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6 – 9 May 2024

Advisory Board

A key success factor to Arabian Travel Market is its ability to anticipate industry developments and trends and ensure these are reflected in the backbone of the event’s strategic development.

The ATM Advisory Board plays a important role in this, bringing together industry leaders from across the globe that reflect regional interests and those of our key global stakeholders including exhibitors, buyers, visitors and research agencies.

Reed Travel Exhibitions appreciates and values the industry insight and contribution the ATM Advisory Board Members offer in reflecting on key strategic issues and uses this forum to help shape and develop the event for the future.

Adnan Kazim, Emirates Airline

Chief Commercial Officer

Adnan Kazim is currently the airline’s Chief Commercial Officer reporting to the President Emirates Airline. He is a member on the Board of Emirates Airline Foundation, a non-profit charity organisation which aims to improve the quality of life for children.

Adnan joined Emirates in 1992 as a Management Trainee starting his career with the Group as a ground handling agent at dnata. 

He then went on to successfully lead the airline’s commercial operations in major markets such as the UAE, Switzerland, Pakistan and East Africa transitioning into a leadership role to shape the airline’s growth vision in the strategic areas of fleet planning, market expansion and governmental relations.

As Chief Commercial Offer, Adnan holds responsibility for Commercial Operations, E-Commerce, Emirates’ Loyalty Programme (Skywards) and Emirates SkyCargo functions. In addition, Adnan is responsible for Strategic Fleet Planning, Network Planning and Market Research functions as well as Revenue Optimisation including product pricing and Airline Partnerships.

Bassel Al Nahlaoui, Careem

Managing Director - Gulf

Bassel is the Managing Director for Careem in the Arabian Gulf, leading the company’s operations in the UAE, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain and Oman. One of the key things that Careem does is working in conjunction with local governments, and Bassel has led the way is creating a company strategy for the region. Prior to this he the Vice President of Business Development and Government Relations, looking after strategic 

partnerships, corporates sales across the region while working closely with Governments to develop favourable regulatory frameworks to grow Careem’s business.

Bassel holds an MBA from the Harvard Business School and a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering from the Purdue University, USA. Having advised and worked with firms across the Middle East and the United States in the past, Bassel brings over a decade of experience in management consulting and investment management.

Bilal Kabbani, Google

Industry Head, Travel & Tourism

Bilal heads the Travel & Tourism sector at Google in MENA where he partners with the largest travel and tourism organizations in the region to help them advance their digital maturity and leverage Google tech and data to achieve their marketing and commercial objectives.

Before joining Google, Bilal worked as a management consultant with Strategy& (formerly Booz & Company) where he led multiple engagements and advised CXOs in various industries across Indonesia, UAE, Saudi Arabia and Egypt.

Bilal holds an MBA from INSEAD, France.

Haitham Mattar, IHG Hotels & Resorts

Managing Director MEA & South West Asia / Special Advisor to Secretary General UNWTO - Sustainable Tourism Development

Haitham Mattar is Managing Director, India, Middle East and Africa (IMEA), responsible for driving the growth and strength of IHG and its hotels across the region. He is currently leading the operations and performance of more than 160 hotels as well as overseeing the strategic development of IHG’s plans with a pipeline of 106 hotels. Key to his role is maintaining and fostering relations with government stakeholders, tourism bodies and owner community across markets.

Previously, Haitham served as Senior Advisor to the Saudi Ministry of Tourism, advising on the National Tourism Strategy and the execution of the commercial tourism strategy to position Saudi Arabia as one of the world’s top, emerging tourism destinations.

Prior to this, Haitham was the CEO of the Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority, where he successfully repositioned Ras Al Khaimah to become one of the fastest growing, adventure destinations in the world.

With more than 25 years of experience in global destination and hospitality management and marketing, Mattar has also held senior roles within IHG, as well as Marriott and Hilton Worldwide.

Mattar continues to serve as an advisor to several travel and tourism organizations. Having been involved with UNWTO for several years, in 2020, he was appointed as a Special Advisor to the Secretary General of the UNWTO. Additionally, he serves as an advisory board member of the Arabian Travel Market, Global Thinkers Forum (GTF), the Al Marjan Development, Ras Al Khaimah and is a member of the Steering Committee of the Ras Al Khaimah Department of Economy.

Named ‘Tourism Promotion CEO of the Year’ at the Global CEO Excellence Awards, Mattar was featured in the Arabian Business ‘most powerful Arabs’ list, in addition to being named ‘Leisure and Tourism CEO of the Year’ at the prestigious CEO Middle East Awards and ‘Business Leader of the Year’ at the Hospitality Excellence Awards in 2018.

H.E. Issam AbdulRahim Kazim, Dubai Tourism

Chief Executive Officer

Issam Kazim is the CEO of Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DCTCM), which was established in December 2013 as an affiliate of Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism).

Having built and developed DCTCM’s team from the ground up, as well as its large network of international offices, Kazim leads all activities vis-à-vis the branding, promotion and marketing of the emirate of Dubai. 

He is instrumental in negotiating and facilitating global partnerships and plays an integral role in the development of relationships with industry stakeholders, partners and investors that contribute to the overall growth in visitation to the city. He also regularly acts as a key media spokesperson and the face of Dubai Tourism for events, presentations, interviews and visiting VIP delegations, influencers, public personalities and government bodies.

Kazim’s accomplishments since taking up his post at DCTCM in February 2014 include developing innovative destination tools and dynamic digital platforms to enhance the visitor experience in Dubai. He has also played a pivotal role in facilitating high profile broadcast productions such as Amazon Prime’s The Grand Tour, as well as other initiatives that have helped showcase Dubai as a ‘must-visit’ destination. Kazim has also initiated collaborations with A-list celebrities including an award-winning #BeMyGuest campaign featuring Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan.

Kazim previously worked as Director of DXB Live and Commercial at Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC), and successfully launched strategic live events including Dubai Music Week.

Jamel Chandoul, Amadeus

Senior Vice President Retail, META & EMEA

Chandoul joined Amadeus in 2011 as Head of Global Sales for Amadeus Rail bringing a strong distribution background from previous roles with Rail Europe and Eurostar. In 2014, he took over the position as General Manager of Gestour in Strasbourg after the company’s acquisition by Amadeus. He was subsequently appointed as Commercial Director of Amadeus France and managed both roles from 2016 until this year.

Additionally, Jamel Chandoul took responsibility for leading commercial activities with Business Travel Agencies in Western Europe in 2018.

John Northern, PIF (KSA Public Investment Fund)

Vice President - Hotel Operations

John’s illustrious journey, spanning over 30 remarkable years, bears testimony to his relentless pursuit of growth and excellence. A magnate in the hospitality and healthcare sectors, John’s forte lies in identifying lucrative growth opportunities, spearheading pivotal hotel openings, overseeing development strategies, and crafting Hotel Management Agreements.

From his transformative role as Area Vice President of Marriott International, where he ingeniously orchestrated property expansions in Southeast Asia, the Middle East, and Africa, to steering Columbia Asia Healthcare to new heights as the Group CEO, John’s leadership has been nothing short of monumental. During his tenure, he initiated several community outreach programs that have left a lasting impact, echoing his belief in corporate social responsibility.

His tenure at the Shangri-La Group witnessed him championing strategic investments and developments, notably expanding the company’s foothold in Europe, the Middle East, India, and the Indian Ocean Region. At Shangri-La, John also spearheaded groundbreaking sustainability initiatives that have set new benchmarks in the industry.

Moving forward, John served as the leading figure in the hotels and resorts division at the Royal Commission for AlUla in Saudi Arabia, where he sculpted a legacy of unprecedented growth and prosperity, drawing from his invaluable experience in the Kingdom, including his role as Executive Director at NEOM.

Currently, as the Vice President of Hotel Operations - PIF Projects, John continues to drive the industry forward, setting new standards of excellence in the region’s hospitality sector.

John’s transformative influence in the industry has been recognized widely; over the past three years, he has been named one of the most influential executives in the Middle East for three consecutive years and has been listed among the most influential industry executives in KSA. Moreover, he was recently honored as a finalist for the “Hotelier Middle East Trailblazer of the Year” award, a testament to his unwavering commitment to innovation and progress.

Mark Kirby, Emaar Hospitality Group

Chief Operating Officer

A veteran hospitality professional with over two decades of international experience.

In 2007, Mark moved to Dubai joining two of Dubai’s most respected hotels – Grosvenor House Dubai and Le Royal Meridien Beach Resort & Spa, before joining Emaar Hospitality Group in 2014 as Hotel Manager of Armani Hotel Dubai. He was subsequently promoted to General Manager.

Under his leadership, Armani Hotel Dubai achieved several global recognitions including 27 service-related accolades in 2018.

Mark has also managed the iconic flagship hotel, Address Downtown, as well as other Emaar Downtown Hotels such as Address Fountain Views, Address Sky Views, Palace Downtown and Vida Residences.

Mark was promoted to his current role as Head of Hospitality in January 2021.

Holds a BA (Hons) in Hospitality Management from the University of Central England in Birmingham, UK. Mark worked at some of London’s most prestigious hotels where he spent 15 years developing his experience and career. And attended several professional development programmes.

Actively involved in charity work and fundraising through his love for endurance sports, including marathon running. Mark is also the President of Dubai Lankans Rugby Sports Club, an avid diver, and is actively involved in developing young talent in the industry.

Marloes Knippenberg, Kerten Hospitality


The award-winning CEO of Kerten Hospitality, Marloes Knippenberg, has established the organization as a disruptive, dynamic international hospitality group dedicated to the management of mixed-use developments in key global destinations.  

Her journey in the hospitality field started with Hilton where Marloes held senior operational and commercial management positions for over a decade.  

At the helm of Kerten Hospitality, which she developed and launched with the backing of Kerten, Ireland-based investment vehicle, Marloes has grown the organization’s operational and pipeline portfolio from one brand in one country to 12 aspirational lifestyle-driven concepts in 35+ development projects across 3 continents.

Known for her mentorship empowering the next generation of hoteliers, the topic of sustainability within the larger context of ecosystem’s build and the creation of “authentic” experiences in “Cities of the Future” developments, Marloes continuously pioneers the role of innovation across the whole value chain of investors, owners and the hospitality leadership. She has been a mentor for students in hospitality schools and has been a Co-Chair of the Student Hospitality Challenge by Hotelschool The Hague which this year saw finalists on stage in Dubai – a final round sponsored by NEOM in KSA.

She sits on the Advisory Board Bench, a global events’ organizer, and is a Vice Chair role of GRI’s Hospitality Club connecting C-Suite real estate and Infrastructure leaders from around the world. Marloes serves on the Advisory Boards of flagship events like IHIDC – Vienna, AHIC - UAE, HITEC - Dubai, IHIF - Berlin and is frequently invited to contribute Though Leadership to industry forums: ITHIC - Italy, SHIC - Saudi Arabia, HOST – London and The Retail Summit, Dubai.

For two years in a row, Marloes was listed in the Hotelier Middle East Power List 2020 ranking the region’s most influential industry professionals. She has been on Hotelier Middle East 25 'women in hospitality power list' listing women who are making waves in the industry. She is the Winner of CEO Today’s 2020 Business Women of the Year recognition in hospitality.

Mohamed Awadalla, TIME Hotels

Chief Executive Officer

Mohamed Awadalla is an international hotelier with over three decades of experience with leading global hospitality brands.

After completing his studies in Hotel Management in 1985, Mohamed began his career with Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts. Building his career from General Manager to Area Vice President, in 2012 he co-founded TIME Hotels where he took up the position of Chief Executive Officer.

Today, with overall responsibility for the company’s Resorts, Hotels, Hotel Apartments, Express Hotels, Residences and Motels, Mohamed’s remit is to spearhead future development and drive the commercial success of TIME Hotels’ rapidly expanding portfolio across the Middle East and Northern Africa.

Mohamed Jassim Al Rais, Al Rais Investment

Chairman & CEO

Being a part of the owner’s family, Mohamed’s entry into Al Rais business dates to 2002 marked by his active participation in the Management Development Program.

Following the attainment of his graduation from American University, Sharjah in 2006, Mohamed has accomplished a Leadership Program course at London Business School, London and Barclay University, San Francisco. Furthermore, he has attained certification in IATA Management.

Al Rais Investment is Owner & Partner with Al Rais Travel & Shipping Agencies LLC, Al Rais Travel Agencies LLC, Al Rais Tours & Holidays LLC, Al Rais Cargo LLC, A1 Business Center. They also own Al Rais Rent a Car LLC, Kangaroo Services and Al Rais Real Estates.

Additionally, Mr. Mohamed is Honorary Chairman of Dubai Travel & Tour Agent Group (DTTAG) and Vice Chairman of Dubai Rental Car Group. He is also an active member of the Stakeholders of Dubai Tourism.

Mohammad Al Bulooki, Etihad Aviation Group

Chief Operating Officer

Mohammad Al Bulooki was appointed Chief Operating Officer of Etihad Aviation Group in July 2018, leading all operations of the core airline business as well as Etihad Airport Services.

Mohammad previously held the role of Executive Vice President Commercial of Etihad Airways since January 2017, leading global sales, marketing, partnerships and guest experience. 

He joined Etihad Airways as Vice President UAE Commercial in 2015, responsible for all UAE sales, retail operations, tourism research and partnerships.

Mohammad has held several leadership posts in Abu Dhabi’s aviation sector, including Chief Commercial Officer of Abu Dhabi Airports Company. He began his career at Etihad Airways Engineering as an Apprentice Engineer Trainee in 1998.

Mohammad holds a BEng in Air Transport Engineering from City University in London as well as a Diploma in Aircraft Engineering from Abu Dhabi Men's College.

Nadia Ibrahim, Ricardo Rail

Middle East Director for Sustainability

Nadia Ibrahim is a sustainability specialist with over 15 years of experience in Middle East with well defined expertise in multiple sustainability fields including Net Zero & Decarbonization, ESG, Circular Economy & Waste, Sustainable Tourism as well as in ISO & Health and Safety Systems. She is a well-known sustainability expert in Middle East and is regularly featured in many leading sustainability conferences in ME as a speaker and panelist. 

She is currently serving as Middle East Director for Sustainability with Ricardo PLC a UK based international environmental & engineering consultancy leading the sustainability services in Middle East. She has served as the Board Director for UNGC Global Compact UAE Chapter driving sustainability within businesses in UAE. She is passionate about integrating environmental & social concepts into her work and works actively towards changing the way companies view sustainability and social responsibility, from mandatory to an opportunity to innovate. She is one of the few sustainable tourism experts in the region certified by Green Globe & has certified and driven sustainability with many leading hotel chains in UAE & Middle East Region. 

Raki Phillips, Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority

Chief Executive Officer

Raki Phillips, CEO of Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA) since June 2019, brings a wealth of industry experience to aid the continued growth of Ras Al Khaimah as one of the fastest growing destinations in the world. Phillips is an award-winning hospitality veteran and serial entrepreneur with over 20 years of experience working with some of the world’s most renowned brands including Ritz-Carlton Hotels, Fairmont Hotels & Resorts and Universal Studios Orlando.

He was recognized & published by Hotelier Middle East as “Top 20 Most Powerful Arab Hoteliers in 2012”. Phillips, an American national and a fluent Arabic speaker, has a great understanding of the region having worked in the Middle East since 2005 and specifically in the UAE since 2007.

Phillips joins RAKTDA from the Dubai based International Hospitality Consulting Group INHOCO, where he was Senior Partner and Senior Vice President of Development. In this role he developed hotel project pipelines exceeding $5 billion in assets and negotiated multimillion-dollar hotel deals for global luxury brands in 12 countries and 26 markets. As well as launching and developing hotels globally, Phillips is one of the Co-Founders of Earth Hotels a sustainable, tech-forward and design centric hotel concept.

Phillips is also an expert in the food & beverage sector and was behind several successful concepts including Hard Rock Live Orlando and Noire the Middle East's first Dinner in the Dark restaurant. He is also the Co-Founder and CEO of SugarMoo Desserts, Dubai’s first online dessert delivery bakery that has expanded from a home grown UAE concept to a popular regional brand in multiple countries including KSA & Oman. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and an MBA in Organizational Management.

Sandeep Walia, Marriott International

Chief Operating Officer - Middle East

Sandeep Walia is the Chief Operating Officer for Marriott International in the Middle East. With over 25 years of international experience in the hotel industry, Sandeep is currently responsible for the operations of Marriott’s properties in the Middle East (including Egypt and Turkey) which features over 150 operational properties and more than 90 properties in its pipeline.

Sandeep is a seasoned hospitality professional with strategic business acumen driven to deliver operational and financial excellence to create market leading returns and establish mutually beneficial partnerships and relationships with stakeholders. A dynamic and result-oriented leader, he is adept at building and nurturing high performance teams guiding and motivating them towards setting and achieving visionary goals by effectively aligning company values with key business initiatives and brand experiences.

Sandeep joined Marriott International in 2005. Prior to his current role, Sandeep was the Area Vice President for the United Arab Emirates and overlooked the operation of the company’s largest market in the Middle East. Before taking on his role in the UAE, he was the Area Vice President - Luxury Brands for Western Europe, overseeing the company’s luxury portfolio across Austria, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Iceland, Netherlands, Poland, Switzerland, the UK and all BVLGARI hotels in Europe.

Having worked for brands across Asia (India), Middle East, Africa and Europe, Sandeep has a global mindset and a key understanding of the consumer landscape and their evolving needs and aspirations.

Sandeep’s other key accomplishments include an Executive MBA from the Kellog School of Management at Northwestern University, a degree in Leadership from Harvard Business School and a post-graduate from the Oberoi Center of Learning and Development.

Of Indian origin, Sandeep currently resides in Dubai and is a member of the Young Presidents Organization.

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