Albert Arias Sans
Head of Strategic Tourism Plan
Barcelona City Council

Albert Arias Sans holds a B.A. Geography from the Autonomous University of Barcelona and an M.A. Urban Management from the Erasmus University of Rotterdam. Since 2004 he has worked as a consultant, project manager, researcher, and teacher in different companies and universities on urban and tourism issues. He is also an active member of the Research Group on Territorial Analysis and Tourism Studies at the Universitat Rovira i Virgili. He is currently working on his dissertation on the enactment of tourism as a political issue through the case of Barcelona. He has also been the Head of the Strategic Plan for Tourism 2020 Barcelona since October 2015.

Dr. Emilienne Baneth-Nouailhetas
Attaché for Educational Affairs
the Embassy of France, Indonesia

Dr. Emilienne Baneth-Nouailhetas is a Professor and Researcher in English Literature and Post-Colonial Studies at the University of Rennes, France. Currently seconded at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, she is Attaché for Educational Affairs at the Embassy of France in Indonesia , in charge of the conception, implementation, management and evaluation of all French Government programs for the development of educational and Vocational Training partnerships with Indonesia. She is project leader and program director of “F.I.T.E.”, the Forum for International Tourism and the Environment, a space for scientific discussion and student debate
on the issues of environmental tourism development in France and Indonesia. She was previously Attaché for Academic Affairs and University Cooperation at the Embassy of France in the United States, in charge of French Government cooperation for Higher Education partnerships with the United States. From 2008 to 2011, she was Senior researcher, at the French national Research Institute, the CNRS and Director of a joint Center at New York University for International Research in the Humanities and Social sciences.

Leigh Barnes
Chief Purpose Officer
Intrepid Group

In 2018, Leigh was appointed to the newly-created role of Chief Purpose Officer to focus on the sustained growth of Intrepid Group’s purpose-led initiatives. As CPO, Barnes is responsible for working closely with The Intrepid Foundation and external partners as Intrepid Group seeks to create more shared value projects and operate a business with a purpose beyond profit. In 2018, the company will be committing 0.75% of global revenue towards purpose activities, creating a team of dedicated employees to lead The Intrepid Foundation, and attaining B-Corp status.


Most recently, Barnes led the company’s North American business as the regional director of North America for Intrepid Group out of the company’s Toronto headquarters. Under his direction, North America became the fastest growing region for the Australia-based company, with a recorded 60 percent growth in the past two years. He began his work with Intrepid Group in 2010. At the time, he was the Australian Social Media Coordinator. Over the years, he advanced through the marketing department at Intrepid Group’s Australian office, and when Intrepid Group expanded to North America, Barnes followed.


Born and raised in Melbourne, Australia, he will be returning to his hometown city in summer 2018 in conjunction with his appointment as Chief Purpose Officer. When not working, Barnes enjoys exploring the unseen places of the world. His favorite real-life experience was trekking through the Himalayas to Everest Base Camp on an Intrepid Travel tour.

Manuel Butler
Executive DIrector,
World TOurism Organization

Manuel Butler (born in Spain in 1959) is, since June 2018, Executive Director of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), a Specialized Agency of the United Nations.


He has been a Spanish Civil servant since 1985 and was the Director (CEO) of TURESPAÑA in two periods (2012-2013 and 2016-2018). In 2013 he was elected President of the European Travel Commission (ETC).


He holds a PhD in Naval Engineering, a Master degree in Senior Management, Program of the IESE Business School (PADE) and the University of Navarra and a Postgraduate degree in Corporate Finance at the London Business School.

He has extensive experience in Western Europe, North America and Latin America, acquired for more than 30 years working in management positions, both in the public and the private sectors. He has been Tourism Counsellor at the embassies of Spain in the United Kingdom and Germany and at the Consulate of Spain in Miami, where he boosted Spain as a cruise destination.

Currently, he belongs to UNWTO’s management team and he supervises four operational programs, such as sustainability and competitiveness. Previously, his objectives as CEO of Turespaña were the modernisation of the organisation and its network of Spanish tourist offices abroad.


He was a member of the Executive Committee of the Instituto Tecnológico Hotelero (ITH), of the advisory committees of the international tourism fair in Madrid (FITUR), ITB (Berlin) and WTM (London), and of the Board of Directors of AENA and Urlaub & Reisen (market intelligence). He has published numerous articles on tourism and has been lecturer in the E.T.S. Naval Architects, and the Instituto de Empresa - Madrid, among others.

Ed Jager
Director of Visitor Experience
Parks Canada

Ed Jager studied Economics, Anthropology and International Tourism Development. He has worked with the Parks Canada Agency for 20 years in a variety of field and national office positions. He is currently the Director of Visitor Experience where he has led the transformation of the Visitor Experience function across the Agency. His team has developed and implemented critical Agency programs including: standardized visitor service training for all staff; a national reservation and point of sale system; successful children's programs (Xplorers) and family programs (Learn to Camp) that reach millions of visitors each year; and new accommodations (oTENTiks) that have welcomed thousands visitors and generated millions in revenues. He has also seen visitation to Parks Canada places grow from 20 million to 27 million in the past 6 years. When he is not helping visitors experience the best of Canada he is playing outside with his family and friends.

Dan RIccio
Director, Department of Livability and Tourism
City of Charleston

Dan Riccio has worked for the City of Charleston, South Carolina for over 30 years, and is currently the Director of the Department of Livability and Tourism.  Prior to his current position, Dan was a police officer with the City of Charleston police department, and served in a variety of leadership capacities.  In 2002, Dan accepted the role as police liaison with the newly formed City of Charleston Livability Court, a venue addressing community quality of life issues. Dan retired from the Charleston Police Department at the rank of Lieutenant in 2010, and accepted a position as the director of the newly formed City of Charleston Livability Division, overseeing environmental code enforcement. In May of 2015, the City of Charleston updated its Tourism Management Plan recommending methods to help balance the quality of life between residents and visitors, and manage the impacts of increased tourism in the city.   The plan recommended merging the Livability and Tourism Divisions to form the Department of Livability and Tourism to improve communication between residents, visitors and the tourism industry. Dan assumed the role as the director of the newly formed department, which oversees code enforcement operations pertaining to residential and commercial property standards; protection and preservation of historically significant vacant structures; graffiti abatement; tourism management and enforcement; special events compliance, and short-term rental enforcement. Dan earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management from Limestone College, and a Master of Arts degree in Human Resources Management from Webster University.

Helen Marano
Executive Vice President of External Affairs,
World Travel & Tourism Council

Having joined WTTC in 2012, Helen Marano leads the efforts for expanding the awareness and engagement of WTTC and the T&T industry with the academia, other key tourism stakeholders and non-traditional organisations from the supply chain. Previously, she built the Government and Industry Affairs Department for the advocacy efforts of WTTC in presenting the industry perspective to government leaders and organisations.


Helen is a seasoned leader, having previously led the National Travel & Tourism Office of the United States for over a decade. This involved industry relations, policy formation, and oversight of the statistical system for T & T for the USA.  Her key accomplishments included opening up the USA for Chinese group travel, building the first Travel & Tourism Satellite Account, serving as the Chair for the Tourism Working Group of APEC, and collaborating in the formation of the Brand USA Corporation for marketing the USA.


Helen serves on:  the High Level Task Force for Child Protection in Travel and Tourism; the Advisory Board for the International Summit on Borders; and  the Advisory Board for the University of Surrey School of Hospitality and Tourism Management. Her continued leadership and engagement at WTTC targets to improve and protect the sustainability of the sector as she heralds the importance of Travel & Tourism for the economic and social benefits contributing to the world community.

Sarah Miginiac
General Manager, Latin America
G Adventures

Sarah Miginiac joined leading small group adventure operator, G Adventures, 13 years ago in 2005 as a Chief Experience Officer (tour guide) leading groups throughout South America, including taking more than 20 group trips to Machu Picchu. 

In 2007, Sarah moved into a management role, leading the team in the region's largest office, located in Lima, Peru. With her extensive knowledge and experience in the region, she quickly took on management of operations for Peru in 2010, and became General Manager for South America in 2012. 

In 2018, Sarah added operations for Central America to her role, becoming General Manager for Latin America, where she oversees the operations of more than 200 different tour itineraries that G Adventures runs in 19 countries.

Sarah was a member of the board of directors for the Peruvian National Chamber of Commerce from 2016 to 2018. 

Julie Regan
Chief External affairs & deputy director
Tahoe regional planning agency

Julie has 25 years of professional communications and government affairs experience in both the public and private sectors. Since 2003, she has served as an executive with the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, the first environmental interstate compact agency in the United States. The Agency is charged with the environmental protection of Lake Tahoe, the second deepest lake in North America. 

Julie is pursuing a Ph.D. in Environmental Science at the University of Nevada, Reno. Her research focus is on sustainable tourism, building on decades of experience at Lake Tahoe balancing environmental preservation in a $5-billion tourist-based economy.

Her previous experience ranges from publishing Treasures by the Sea magazine to running the marketing and real estate arm of ResortQuest International in Bethany Beach, Delaware.  Julie also worked in the water, electric, and natural gas utility industries.

Julie has a B.A. in communications from the University of Delaware and a master’s in journalism from Temple University in Philadelphia. She is accredited by the Public Relations Society of America and is the Co-Chair of the nationally-focused Network for Landscape Conservation.

Maria studied marketing at BI Norwegian Business School in Oslo, Norway, and completed an M.Sc. in Tourism Planning and Development from the University of Surrey in Guildford, England in 2005. Following her master’s studies she worked for 10 years in the field of destination and travel marketing, first as Project Manager for Tourism at Visit Reykjavik and later as Communications Manager at leading travel agency Hey Iceland. In 2015 she joined Iceland’s Ministry of Industries and Innovation where she currently works as Specialist in the Department of Tourism. The Department is responsible for developing and executing an official tourism policy, proposing legislation in the field of tourism and coordinating the work of various governmental bodies regarding tourism issues. Tourism has in recent years become one of the main pillars of the Icelandic economy. In her job at the Ministry Maria has been involved in a wide range of work, including projects in the field of tourist infrastructure development and tourism carrying capacity. Maria also serves on the OECD Tourism Committee on behalf of Iceland.

María Reynisdóttir

Tourism Specialist,

Department of Tourism,

Ministry of Industries and Innovation,


Kevin Schneider
ACadia National Park & St. Croix Island International Historic Site

Kevin B. Schneider is the superintendent of Acadia National Park and Saint Croix Island International Historic Site, a position he has held since January 2016.  Before his current post at Acadia, Kevin was the deputy superintendent at Grand Teton National Park and the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway, in Wyoming.   Kevin also served as the Acting Superintendent at Grand Teton from November 2013 to March 2014.  Kevin was the superintendent of White Sands National Monument from 2008 to 2011. While serving as superintendent at White Sands, Kevin held a detail assignment in 2010 as Yellowstone National Park’s acting chief of natural and cultural resources. He worked at Glen Canyon National Recreation Area as management assistant and again at Yellowstone National Park for six years as a park planner and in science communication. Kevin also worked from 1998-2000 in the Office of Communications at the National Park Service’s headquarters in Washington, D.C. He began his National Park Service career maintaining backcountry trails at Rocky Mountain National Park. In addition to his federal employment, Kevin worked as a Student Conservation Association volunteer at North Cascades National Park.





Dr Andrew Spencer is the Executive Director of the Tourism Product Development Company Limited, the agency responsible for the maintenance, development and enhancement of the tourism product in Jamaica.

Dr Spencer holds a PhD from the School of Tourism at Bournemouth University in the United Kingdom and was the first PhD graduate from the BU eTourism Lab. He completed his PhD in record time and his research focused on the determinants of technology adoption for travel retailers, with particular emphasis on the strategic management implications and leadership imperatives for owner-managers. This thesis was awarded the ITT PhD Student of the Year- 2011/2012, by the ITT Education and Training Committee, in the United Kingdom. Most recently, Dr Spencer was the Director of the Centre for Hotel and Tourism Management(CHTM), University of the West Indies, Nassau Bahamas. Dr Spencer, a Jamaican, has given over 15 years of service to tertiary education in the Caribbean region and is considered to be among the Caribbean’s leading and most sought after tourism academics. Before taking up the post as Director at CHTM, he was a lecturer in Tourism Management at the Mona School of Business and Management, and prior to this, was the Programme Coordinator for the M.Sc. National Security & Strategic Studies.


Dr. Spencer’s other educational achievements include an MSc. in Tourism and Hospitality Management in 2005 from UWI Mona and a BSc. (Honours) in Tourism Management in 2003, pursued at UWI Mona and CHTM. He has published extensively in leading international journals and presented at conferences on the areas of the travel supply chain, tourism advertising effectiveness, small hotel competitiveness, and gender issues in the hospitality sector. His research interests also include: drivers of technology adoption in developing countries, Critical Theory in adoption research and leadership in the Caribbean tourism industries. Dr Spencer has published a book titled The Leadership Imperative: Technology Adoption and Strategic Management in Travel Firms in Jamaica and co-authored Between Sticky Floors and Glass Ceilings: Female Employees in the Hotel Industry in Jamaica. His second single authored book, Travel and Tourism in the Caribbean: Evolution, Emergence and Transformations will be published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2018.

Norie Quintos
President, Norie Quintos Media & Communications
Editor-at-large, National geographic travel media

Norie Quintos is a communications and content consultant, advising destinations and travel companies on how to tell their unique stories. She has deep connections around the world, speaks several languages (badly), and has a Rolodex of talented writers, photographers, designers, and producers. She directs editorial teams for print and pixel projects. An Editor at Large for National Geographic Travel Media, she writes and blogs about the world of travel from a cultural perspective. She was the longtime executive editor of National Geographic Traveler and previously held staff editor jobs at U.S. News and World Report and Caribbean Travel and Life.

Richard Bangs
Chief Creative Officer, White Nile Media
Co-founder, Mountain Travel Sobek

Often called the father of modern adventure travel, Richard Bangs has spent decades as an explorer and communicator, pioneering “virtual expeditions” on the internet and leading first descents of 35 rivers around the world, including the Yangtze in China and the Zambezi in Southern Africa. He also founded Sobek Expeditions, the first multinational river-running company, and the pioneering outfitter for active wilderness travel. Bangs has published 19 books and more than 1,000 magazine articles. He’s also produced a score of documentaries and all manner of digital media. He has lectured at the Smithsonian, the National Geographic Society, the Explorers Club, and other notable venues. He writes a semi-regular feature for, freelances for other print and online publications, and produces and hosts Richard Bangs’ Adventures with Purpose, as seen on National Public Television. In the early 1990s, Sobek merged with Mountain Travel to become Mountain Travel-Sobek, a leader in international adventure and eco-travel. Bangs also began TerraQuest, one of the first online travel projects, and was part of the founding executive team of He also served as president of Outward Bound; created the “Well Traveled” series for; and was founding editor and executive producer of MSNBC’s “Great Escapes.” He lives in Venice, California, with his family.

elizabeth becker
author & journalist

Elizabeth Becker is the author of "OVERBOOKED: The Exploding Business of Travel and Tourism,"(Simon and Schuster) a groundbreaking examination of the global tourism industry. Named an Amazon Book of the Year, OVERBOOKED has been praised as "required reading for anyone interested in the future of tourism" by Arthur Frommer, "the definitive account of the rise of modern tourism" by Bloomberg Businessweek and "meticulously reported" by the New York Times. Ms. Becker is an award winning journalist who covered international affairs for over three decades as a New York Times correspondent, as Senior Foreign Editor at National Public Radio and a reporter at the Washington Post, where she began her career as a war correspondent in Cambodia. At the New York Times she was part of the staff that won the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the 9/11 attack. At NPR she received two DuPont-Columbia Awards for coverage of South Arica and Rwanda. She is also the author of WHEN THE WAR WAS OVER, A history of modern Cambodia and the Khmer Rouge, which won a Robert F. Kennedy Book Award. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Laura Hubber
President, White Nile Media
Reporter, BBC World Service

Laura Hubber is a media expert, tourism consultant and long-time producer and reporter for the BBC World service. She was a Foreign Correspondent in Bosnia and Herzegovina, for The San Francisco Chronicle and The European newspapers, and has consulted and reported from around the world, including Afghanistan, Cuba, Egypt, Israel, Macedonia, Myanmar, Kurdistan, Turkey and Rwanda. She has been a producer, editor and writer for a number of award-winning prime time shows, and was an American Lector and Soros Fellow at Sarajevo University. She currently lives in Los Angeles.

David Jessop


Caribbean Council

David Jessop is a journalist, writer and former association executive.


He has an influential weekly syndicated and electronically circulated column that addresses international and hemispheric political and economic issues. It appears in leading newspapers in the Anglophone and Hispanic Caribbean as well as in publications in North America and Europe. He writes a fortnightly Business of Tourism column for the Jamaica Gleaner which is also circulated among industry professionals. He is the Editor of the weekly publication Cuba Briefing and the fortnightly, Caribbean Insight.


In addition, Mr Jessop is a non-executive Director on the Board of Jamaica National Money Services Ltd, a part of Jamaica National Group and provides on a consultancy basis, high-level strategic support and advice on political, economic and trade policy issues related to the Caribbean. 


In June 1992, he founded the Caribbean Council with the support of the Caribbean and UK private sector and was appointed its first Executive Director, a position he retired from in 2014. As Director he worked closely with the Caribbean tourism, rum, sugar, and rice industries and Caribbean governments on a wide range of international policy issues. He is a former board member of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA).

Jonathan Tourtellot
CEO and Portal Editor
Destination Stewardship Center

Consultant, journalist, and editor, Jonathan specializes in sustainable tourism and destination stewardship. He originated the concept of geotourism, defined via National Geographic as "tourism that sustains or enhances the geographical character of a place—its environment, culture, aesthetics, heritage, and the well-being of its residents." He founded and for nine years ran National Geographic's Center for Sustainable Destinations, which continues today as the independent Destination Stewardship Center, He instituted and ran the landmark Destination Stewardship surveys published in National Geographic Traveler, 2004-2010. He speaks frequently at international conferences and is a designated National Geographic Explorer. His consulting firm is Focus on Places LLC.

Arnie Weissmann
Travel Weekly

Arnie Weissmann is editor in chief of Travel Weekly, the trusted source of news, research, analysis and opinion for the U.S. travel industry. He also serves as executive vice president/editorial director for its parent company, Northstar Travel Group, the largest business-to-business travel media company in the world, serving audiences in the Americas, Asia and Europe.


Weissmann’s involvement with travel journalism began in consumer media, publishing articles in dozens of national outlets, from the Washington Post to the LA Times. He entered business-to-business publishing after he launched the travel industry's first destination information service, Weissmann Travel Reports, providing frequently updated, unbiased profiles of every country in the world. (It has since been incorporated into Northstar product Travel42.) He also authored a best-selling geography textbook and served as publisher of critical hotel and destination guides for the travel industry in the U.S. and U.K.


Weissmann was a web pioneer, creating the first core destination content for America Online, creating AT&T’s corporate travel website and licensing travel content to Apple, Time, Inc., CNN and Marriott International, among others. After selling his company to Reed Elsevier, he was named group publisher for Star Service (critical hotel and cruise reviews), Official Hotel Guide Worldwide and a dozen OAG-branded publications in the UK.


In 1999, he took on the role of senior advisor for business development for Northstar Travel Group, and was appointed editor in chief of Travel Weekly in October 2001.


Weissmann is seen regularly on PBS as a contributor to the television program “The Travel Detective.” His commentary has appeared on CBS, NBC, CNN, BBC and Sky News television, as well as NPR, SiriusXM, Armed Forces Network and Monocle radio. He has been quoted in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today, among other publications. Weissmann is on the board of the non-profit Tourism Cares and has been a repeat guest lecturer at Cornell University School of Hotel Administration.


He lives in New York City with his wife and three children.