The individuals below have significantly contributed to the foundation and management of AEN who are no longer on the incumbent board. AEN does not exist without their contribution.
June 02, 2023
Emeritus, South Korea
Mihee Kang (PhD) is a research professor at the Seoul National University, studying topics related to protected areas management and sustainable tourism. She received her doctorate at Seoul National University in 1999 and became the first PhD in the field of ecotourism in South Korea. She serves as an executive board member of Ecotourism Korea and as a consulting fellow of Ecotourism Consulting Committee organized by the Korean Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism. She is appointed as a GSTC Global Assurance Program Director (South Korea) and the first Country Representative for the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC). She has actively participated in numerous ecotourism and protected area projects in Korea and abroad such as Australia, China, Indonesia, etc. She published many articles and books including the first ecotourism book in Korea titled “Ecotourism: Guidebook for Alternative Development and Management of Ecologically Sensitive Local Area” and the recent one titled “Opportunities and Challenges of Ecotourism in ASEAN Countries”. She was also the winner of “UNESCO 2000 Young Scienti sts Awards”. >>Read Mihee's interview article by Sustainability Leaders
TONNY CHARTER AM
June 02, 2023
Tony has over 20 years experience in tourism planning, development and management. He was a founding director of Ecotourism Australia and has served continuously on the Board since 1991. He has also served on the Board and Executive of The International Ecotourism Society for many years. An environmental scientist and urban and regional planner by profession, Tony entered the tourism industry after a senior executive career in World Heritage Area and protected area management. He has worked variously as tourism operator, policy developer and tourism agency executive director. Principal of Tony Charters and Associates, he advises leading industry operators and government on planning, destination development, sustainable management and tourism investment. In 2014 he was awarded an Order of Australia (AM) by the Governor-General for his services to the ecotourism industry, nature-based recreation and environmental education. >>Read Tony's interview article by Sustainability Leaders
June 02, 2023
Johnny Orn is a Khmer environmental conservationist and a sustainable ecotourism developer inside protected areas of Cambodia with a focus on community livelihood projects. He led a local non-profit, Sam Veasna Center for Wildlife Conservation based in Siem Reap, which won the Gold World Responsible Tourism Award and the Country Sponsor Award from the Royal government of Cambodian. Orn has over twelve years’ experience developing alternative livelihoods, cultural and natural tour guide training and curriculum development for training of trainers. He has actively participated in numerous ecotourism and protected area projects in Cambodia, Malaysia, China, Indonesia, etc. and different seminar in sustainable development within protected areas and alternative projects for the grassroots. Orn is passionate about nature and birdwatching, and travels locally and internationally to promote and connect ecotourism people and birders around the world.
I would like to share my experience in ecotourism development and its benefit as a model to all Asian countries where there are rich natural heritage and culture and to support both conservation and people.
June 02, 2023
Emeritus, New Zealand
Zane’s Eco and Adventure Tourism career has spanned more than 20 Years. Starting as a teenager in New Zealand’s Adventure Tourism sector he found his passion for the environment had a strong voice in the interpretation of natural history, ecology, culture and environmental science. During the 1990’s and the early 2000’s Zane owned and operated SME adventure tourism companies in New Zealand and travelled widely working in Adventure Tourism operations around the world. In 1997 he aptly named his white-water rafting company ‘eco rafting’ and used the rafting journey to bring out the stories of nature's surroundings. He has been actively engaged in bringing the theory of Ecotourism to practice and thus working in the tertiary education sector for the past 20 years in tandem with his operational workload. This work has taken him many places and had him involved in a variety of tourism and education operations in Australia, Italy, Turkey, Spain, Portugal, China, Philippines, Malaysia, USA, Hawaii, United Arab Emirates, Hong Kong, Sri Lanka, Chile and Scotland. Zane is a dedicated communicator and shares his enthusiasm openly for sustainable tourism across all sectors. He operates a tourism consultancy, a professional development retreat company and finds time to teach Ecotourism & environmental sciences at Tai Poutini Polytechnic in New Zealand. He holds a Masters in Science (Entrepreneurial Leadership) from Edinburgh Napier University, Scotland.
To assist AEN’s scope in future development and the inclusion of a wider geographical and international view on Ecotourism, bringing ideas, experiences, and insights to the AEN governance team, doing so by bringing my practical and academic skills to the table.
June 02, 2023
An urban development planner , associate professor and director at the Department of Tourism, Tungnan University, Taiwan. He received his BA degree from Chung Yuan Christian University, his master’s degree in Taipei University and his Ph.D from Chaoyang University of Technology. He is also a member of a council in Ecotourism Taiwan, an NGO while being a consultant for tourism policy in some counties. Current research focuses on Community and sustainable tourism."
LEE YEONG JOO
June 02, 2023
Emeritus, South Korea
He is working for making forests green in Asia since 2QQ2. As a researcher, he elaborated to identify conflicts between civil society and government on natural resources management and to find a way for solving it particularly in the field of protected areas management such as national parks and nature reserves. He published research articles and two books in Korean about forest healing and rural tourism development in Korea. After joining AFoCO, he worked as a project manager and developer as well. He engaged a negotiation for the establishment of AFoCO and worked for collaboration with many of the developing countries including ASEAN member states and others in Asia. He is a Director for Planning and Budget Division of AFoCO Secretariat since 2017.
June 02, 2023
Dr Claire Ellis is currently Chair of Ecotourism Australia, is committed to good governance and is keen to see ecotourism play a stronger and more effective role in lifting the profile and importance of quality tourism across the region and globally. Claire has worked for over 35 years in tourism starting out running her own small charter expedition cruise company in Asia, then working for other tourism operators, in State Government, as an academic and researcher and most recently as a consultant. She now runs her own consulting company, based in Tasmania and working across Australia, and increasingly overseas, on a range of tourism, regional and volunteer projects. Her work focusses on the development of destinations as well as new product and tourism experiences, ensuring they are developed to create sustainable long term outcomes for communities and the wider region. She also undertakes work in the volunteer sector and is an Honorary Research Associate at the University of Tasmania.
NGUYEN DUC HOA CUONG
June 02, 2023
Over the past 26 years, Mr. Cuong has established a strong reputation as a tourism professional in Vietnam. His full-time jobs include: Tourism Researcher for Vietnam National Administration of Tourism, Inbound travel business manager of Hanoi Redtours Travel Company, Senior Tourism Adviser of the Netherlands Development Organization SNV, Principal Lecturer cum Head of Tourism Department of Hanoi University. His major areas of expertise are tourism planning and policy, sustainable tourism, travel business operation and management, tourism entrepreneurship. Beside the full-time job, he is a member of some professional organizations such as Vietnam Tourism Certification Board (Certified Trainer), Travelife Sustainable Tourism (Certified Auditor), Executive Hospitality Program of Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (Certified Tourism Lecturer), IMC Krems University (Academic Manager for Vietnam) or University of Palermo (Visiting Professor). He has been intensively providing tourism professional consultancy and training services for Vietnam Government authorities and tourism business associations and various international development organizations such as UN, EU, ADB, JICA, UNESCO, Lux-Dev, AFD, SNV, IUCN, WWF, Helvetas, to name a few. He is the first author of several publications for example The White Book Year 2018 and Year 2019 on Green Growth in Quang Ninh Province, a book chapter “Locality and Culinary Preferences of International Tourists” in the Heritage Tourism Research Project, Kyoto University of Foreign Studies (ISBN: 978-4-89467-372-4), a book chapter “Planning for the future: Tourism options for an open pit coal mine at Ha Long Bay, Vietnam”, Routledge Advances in Tourism Series (ISBN 13: 978-0-415-56090-0) or a journal article “Bai Tu Long Bay – A perfect destination for ecotourism”, Vietnam Tourism Review (ISBN: 0866-7373).
I would like to join AEN to facilitate knowledge development and transfer, capacity strengthening and destination marketing across the Asian region. Specifically, I am willing to undertake any duties, missions or projects which contribute to achieving sustainable development goals for the tourism industry. I can take lead or participate in different areas of intervention including policy making and advocacy, consultancy, training and education, tourism entrepreneurship and management.
MALLIKA JASMINE NAGURAN
June 02, 2023
Mallika Jasmine Naguran is an experienced practitioner with specialisation in the environment, research and communications. She has expertise in business sustainability, social responsibility, marine conservation, environmental audit, impact assessment and environmental management. Her work experience includes policy formulation and planning, strategy development, business and sustainability integration, monitoring and measurement of performance, reporting and communications. To raise awareness on sustainability, she contributes articles to Gaia Discovery online publication and writes commentaries for newspapers.
June 02, 2023
Dr. Zhang Yujun, who earned PhD in Forest Planning at Tottori University in Japan, is currently professor in Department of Tourism Management at Beijing Forestry University. Dr. Zhang is also a director of the Center for Ecotourism Development Research in Beijing Forestry University, a member and deputy secretary-general of Ecological Tourism Committee of Ecological Society of China and the Technical Committee on Wetland Protection of Standardization Committee of China. In addition, he is an executive director of Forest Park subdivision of Chinese Society of Forestry and Forest Tourism subdivision of China National Forestry Industry Association, and a director of Beijing Tourism Society. Additionally, he is an editorial board member of Tourism Tribune and Chinese Ecotourism Magazine.
June 02, 2023
Emeritus, Sri Langka
Renowned as a trendsetter and influencer in Sri Lankan tourism, Hiran Cooray contributes an immense mixture of passion, honesty, integrity and tenacity to the industry. Carrying on the legacy of his father, the late Herbert Cooray, Hiran is the current Chairman of Jetwing Symphony PLC which comes under the Jetwing family of hotels and will be the brand’s vehicle for future investment and growth in the leisure sector. He is also the Chairman of The Lighthouse Hotel PLC, long known as the beacon of the South. Jetwing is a family owned company which counts a storied history of over 4 decades. His achievements are numerous and much acclaimed, being educated at the prestigious St. Joseph’s in Colombo and going on to graduate from the University of North Carolina and having followed a General Mangers course at Cornell University. Hiran has represented Sri Lanka on the Board of Directors of the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) as Chairman from 2010/12, President of the Tourist Hotels Association of Sri Lanka (2005/8); and was appointed an Alternate Member of the UNWTO – World Committee on Tourism Ethics 2017-2021. Hiran is currently the immediate past president after serving for the second term as President of Tourist Hotels Association of Sri Lanka 2014-2016. Hiran also served on the Board of Sri Lanka Tourism Promotions Bureau (2014-2016), having already served as a board member of the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) from 2010-2014. Hiran has also been a Member of the Board of Small Luxury Hotels, from 2007-2014. In addition, he holds over 50 directorships in various hotels and related companies – making him a much sought after speaker/panelist at tourism related international forums.
June 02, 2023
Emeritus, Sri Langka
Srilal Miththapala has over 25 years of wide experience in the hospitality industry. With a first degree in Electrical Engineering, and then embracing the hospitality industry, his career commenced with hands-on experience in operations, managing Sri Lanka’s leading 200 room 4-star Resort Hotel in Sri Lanka He then gradually moved up the ladder into leading group operations overlooking 4 resort hotels, and strategic business management, marketing and development. His last 10 years in the private sector was as CEO of Serendib Leisure Management, which had a portfolio of 4 popular resort hotels under its management. He is credited with transforming one of the group’s hotels, Hotel Sigiriya, into a well-known eco-friendly hotel, during his tenure as CEO. For his efforts he was awarded the Green Jobs award in 2008 by the Government of Sri Lanka. Srilal has also had a considerable exposure in the international hospitality arena, participating and presenting papers in many international symposiums, workshops and travel fairs, particularly in the Asia Pacific Region. He was the President of the Tourist Hotels Association of Sri Lanka (THASL), the main private sector national tourism organization in Sri Lanka from 2009 to 2010. After working in the Private Sector, he led the very successful EU funded SWITCH ASIA ‘Greening Sri Lanka Hotels’ project administered by the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce which was Sri Lanka’s main tourism sustainability platform. The project was adjudged as the best EU SWITCH ASIA project in South Asia and was showcased at the EU in Brussels. Now retired, he engages in various consultancy assignments in Sustainable Tourism Development, Environment & Wild Life. He has worked with many private sector organizations, including MDF (the contracting arm of the Australian DFAT program), You Lead (a contracting arm of USAID) and the World Bank in Washington. Srilal has also been a visiting guest lecturer at the Plymouth University UK and Monash University Melbourne on Sustainability themes. He has been the key note speaker at several eco-tourism and sustainable tourism forums. He is a fellow of both the Institute of Electrical Engineers UK, and Fellow of the Institute of Hospitality UK. During his free time he now pursues his passion of enjoying wild
ALBERT TEO CHIN KION
June 02, 2021
Albert has been the charter member and the vice chair of Asian Ecotourism Network, since its foundation. A graduate in Economics (Honours) from the University of London in 1977, Albert has been in the tourism industry for the last forty-three years. He founded the Borneo Eco Tours and the Sukau Rainforest Lodge, both winning numerous international awards including Asia’s Leading Green Hotel, Wild Asia Responsible Award, PATA Tourism Inspire Award, Malaysian Association of Tours and Travel Agents. He is the founder of the non-profit Borneo Ecotourism Solutions and Technologies (BEST) which received the UNWTO Ulysses Award for excellence and innovation in tourism. Albert received a Fellow of the Edith Cowan University and serves as an adjunct lecturer and professor at the ECU and the University of Malaysia.He has also served in various capacity in the tourism industry including Sabah Chapter Chairman of Malaysian Association of Tours and Travel Agents; Chairman of the Sabah Tourist Association; Board of Advisors to The International Ecotourism Society (TIES); and Marketing Committee of the Sabah Tourism Board. Albert received the Special Minister’s award in 2019 at the Sabah Tourism Award Night. He is a keen photographer and a prolific writer and author with ten published books including the best-selling "Sabah-Land of the Sacred Mountain", "Journey through Borneo", "Saving Paradise-The Story of Sukau Rainforest Lodge" co-authored with Carol Patterson, and his latest book "A Souvenir of Sabah Malaysian Borneo". He has immensely contributed to the promotion and growth of ecotourism network in and across Asia. Wherein, he has justified the use of ecotourism as a tool for social entrepreneurship and poverty eradication /alleviation.>>Read Albert's interview article by Sustainability Leaders
June 02, 2018
Xiaomei is the Operation Manager of Dragon Expeditions, the only Chinese member of Responsible Tourism Association in UK. Dragon Expeditions aims to explore the great outdoors in western Sichuan. Who earned rich experience of hosting national and international travelers (both adults and students) on trips and expeditions to remote and stunning mountain regions. In 2015 Dragon teams established a center for nature-based learning and community development called Yunhe (Forest School) on the plateau, as a platform for the global students to pursue, impart and exchange ideas of environmental awareness, responsible tourism and restore local unique diminishing culture and traditional ethics in Danba, Zhonglu from over mass rapid tourism development. Xiaomei is the first Chinese winner of Rotary Foundation World Peace Fellowship and is working on the strengthening of Chinese local communities and grass-root NGOs, supporting their cultural and environmental conservation. Xiaomei has over 6 years of work experience in environmental protection and non-profit organization development. She has a passion for promoting nature education and workshops on community sustainable development.
June 02, 2018
Professor Sheikh Md. Monzurul Huq graduated in Geography (with a special focus on Recreation and Tourism Geography) from the University of Windsor, Ontario, Canada and Geographical Information Systems (GIS) from the University of Durham, England. He is currently the Chair of the Department of Geography and Environment and Dean of the Faculty of Law, Jahangirnagar University, Dhaka, Bangladesh. Previously he was the Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences of Jahangirnagar University, Bangladesh. His fields of research interest are: Recreation and Tourism, GIS applications, Medical Geography, Spatial Epidemiology and Ecology. Professor Huq published more than 40 articles and chapters in various national and international journals and books. He presented more than 50 papers in various national/international seminars and conferences. He is married and father of two daughters.
June 02, 2018
She is currently the Director at the Kerala Institute of Tourism and Travel Studies,an autonomous institution under Tourism department of Government of Kerala, India. She has almost 20 years of experience in top level management in Government administration. She is a Post Graduate in Management, Computer Science, Human Resource Management and took PhD in Management from the University of Kerala. She has graduated in Civil engineering (B Tech). By being the Managing Director of KTDFC at the age of 28, she was the youngest ever Managing Director of a PSU under Government of Kerala. She has worked with various Government departments like Transport as well as Higher Education of the Government of Kerala as Chief Executive and now is in the Tourism Department. As an administrator she has achieved many goals and is highly regarded for her services towards the State in matters of development and in overall progress in related fields. Under her leadership KITTS has become an affiliate member of UNWTO and member in the Knowledge Network of UNWTO. Because of the efforts taken by Dr.RajashreeAjith, KITTS is the Vice President of Affiliate Members of UNWTO in Asia Pacific Region. Moreover, KITTS has become the Kerala Chapter of Internatiional Centre for Responsible Tourism (ICRT). KITTS has also become an Organisational Premier Plus Member of The International Ecotourism Society (TIES) during her tenure. She is playing a key role in placing KITTS as a leading tourism educational institute at international level.
AGHA IQRAR HAROON
June 02, 2018
Agha Iqrar Haroon is an international and national tourism consultant and has been working with national and international tourism organizations for the last 32 years. He started his career as a tourist guide at the age of 17 while working with Pakistan Tours Limited (PTL) that is subsidiary of Government of Pakistan. He formed Ecotourism Society of Pakistan (ESP) in 1997 and manned its team as president for 10 years. He formed The Region Initiative (TRI) in 2009 for connecting South Asia, Central Asia and Eastern Europe. He is President of TRI.Having Master degrees in Group Philosophy and History, he has been teaching group development, ecotourism and responsible tourism in state run institutions including Pakistan Austrian Institute for tourism and Hotel Management (PAITHOM) Swat and Institute of Tourism and Hotel Management (ITEM) of Government of province of Punjab. He is registered scholar for Ph.D in Anthropology. He worked as Consultant with Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation (PTDC), Ministry of Tourism Government of Pakistan, Pakistan Austrian Institute for tourism and Hotel Management (PAITHOM) and Regional Development Society, (RDS) Austria. He had been on board of several international and national tourism bodies as member. His academic work and research papers are cited as the "reference" in many national and international publications including:
Tourism and sustainability: development, globalization and new tourism. ISBN: 978-0-415-41403-6. Date of publication: 29th September 2008.
Himalayan perceptions: environmental change and the welfare of the people who live in the mountains. Rector of the United Nations University. ISBN: 978-0-415-31798-6. The second issue of 2006.
Local people and environmental issues: An Encyclopedia.ISBN: 0-313-32398-4.12/30/2003.
June 02, 2018
He started his career as a teacher in high schools and Universities in Sri Lanka from 1970-1979. Since 1975, he has been actively occupied in Sri Lanka Tourism holding of top management positions. He has been working as a Tourism Consultant for the, Tourism Resources Improvement Project (TRIP) and several other Ecotourism Projects initiated by the Ministry of Tourism, Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority, and Japanese Bank for International Corporation (JBIC), German Technical Cooperation (GTZ) and several other public, private sector and international organizations. Presently, Palitha is the Managing Director of Sri Lanka Eco Tours, a model travel agency dedicated to promote genuine eco and sustainable tourism programmes in Sri Lanka. Palitha is the founder President of Sri Lanka Ecotourism Foundation (SLEF), the pioneer National Ecotourism Society of Sri Lanka that was established 16 (sixteen fifteen years ago) At present he is the Director of the Research and Training Institute on Sustainable and Ecotourism, managed by Sri Lanka Ecotourism Foundation. He is also an external Board Member of the Faculty of Tourism Studies, Sabaragamuwa University of Sri Lanka and a Visiting Lecturer in Ecotourism at the Travel and Tourism Institute (Hotel School) of Sri Lanka managed by Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) Palitha was the founder General Secretary of the Association of Small and Medium Enterprises in Tourism Sri Lanka (ASMET), the pioneer SME Tourism Association in Sri Lanka. At present, he is one of the Directors of Association of Small and Medium Enterprises in Tourism Sri Lanka (ASMET),
June 02, 2018
Bijaya Pradhan said ecotourism means the combination of culture, nature, and environment and with this three things combined together then there is a blend of Ecotourism which helps in the protection of the local culture, nature and the environment. It also helps in income generation for the local people of that particular area or region. He added that There is a high potential of Ecotourism Development in the Asian region, though back in his days in Nepal there were challenges to overcome, such as let the people know what Ecotourism means and what are the benefits once they go through it and also to convince the local as well as the central government, which is time consuming. Fortunately, in 1998, he talked with the Nepal Tourism Board and SNV - Kathmandu and came up with an idea of establishing Sustainable Tourism Network. He said by engaging with AEN, he could also engage in sharing his experience and knowledge with other companies, organizations, people, institutions, and would love to make the best destination in the world. For this, he added, we all have to join hands in developing a policy recognized or endorsed by the state government. Together we all can make the development of Ecotourism & Sustainable Tourism here in the Asian region so we as an AEN member should come up
GRACIE VERONICA GEIKIE
June 02, 2017
Gracie, aged 57 years when joined AEN, has 38 years experience in the hospitality, tourism, marketing, hotel and event management industry allowing her to bring forth valuable input and advice in entrepreneurial business management concepts, operational restructures as well as research and survey analysis for the related fields of hospitality, tourism and marketing. She holds a Masters in Business Administration (Preston University) and an MBA major in Tourism & Hospitality Management (Australian Institute of Business, Adelaide). She is currently pursuing her Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) majoring in event tourism (Victoria University, Switzerland).Gracie was awarded in October 2014 the Darjah Utama Yang Amat Mulia Bintang Kenyalang Sarawak (PBK) by the state government of Sarawak for her contribution in tourism.
June 02, 2017
With a passion for his native region of Kerala in India and a concern for its unique river culture, Gopinath Parayil (Gopi) established the Nila Foundation in 2004. While exploring ways to create sustainable financial support for the activities of the foundation, he established The Blue Yonder (TBY), a pioneering Responsible Travel company, which is now working across several regions in India. The Blue Yonder has been recognized with several international awards for using tourism as a tool for positive change in destinations, including their innovative campaign, the "A to Z of Responsible Tourism," which helps to educate tourism businesses on how to understand and implement sustainable tourism best practices.>>Read Gopinah's interview article by Sustainability Leaders