The AEN 2022 International Board Line-up. The AEN board comprises 35 members from 21 countries and a province.
Masaru Takayama is a community-based ecotourism and sustainable tourism activist with expertise in energy conservation, green building, natural sciences, and experience in the outdoors activities especially with marine environment. He founded the world’s first ecolodge association, Japan Ecolodge Association (ECOLA) which later grew into the Asian Ecotourism Network (AEN), the authority in promoting authentic ecotourism in the region. Masaru serves a number of key positions in organizations both home and abroad pertinent to ecotourism and sustainable tourism. He is the founding chair of AEN and the Japan Alliance of Responsible Travel Agencies (JARTA). He also serves as the ecolodge advisor to Asia Pacific Tourism Exchange Center; auditor and advisor to the Green Destinations standards, Travelife, and Green Key; trainer at the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC); visiting researcher at the Taisho University. Masaru also served as an evaluator/judge of the Tourism for Tomorrow Awards, the World Legacy Awards, National Geographic, Wild Asia’s Responsible Travel Award. At home, he is the founder and owner of ‘Spirit of Japan Travel’, a responsible travel and tour company and a pioneer in converting the legendary over 80-year-old Shunyoso, a Japanese national cultural property into a community-based tourism facility incorporating sustainability.
The biggest reason why I have come to found AEN with my colleagues is to first, identify the existing ecotourism projects and organizations throughout Asia and second, promote them to the rest of the world with an external audit/benchmarking structure that works in Asia through one window, AEN. The information we receive and share should not be limited in English and other main languages, but also should be made available in Asian local languages. I will exert my utmost effort writing a new chapter in sustainable Asia with AEN.
Executive Director of the Indonesian Ecotourism Network (INDECON http://www.indecon.or.id) since 2002, Ary Suhandi earned his degree in biology at the National University (Jakarta, Indonesia). Considered a “Ecotourism enthusiast” by the Indonesian Ministry of Culture and Tourism , Ary has been a leader of nature-based tourism in Indonesia since 1987. His work has involved establishing and supporting ecotourism, community-based tourism, and conservation education programs in 15 of Indonesia’s 36 provinces.
Ary’s career history includes tourism enterprise development, program management, site monitoring and evaluation, field research, and tour operations for international agencies including Conservation International, The Nature Conservancy, the Asian Development Bank, the Japanese International Cooperation Agency, and the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (Japan). As a nationally and internationally recognized expert in nature and community-based tourism, Ary has served on the selection committees for international tourism awards administered by National Geographic Travelers (USA), and the World Travel and Tourism Council (UK).
Promote ecotourism development in Indonesia and increase people's respect on others, culture, and living environment.
Supi is a charter member and secretary to the Asian Ecotourism Network. She is also the Vice President of the Thai Ecotourism and Adventure Travel Association (TEATA). She has actively engaged in developing GSTC-based sustainable tourism standards for supply chains in Thailand with several trainings and workshops, in cooperation with the Thai government, non-profits, and international tourism organizations. Supi has been instrumental in winning the PATA Gold Award for CSR-Map Project. She currently manages the the Royal Silk Holidays and the Country Lake Nature Lodge in partnership with Travelife working towards sustainability in tourism.
It’s my honor also to join the Asian Ecotourism Networks recently on behalf of TEATA to co-operate with friends in ecotourism business to exchange knowledge and promote ecotourism within Asia and worldwide.
South Korea, Vice-Chair
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 Scientists Awards”.
SUSAN SANTOS DE CARDENAS
A Sustainable Tourism pioneer advocate specializing in Green Destinations Development and Management, Awards and Certification Program, with community social responsibility at grassroots application. A staunch innovator, resource person and keynote speaker in Sustainable Tourism training and capacity building to include Ecotourism, Community-based and Agri-Tourism. President & CEO of Society for Sustainable Tourism & Development Inc. (SST), she was a Consultant and Adviser for Local Government Units (LGUs) in the Philippines and currently advising national, regional and community-based organizations in Southeast Asia. Founding Board Member of the Asian Ecotourism Network, Green Destinations Southeast Asia Partner and Representative, and UNWTO Multi Advisory Council - MAC Partner.
A savvy tourism professional and hotelier with more than 20 years’ experience managing sales, marketing, operations, events - M.I.C.E. and human resources for small and luxury hotel resorts, tour operators, travel agencies, lifestyle events and publications in the Philippines, Singapore, Peru, Japan and currently, based in Jakarta, Indonesia.
GANA DAMBA GANTEMUR
Gana (PhD) is an advocate of sustainable tourism development and leader on strengthen the network of tourism practitioners and researchers in Mongolia and neighboring regions. He has done significant research works ("Science doctor" degree specialized on socio cultural and philosophical aspects of tourism) focusing on developing tourism as the core engine of competitive economic diversity, supporting local livelihoods and conservation of nature and culture across the country. He is founder of the leading tour operator company, named " Active and Adventure Tours Mongolia" AATM LLC in Mongolia. His scientific papers and articles on tourism development and sustainability were published by the UNWTO and other international journals. And he has 30 years of expertise and experiences in tourism in general and ecotourism working in Mongolia and overseas including Asian and European markets. He is currently the governing board member of the Asian region at the World Association of Travel Agencies (WATA, Switzerland) and several national professional organizations.
China and Hong Kong, Member
Alan Wong is the Dean and Professor of China Hospitality and Tourism School, and the founder and expert consultant for G&D Tourism, Hospitality and Educational Consulting. He has an MPhil and PhD from the School of Hotel and Tourism Management (SHTM), The Hong Kong Polytechnic University. In 2002, Dr. Wong received the first Teaching Excellence Award from SHTM in recognition of his superior classroom teaching and significant contribution to the enhancement of teaching and learning. He also received the SHTM Service Excellence Award of 2017. Alan serves as an advisor and consultant to Fung Yuen Butterfly Reserve, the China Ecological Civilization Research, Hong Kong Association of Registered Tour Coordinators (HARTCO). A prolific author of various published papers and articles in different hospitality, educational and management journals, his recent interests are in ecotour guiding, ecotourism as a tool for poverty alleviation and sustainability in hospitality industry. Alan is a certified GSTC (Global Sustainable Tourism Council) trainer, a Green Destination auditor/advisor and provides sustainable ecotourism training in Hong Kong and other ASEAN countries.
Samir is an entrepreneur and an educator of the hospitality. He is Nepal’s first Certified hospitality educator in Nepal and the founding partner and director of the American Hospitality Academy IHMS of USA with several other hotel management schools running across the USA, Nepal, South Africa, Philippines, Turkey, India and Bhutan. He served as the president of Council on Hotel, Restaurant, and Institutional Education (CHRIE) which is the World`s Largest Hospitality & Tourism Educator`s umbrella organization. He is a visiting faculty of Tourism schools in various universities located in USA, UK, Turkey, South Africa, India, Malaysia, Philippines, China, Sri Lanka and The Netherlands. Currently, Samir runs three Tourism & Hospitality Management colleges, a Business Management College, and two High schools in Nepal. He is also involved in horticulture and livestock farming, domestic aviation, logistic management and beautification products.
TONY CHARTERS AM
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.
Soulinnara is a young professional who graduated her Master Degree in Hospitality Management from Paris, France. She started her career as independence consultant for a small hotel in Vientiane Capital before moving to Agoda Hotel Reservation Online Company as a Market Executive for Business Development Sector. After working for Agoda for a year, she found out that to develop tourism industry, we have to start by developing human resource, so she applied for a teacher position in Lao National Institute of Tourism and Hospitality (Lanith). Now she works at Lanith as a core team teacher specialize in Food and Beverage Service Operations along with administrative work. As Lanith is one of the organizations that pay attention to Responsible Tourism, Soulinnara has spent sometimes to translate GSTC Booklet into Lao language by the supporting of Lanith Team and providing that booklet to students, private and public sectors in the tourism prospective. In 2014, she won a prestigious award from Pacific Asia Travel Association under the title “PATA Face of The Future” as the recognition of young professional who shows highly interest and support to Tourism Industry.
I would like to contribute to promote Ecotourism in Laos with real understanding of what is Ecotourism and how we can apply it into Lao tourism as a whole.
Karma works as a freelance consultant for the company he founded called Eco-Call (www.ecocalling.com) specialized in tourism planning and management besides others. He previously worked for the Government of Bhutan as a specialist for Nature recreation and ecotourism under Department of Forests and Park services. He started his career in the conservation sector as the National coordinator for the Tiger Conservation Project. It was during those years of conducting tiger surveys which further affirmed his conviction that addressing community concerns was a critical link to conservation. He completed his masters in resource management from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland and obtained his Doctorate from the University of Sydney looking at community based tourism as a positive force for the protected areas of Bhutan. Through his many years of experience both in the field and in planning he takes a practical approach to conservation and a firm believer of incentive based conservation. He has been instrumental in promoting community based eco-tourism within the extensive network of Bhutan’s protected areas. With the rapid urbanization of Bhutan he shares great concern in the future development of Bhutan’s tourism. He is a passionate conservationist and remains hopeful that tourism will be the most important sector in Bhutan to make significant contribution to the country’s development philosophy of Gross National Happiness. He also serves as an evaluator for the Nat Geo Unique Lodges Program. Besides his work he enjoys engaging himself in social work to help the underprivileged.
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.
Following a degree in national park management from Lincoln University, New Zealand and a master’s degree in tourism from Hokkaido University in Japan, Kazuhiro (Kazu) established Daisetsuzan Nature School in 2001. The school is based in Daisetsuzan National Park in Japan and provides eco tours, environmental education, and nature conservation programmes with the concept of “conservation by users”. Kazu tries to create a system of “wise use” with the local community towards a sustainability management.
Kazu is also a board member of Ecotourism Japan, and works as a Japanese GSTC (Global Sustainable Tourism Council) project member and a GSTC trainer, as well as a board member of WIN AINU (World Indigenous Network-AINU) which encourages AINU culture to be handed down for the future generation.
I would like to promote sustainable tourism in Japan through ecotourism practice as a tool for community development. I am interested in developing effective methods of encouraging tourists and locals to be happily responsible with their respect on others, culture, and environment. These should be achieved by many types of communications that are fun and neat rather than just putting signs up.
New Zealand, Member
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.
YI -YEN WU
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."
TIMOTHY TEO CHIN CHUAN
Timothy Teo is passionate about ecolodges and creating unique experiences. Graduating from UNSW (Sydney) in Civil Engineering (Hons) and also an MBA from AGSM, Timothy has spent more than 10 years creating new community based ecotourism and wildlife safari experiences in Borneo. Timothy is also well versed in the field of digital web marketing and harnessing of new technologies to drive better travel experiences.
A volunteer Member Secretary for the Bhutan Sustainable Tourism Society and serves as a Director and senior facilitator at Athang Private Limited, an organization dedicated to education, youth skilling and ICT development in Bhutan. She is also a steering committee member for the Trans Bhutan Trail project. Tshering has been responsible for development of community-based sustainable tourism in Phobjikha valley in Wangduephodrang district and the Haa valley in Bhutan while working with the Royal Society for Protection of Nature. Cherishing her experience of having worked with communities for many years, Choki still continues to pursue her passion for sustainable tourism development and engages herself in community development projects. She has also been working in projects dedicated to cultural landscape conservation integrating education and livelihood opportunities for communities through tourism.
It is my honor also to join the Asian Ecotourism Networks on behalf of the Bhutan Sustainable Tourism Society. As a motivating factor, Bhutan has always promoted ecotourism within the framework of the Gross National Happiness (GNH) philosophy. I will commit with my passion, interest and dedication to support the promotion of sustainable tourism within and outside Bhutan.
South Korea, Member
LEE YEONG JOO
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.
Holds more than 13 years of work experiences in tourism development; during this period, she has been consecutively in dialogue with various local, national and international stakeholders, including public, private, civil society organizations and ground communities. She has extensive experiences in planning, leadership, organizational development, public relations, project coordination and management, capacity building and research analysis. Based on her excellent work and qualifications, she has been designated in 2016 as the quality and standards Expert for ASEAN Mutual Recognition Arrangement on Tourism Professionals based in Jakarta. Working in many multi-sectoral and multi-cultural team environments, Sophea has had the opportunity to embrace the different ideas of others, as well as learn how to approach and tackle problems from a different perspective.
Sophea’s experiences with Cambodia Community Based Ecotourism Network (CCBEN) provided her the opportunity to develop the Community-Based Tourism Standards which later has been used as references to develop the ASEAN Community Based Tourism Standards and has been endorsed and used throughout the Southeast Asia countries. In addition, she also conducted many studies and researches for the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), SNV Netherlands Development Organization, WWF, SwissContact on ecotourism market studies, tourism destination management, feasibility studies, training needs assessment and various capacity building programmes.
Sophea holds a Master in International Development Studies from the Graduate Institute of Geneva, Switzerland, which has built her confidence and planted the success of her professional career. Her bachelor degree in Tourism Management has provided a strong foundation in tourism development, further reinforced by her expertise and working knowledge gained in the tourism sector since 2007. Working at the management level for more than 10 years has provided her with the skills and insight to think and work strategically, utilizing sound judgement and a broad perspective that anticipates consequences and forecasts a range of win-win scenarios.
Papua New Guinea , Member
CHRIS JAMIE SALEY
He started his dream for tourism in 1987 after seeing adventure tourist climbing the highest Mountain (Mt. Wilhelm) 4509 m in Papua New Guinea, which he himself submitted 35 times, now. Frequent by-passing tourists experience and interests grew into passion for tourism in his life and then he pursued a fulltime interest in tourism. Chris has been involved in Tourist Guiding and Porters service within his community for 5 solids years. In 1995, he undertook Diploma in Tourism and attained Tourism Project Development in 2006 with International Finance Corporation (IFC) and worked in tourism sector for 30 years as community ecotourism advocator.
He has been actively involved in Hotel Marketing and Tutor at Port Moresby Business Training Institute for Ecotourism in 2002. He has written the first PNG ecotourism Training Manual developed locally with source from sustainable tourism resource and outsource. He has also worked with Samuel Kepuknai for his community bird watching lodge in 2003-2005 and developed eco standard lodge and facilities in remote Western Province. Also developed Ecotourism Home base concept and conducted training for community tourism for rural PNG Communities.
In 2006, formed PNG Eco Tours, ecotourism specialist Tour Company providing adventures tours for last the 20 Years. Providing Tour Guiding and Porters service to tourist all over the world. Currently, in 2019 till now, he is the event Coordinator for Karimui Conservation, Agriculture & Cultural Show promoting community sustainable tourism in rural community. He also serves as the Ecotourism Technical Officer for Partners With Melanesian Inc., a PNG Based NGO specialized in Community conservation and livelihood development in rural PNG (Community conservation area tourism projects in 4 Protected Area Projects in PNG)
Create a frame work that can influence PNG Ecotourism Operators to reach and achieve standards and practise.
Conduct road shows in PNG and connect all AEN Members to attend and share their experience.
Also invite a membership in PNG from 2021-2025 to form sector of PNG Ecotourism Network desk here.
Nantapol Khaimuk left a career in finance and banking to pursue his true passion in outdoor activities and traveling. As a diplomat’s son, he has lived in many countries that has brought him a diverse and multicultural perspective in managing his adventure park and bicycle tours business. He is also serving as the Vice-President (Adventure) at the Thai Ecotourism and Adventure Travel Association (TEATA).
Since 2007 with Little World Co., Ltd., he has managed Tree Top Adventure Park one of Thailand’s first brands to bring soft adventure concept–ropes courses, zip lines, canopy walks, and other activities using trees to Thailand. The first branch in Koh Chang received two consecutive Thailand Tourism Awards and expanded the franchise nationally to four locations and regionally as a contractor to build exciting adventure activities. Through Urban Adventures Co., Ltd., he designs and builds innovating adventure facilities including the latest cafe on top of a santol fruit orchard, “On the Tree Prachinburi”.
In 2014 he went after another passion and co-founded Octo Cycling Tours which pioneered in bringing Thai cyclists to on trips abroad. The first trip was to Japan, quickly followed by Vietnam, Taiwan, South Korea, Myanmar, Laos, Germany, Austria, and Serbia. He continues to promote routes in his home country - Thailand.
As an international board member to the Asian Ecotourism Network, he is honored to place his highest efforts and experiences to the challenging roles and responsibilities at the AEN."
Nipatpong love to live meaningful lives with less as minimalist.He believe in nature healing power so he found the company "TREKKINGTHAI". Ecotourism Tour Operator specializing in trekking and forest bathing. His website Trekkingthai.com is one of the most famous travel website in Thailand that inspire Thai people to get connect with nature since 1999.
Experienced with all stages of the development cycle for sustainable tour program.Well-versed in travel experience design and digital marketing. Strong background in Standard development and Conservation projects such as Carbon Neutral holidays campaign.
NGUYEN DUC HOA CUONG
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.
KYI KYI AYE
Kyi Kyi Aye (Ms) is currently Senior Advisor and Tourism Consultant at the Myanmar Tourism Federation. She has extensive experience, leading consulting teams and coordinating within Myanmar governance, private sector organizations and development partners. as well as a strong network among public private partnerships. Over the last 12 years, since retirement from 30 years of service at the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism, Kyi Kyi Aye has worked as a free lance Myanmar national consultant in different regions of the country, leading a range of projects related to tourism planning and management strategies on ecotourism, cultural and heritage management, capacity building and human resource development , inclusive tourism development, rural development, SME competitiveness, poverty reduction, gender equity, child safe , and hygiene and safety.
She has a wide network with the government, the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism and tourism related departments, the private sector , the Myanmar Tourism Federation and works closely with key stakeholders in the Union of Myanmar Travel Association, Myanmar Hoteliers’ Association, Myanmar Tourism Marketing Association, Myanmar Tourism Human Resources Development Association, Myanmar Hospitality Professional Association, Myanmar Restaurants’ Association , Myanmar Tour Guides Association, and Myanmar Souvenir Production Entrepreneurs Association, Myanmar Transportation Services Association, and Myanmar Domestic Pilgrimage Association; as well as with the FDI hotels in Myanmar. Her greatest advantage is having earnest relationship with the national and regional government administrative authorities, parliamentarians, community elders , tourism and trade business sector, and relevant stakeholders.
Kyi Kyi Aye’s expertise during the past years as a tourism specialist, has involved her in many other tourism and related projects with several international development partners leading to the formulation of Myanmar Tourism Master Plan, Myanmar Responsible Tourism Policy , Community Involvement in Tourism, Myanmar Ecotourism Policy and Management Strategy in Protected Areas, Inlay Lake Conservation and Management Action Plan, Tourism Capacity Building and HRD Development and HRD action plans for the Ministry and the private sector. She has worked with international experts and integrated with other findings which covered ecology, water, health and sanitation, agriculture, sedimentation and agroforestry and natural resource management, watershed ecosystem, diversity of the ethnic groups, tourism SMEs, uphill and downhill communities. She has done rapid tourism value chain assessments in key tourist destinations; organized trainings and shared tourism knowledge with the parliamentarians, tour operators, hoteliers and tourist guides as well as tourism graduates and undergraduates.
Kyi Kyi Aye has a vast knowledge of the Myanmar legislature structure, laws , rules and regulations related to tourism business, cultural heritage, conservation and preservation, wildlife conservation, rural development, climate change, SME development, labor and diverse ethnic groups.
To support AEN’s objectives in promoting ecotourism in Myanmar with a focus on gender and social inclusions in developing strategies, action plans, project activities and trainings .
Joselito Costas organized the Bojo Aloguinsan Ecotourism Association in Cebu and developed the Aloguinsan River Eco-cultural Tour which turned fishermen and their families into community tourism champions and won 5 global awards in ecotourism: the 2015 United Nations Inspire Award in Community Tourism, the 2017 ASEAN Award in Community Tourism and a three-peat win as Top 100 Global Sustainable Destinations in 2016, 2017 and 2018. Through his company Grassroots Travel, he has trained local communities, local government units, private companies, resorts, hotels, tour guides, and tour operators on ecotourism and sustainable tourism strategies across the country and around the Asia-Pacific region. He sits as Board of Director of Eco Exploration, Philippine Parks and Biodiversity and the Bangkok-based Asian Ecotourism Network. The Department of Tourism awarded him the Philippine National Tourism Award (KALAKBAY) in 2003. In 2015, the University of San Carlos awarded him the Most Outstanding Alumnus in the field of Community Service. He was a University of California Berkeley Beahrs Environmental
Leadership Fellow in 2016, the same year he was recognized by Philippine Airlines as one of the Inspiring Filipinos. He was the Cebu Provincial Tourism Officer from 2016 to 2019.
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.
MALLIKA JASMINE NAGURAN
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.
JENNIFER CHAN KIM KIAN
FDr. Dr Jennifer Chan Kim Lian is a Professor of Tourism and Hospitality Management at the Faculty of Business, Economics and Accountancy, Universiti Malaysia Sabah. Currently, she is the Director of Borneo Tourism Research Centre; Professorial Chair Holder in the field of Tourism and Human Capital Development 2017 - 2018; International Visiting Professorial Fellow, Royal Institute of Singapore, Honorary President of the Royal Institute of Tourism and Royal Institute of Educators, Singapore; Advisory Committee Member of the World Gastronomy Institute, Spain. Professor Jennifer is an experienced tourism and hospitality researcher, consultant, and academician with professional experience in the field concerned. Her research focuses on sustainable and responsible tourism, human resource development, consumer behaviour, service experience, qualitative and mixed methods research.
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.
EVI ARTAY ARBAY
Evi Aryati Arbay is an Indonesian author, photographer, and ethnographer of the indigenous people and culture for Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Pakistan and Africa. For over nineteen years, Evi has documented the daily lives of people through books and photo essays capturing the diversity of culture and expressions of life. Her best-sellers include Dani, the Highlander – a book about the Dani tribe of the Jayawaijaya mountain range in New Guinea and Baduy Locked in Time. She is a recipient of several national and International Books for Professional Awards and photography awards including the Best book in Asia Pacific Cersion Eska Frog Award.
Sri Lanka, Member
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.
He developed Asian Adventures into an iconic name that promotes ecotourism through the tours and retreats across the Indian subcontinent. It is a all-encompassing entity, not only in terms of destinations spread across but also the genres of travelling. He coordinated with a dedicated team to help the organization reach new heights. The growing age of the company has brought three elements in abundance, promising ideas to add extra dimensions to travelling, aggressiveness to serving and maintaining highest standards of commitment with quality. The travel solutions offered carry transparency, uniqueness and a glorious experience in the end. He established ecolodges to promote responsible tourism at destinations like Sundarbans National Park, Gir National Park, Bandhavgarh National Park, Corbett Tiger Reserve, Doon Valley, Pangot, Jageshwar and Abbott Mount. Asian Adventures is now the largest tour operator in India of bird tourism. He has imparted ecotourism knowledge to Adventure Tourism Operators Association, National Certification and Conservation of Forests to develop framework for implementation. He has been conducting periodic webinars during the pandemic to exchange knowledge and illustrating the work of NGOs, stalwarts and associations to an ever-growing audience for ecotourism, conservation travel, spirituality and ethical digital business norms.
He joined Taiwan Ecotourism Association(TEA) since its establishment in 2001 as one of the founding members. And being elected as one of the board members or supervisors since 2005 to help promote ecotourism activities in Taiwan. The TEA joined AEN since 2016 and I or with Mr. CT Wu individually on behalf of TEA participating in all the meetings held by AEN thereafter. It’s great for me to be awarded as a qualified trainee after joining the 3-day-workshop of Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) while participating in the AEN annual meeting in Thailand in 2018. And it’s good for me to pay another technical visit arranged by AEN/GSTC in 2019 as no need to take the training workshop.
Also being a committee member of Agriculture Extension Committee and Organic Center of my University (National ILan University) respectively, I dedicate a lot my time and efforts on Agricultural Ecotourism particularly in some remote communities or indigenous villages. My current research partly focused on the application of vermicomposting with the eco-farming as well applying biological control on the invasive golden apple snail. My belief is that only when the environment is getting better, the people and the tourism industry will be better. I’ll keep on doing something good like promoting ecotourism and organic agriculture/aquaculture as well other eco-farming sectors.
Sri Lanka, Member
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
He is the founder of a number of highly successful businesses in Laos. He is President of Green Discovery Laos, the leading company for adventure tours and eco-tourism in Laos and the founder of three successful restaurants in Vientiane, and several hotels outside the capital. This remarkable man, who was born in a cave and went on to study at Moscow University, has completed the Iron Man challenge and continually strives for excellence in everything he does. His businesses now support more the 2,000 families, whilst embracing an ethos of strong social, cultural and environmental responsibility.