels in Africa and Switzerland. She is Azalai hotels Group Board Member. Her company Leed Hospitality operates in Togo, Côte d'Ivoire, Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea. The company provide Hotel Management Consulting, trainings, recruitment and Management contracts to hotels.

Laetitia Ndjeng Nyop

CEO & Founder
Leed Hospitality

Mr Talaat joined Dusit International in late 2013 as Director of Sales of Dusit Global Sales Office – MEA. he was promoted in September 2016 to her current position, where he oversees Global Sales Offices in Dubai and Riyadh. He studied Hotel Management at Faculty of Tourism and Hotel Management and counts hotel companies such as Six Senses, Hyatt Hotels and Movenpick among his former employers. Prior to joining Dusit International he was Associate Director of Sales and Marketing at Six Senses Zighy Bay resort. Prior to that, he was the Associate Director of Sales at Hyatt Capital Gate Abu Dhabi, where he helped to successfully launch the opening of the hotel. Other pertinent experience includes 5 years as Associate Director of Sales at Hyatt Worldwide Sales office – Middle East, two years as Regional Sales Manager at Movenpick Regional Sales office in GCC, Regional Reservation Manager at Movenpick Regional Reservation Office- GCC, 3 years Reservation Supervisor Movenpick Doha Hotel and 2 years at Movenpick Cairo Pyramids as Front Office Agent.

Ahmed Talaat

Regional Director of Sales
Global Sales Office – Middle East & Africa
Dusit Hotels & Resorts

Wiam SAMIR, engineer and project manager with proven experience in sustainable development, has developed her international professional network through her involvement in NGOs such as the Morocco Green Building Council. After an experience in a renowned control office and the management of the LEED certification of the first high-rise building in Morocco (CFC First Tower), she continues to support developers of all types of projects. She manages a diverse portfolio ranging from hotels and palaces to high-rise office buildings and housing, as well as the largest university campus in Morocco. Perfectionist and visionary, Wiam advises clients on improving built environments. Her skills are supported by various professional accreditations that she holds, including HQE, LEED, WELL, Edge and BREEAM. Her passion for sustainable development was born during her academic career and recognized by a Master's degree in Interdisciplinary Design for the Built Environment from the University of Cambridge.

Wiam Samir

Director of Projects
SUSTAINWAY

An expert in the hospitality industry with over 10 years of experience in both Africa and the United States, Amaka Amatokwu-Ndekwu is known for her tenacity, passion, and leadership. The fact that she has a proven track record of being a results-driven, visionary, and change agent speaks volumes about her abilities as an industry leader. Among the initiatives she has pioneered are those geared at promoting Africa's hospitality and tourism sectors especially during the pandemic. She is a part of the Nigerian Economic Summit Group's operational team that focuses on the development of the hospitality and tourism sector. A subcommittee on human capital development and training policies is chaired by her. Her achievements include being a partner at Interswitch Group on Merchant Payment Services for hospitality and lifestyle organizations, a course facilitator at the International Security Organization (Switzerland), and an ambassador for the African Tourism Board.

Amaka Amatokwu- Ndekwu

Chief Executive Officer
The Pyne Hospitality Company
Co-Founder and Chairperson
African Association of Women in Tourism and Hospitality

Awa DIAKHATE is originally from Saint-Louis in Senegal. After obtaining a scholarship for excellence from the Senegalese government after her baccalaureate, she came to Morocco to pursue her studies. This was followed by a brilliant 13-year career in the luxury hotel industry (Sofitel, Relais & Châteaux, Small Luxury Hotels). She holds a master's degree in tourism and hotel business administration from the International Institute of Tourism in Tangier. She has enriched her profile through trainings in Morocco, France and the United States and several trips around the world. The hotel business and the world of travel and catering being a passion, Awa DIAKHATE offers, today, her expertise and experience for the benefit of restaurants and hotel and tourist establishments through Awa’Mazing Collection.

Awa Diakhate

Founder
Awa'Mazing Collection

Krista obtained a Bachelor of Hospitality at Leeuwarden Hotelschool in The Netherlands, after discovering a love for hospitality as a waitress in her teens. Having gained valuable experience in London, including at the legendary Dorchester, Krista re-located to South Africa, first joining the team at Kievitskroon Country Estate before moving to Azura Retreats, looking after Sales and Marketing for 8 years. Krista joined the team at the award-winning Saxon in 2019.

“I have always enjoyed working in Hospitality, there is nothing better than knowing that you are working towards the guest having the best possible experience at your hotel.”

Krista North

Director of Sales and Marketing
Saxon Hotel, Villas and Spa

Ahmed Raza is General Manager of Radisson Blu Anchorage Hotel Lagos VI, Nigeria since September 2020. He began his career with Radisson Hotel Group in November 2017 as Executive Assistant Manager. Raza has been associated with reputed brands such as the InterContinental Hotel Group, Marriot, Movenpick Hotel & Resorts and Hilton, where he held leadership roles. He began his journey with Hilton Houston Hotel in 2005. Having started his career in F&B, he has grown through the ranks over the years. Ahmed Raza took on a role with Radisson Hotel Group because RHG boasts an impressive portfolio of brands with properties in some of the world’s most desirable and exciting locations. In addition, he was most inspired by the fact that Radisson Hotel Group believes that people are their number one asset and invest in talent development.Through the years, Raza has had several experiences that stand out as best achievements. Nonetheless, his relentless passion for consistent development is one that stands out for him.

Ahmed Raza

General Manager
Radisson Blu Anchorage Hotel Victoria Island Lagos, Nigeria

Ele Emmanuel Uzoma is the Managing Director/ Chief Executive officer of Six Regions Hotels Limited, a Hospitality Advisory and Management company which has been in operation in the past five years. Prior to his present position, for the past 30 years he has been involved in Key Hotel Operations, Marketing and key Leadership responsibilities. Prior to joining the Golden Tulip Hospitality group in 2009 as a pioneer Directors Sales, Marketing and Corporate Affairs, for its Festac Lagos Property, Emmanuel was the Director of Sales and Marketing for Eko Hotel & Suites and the Sales Executive for Sheraton Lagos where he spent a total 17years for both properties’ .He was also the General Manager of state owned Imo Concorde Hotel, a 300 bed room property. MBA qualified in Marketing from Imo state University Owerri in year 2000, having previously studied Hotel Management and Public relations respectively.

Emmanuel Ele

Managing Director & CEO
Six Regions Hotels Limited

John is a passionate hospitality professional with over 25 years’ experience in executive management, directorship level, of several hotels, GM of 4-star deluxe, 5-star hotels and a timeshare resort. Acquiring his experience, he worked for notable industry leaders such as UK based Trusthouse Forte, Holiday Inn, Protea Hotels (acquired by Marriott), Three Cities Hotels in South Africa and Habtoor Hotels in Dubai. In 2007 he returned to SA, joined Relais Hotels/African Hotels & Adventures as Board Director where he developed an integrated CRS system linking the hotels to channels of distribution and overseeing all operational aspects of the Group. In 1990, he was successful opening GM of award-winning Peninsula All-Suites-Hotel, recognized as the best vacation ownership resort in South Africa. He became MD of the Manco with 25% shareholding and under his leadership improved share capital from ZAR 138K to over ZAR 3million in 5 years.

John A E Watson

Regional Director – Africa & Middle East
Preferred Hotels & Resorts

I am Self-driven professional with extensive experience of over 20 years in diverse industries of Airlines, Tours and Travel, Hospitality Solutions and Hotels. With my passion in Sales and Marketing and a sound knowledge of Rooms Division (including Revenue and Reservation), I have successfully been able to direct my strengths towards planning, organizing, strategizing, driving revenues and marketing to meet organizational goals. Working efficiently and committed to deliver great results by being proactive, offering value-added ideas to promote growth, profitability and an overall positive and healthy organizational identity. Recent challenge I have accepted is opening a new luxury camp, namely; Ishara Mara opening in March 2022, in one of the famous game park, Masai Mara.

Neelma Maru

Director Sales & Marketing
Ishara Experience Ltd, Kenya

Mr. Ben Dhafer Haykel is a Hospitality Technology Veteran, He has been involved in overall IT strategy design to execution. such as but not limited to Development and Monitoring dashboards for management, Organization of the consolidation of IT security devices, Preparation and control of budgets, Negotiating with Suppliers (framework contracts, trade negotiations, partnerships, IT purchases, guarantees), Administration of computer networks, Standardization of IT infrastructure hardware and software, VPN Client integration, Support Level 2 users, Spécialités: Système de télécommunication: 2G_3G, Outils: Site Master, MAPINFO, NEMO Analyzer, NEMO Outdoor, GENEX Probe, GENEX Assistant, Drive Test KPIs Optimization, Call Drops, Call Setup Failures, Handover Failures, Missing Neighbours and one-way neighbour optimization.

Bendhafer Haykel

Director Information Technology
Golden Tulip Hotels, Suites & Resorts

Wasiu Babalola is a Professor of Hotel Management & Tourism, Atiba University, Oyo, Nigeria and also an Adjunct Professor of Tourism & Hospitality, Faculty of Environmental Designs and Management, Lead City University, Ibadan, Nigeria. In addition to his academic roles, Professor Babalola is involved in a number of hospitality related consultancy projects such as membership of the International Management Council of Continent Worldwide Hotels, Turkey while supporting the brand's expansion into Africa. His work continues to contribute to policy/decision making in the industry, socio-economic and manpower development of the hospitality and tourism industry as he currently sits as Director of the African Travel Commission and on the International Branch Committee of the Institute of Hospitality, UK – Nigeria International Branch (IoH) as its Honorary Chairman having served as its Honorary Vice Chairman and Chair, CPD from 2014 - 2017. He is also a Council Member of the Nigerian Hotel & Catering Institute (NHCI) and the Certified Board of Administration of Nigeria (CBAN).

Professor Wasiu A. Babalola

Senior Vice President / CEO for Africa
Continent Worldwide Hotel

Mohamed Slama the Cluster IT Director of Movenpick Hotels & Resort in Tunisia managed by Accor group. The major projects during the pandemic was the achievement of the Accor safety program “ALLSAFE” for our guests and employees by deploying a digital IT solutions such as online PMS checkIn/Out, Mobile key solution, Online POS reservation system, Communication channels.

Mohamed Slama

Director IT - Tunisia
Movenpick Hotels

Dominique Dmytryszyn, a French native, joined Hilton Worldwide in 1980. With a solid background in Food & Beverage areas, accounting, finance and sales, Dominique has held several management positions within Hilton Worldwide. He started expatriation in London and Australia where he held key positions at Hilton on Park Lane hotel and Hilton Melbourne respectively. In 1996, he became Manager of Noga Hilton Cannes (France); in 1999 General Manager of Hilton Paris Charles de Gaulle airport (France) and four years later, he was transferred to the Hilton Strasbourg (France). In 2007, he took over the general management of the Hilton Evians-Les-Bains. Dominique Dmytryszyn has taken over from Gisela Münchgesang as fourth General Manager of the Hilton Mauritius Resort & Spa on 2nd April 2012.

Dominique Dmytryszyn

General Manager
Hilton Resort & Spa Al Houara Tanger

Harish Chandra is a Hospitality Technology Veteran with over two decades of expertise across multiple industries including the Hospitality, Aviation, IT & Telecom sectors, He oversees the IT & Telecom needs of the existing and new hotels and RSO's. Responsible for formulating and implementing IT strategy, technology solutions, information management initiatives and policies to support the organization’s business requirements.

Harish Chandra

Hospitality Technology Veteran