Arabian travel market dubai logo
1 – 4 May 2023

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.

Christopher Lund, Colliers

Executive Director, Head of Hotels, MENA Region

Christopher oversees the Colliers hospitality consultancy and asset management division of Colliers in the Middle East and North Africa. Over the past decade, the hospitality team has worked on more than 1,000 projects and deals in the region, providing advisory services to hotel developers, investors, operators, governments, law firms and banks. Christopher specializes in development consultancy and strategic asset management, ranging from standalone hotels to large-scale destinations and portfolios, as well as

hotel company strategies, hotel investment models and negotiating complex hotel management agreements. His operational and asset management experience allows him to have a 360-degree view and hands-on approach when providing actionable advice to enhance hotel profitability. Christopher holds an MSc in Real Estate Investment and Finance from Henley Business School, with other degrees and certificates from New York University, Ecole Hoteliere de Lausanne and The Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management.

Guy Hutchinson, Rotana

President & Chief Executive Officer

Guy Hutchinson is President & CEO of Rotana, one of the leading hotel management companies in the region with hotels across the Middle East, Africa, Eastern Europe and Turkey. Hutchinson is responsible for developing and executing the strategic direction of Rotana and devising and implementing short- and long-term strategies to help the company realize its expansion plans. In addition, he provides executive oversight of all aspects of Rotana’s day-to-day operations.

Hutchinson joined Rotana as Chief Operating Officer in January 2014, bringing with him extensive experience in the hospitality industry from markets as diverse as Japan, Australia, China, and India, in addition to a previous stint in the Middle East.

During his tenure as COO, Hutchinson has played an instrumental role in strengthening Rotana’s leadership credentials in global markets, driving the company’s quality standards and financial performance and ensuring the scalability of its business model with a view to creating shareholder value.

Spearheading the company’s expansion, Hutchinson led the introduction of 28 new hotels across 13 markets, launched a franchise model for the Group and oversaw the opening of new Global Sales offices in Paris, Milan, Amsterdam, and Istanbul to drive business from these key markets.

Hutchinson joined Rotana’s feted executive team with prestigious recognition of his own such as being named China's Most Innovative Leader (2011) and serving as the Chairman of the Australian Hotels Association (North Queensland).

The international hotelier’s career is notable for its creative leadership and his success in change management, repositioning, and building high performing teams.

Haitham Mattar, IHG Hotels & Resorts

Managing Director

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.

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, Middle East and Asia

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.

Jochem-Jan Sleiffer, Hilton

President Middle East, Africa & Turkey

Jochem-Jan Sleiffer is responsible for Hilton’s portfolio of hotels in the Middle East, Africa & Turkey. Across this dynamic region, Hilton has more than 179 hotels across eight market-leading brands and is rapidly growing with more than 181 hotels in its pipeline. Sleiffer has featured in Hotelier Middle East’s Power 50, as well as subsequent leadership lists for the region including Forbes Middle East Top 50 Travel & Tourism Leaders and the Arabian Business leading industry figures for EXPO 2020 Dubai.

Prior to his current position, which he assumed in January 2020, Jochem-Jan spent three years as Hilton’s Senior Vice President Operations, Continental Europe.  In the role, he oversaw operations in multiple markets from Russia to Iceland and the Iberian Peninsula.

Having joined Hilton as Chief Steward at Hilton Amsterdam in 1990, he has subsequently held multiple positions across Europe over the past 30 years. As well as General Manager positions in countries including Germany, France, Greece and Belgium, he previously led Hilton’s Northern and Central Europe region. 

Jochem-Jan graduated from high school in Huizen, the Netherlands, before obtaining a bachelor’s degree in Facilities Management (1990) and has subsequently attained an EMBA degree in Hospitality and Tourism Leadership (2014).

John Northen, Royal Commission of AlUla

Executive Director - Hotels & Resort

John has extensive experience managing large teams across various geographical markets. He has an in-depth knowledge of the hospitality industry as well as the healthcare sector. In his capacity as Executive Director for RCU, he is the head of the Hotels & Resorts team and in charge of the planning, development and oversight of hotels across AlUla.
 

Previously, John was the Executive Director for Hotels at NEOM, another of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s giga projects and worked directly with the NEOM CEO on the development strategy for all hospitality assets. Prior to this he was Executive Vice President for the Shangri-La Group of hotels based in Hong Kong and Dubai. John was also the Group Chief Executive Officer for Columbia Asia, a large chain of private hospitals across South East Asia, India and Africa and he held Senior Vice President roles with Marriott International in Asia Pacific and the Middle East.

Mark Kirby, Emaar Hospitality Group

Head of Hospitality

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.

Markus Oberlin, Farnek

CEO

Markus leads the award-winning facilities management company. His ability to strategically place Farnek as the UAE’s leader in technology and sustainability-driven facilities management, has seen the continuous digital transformation of the company’s business model.

Under his management, Farnek harnesses the power of digitalisation, to deliver a sustainable service delivery through people, process and technology.

A certified engineer / MBA, with over 20 years’ experience in the field of energy and FM, under Markus’ leadership the company has retained a successful bid since 2010 to provide MEP FM services to the world’s tallest building, The Burj Khalifa. He has also been responsible for securing FM contracts with leading blue-chip organisations such as Dubai Airport, DU, Etihad Airways, Emaar’s Dubai Mall and Yas Marina Circuit.

Farnek was the first company in the Middle East to receive the CIMS-GB green cleaning standard and ISO 41001 FM Standard accreditation.

Marloes Knippenberg, Kerten Hospitality

CEO

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.

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.

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.

What do visitors gain?

Looking for an opportunity to network and attend sessions from industry leaders about travel trends and innovations?

Thinking about exhibiting?

Display your country’s culture and gain exposure. Find out more about becoming an exhibitor at ATM.