Associate Director of Interior Design
Blink Design Group Pte Ltd
Zia Hansen is a trailblazing architect and interior designer. Specializing in interior hospitality design: luxury resort design, boutique hotels, spa resorts and high end residences. Zia Hansen has practiced architecture and interior design worldwide and brings to the team 36 years of international design experience.
For the past 23 years, she has specialised in hospitality, leisure and entertainment design. Zia has covered the broad spectrum of design and received international acclaim winning Hospitality Design Awards, AIA Nevada Design Awards and was also bestowed the title of “Most Influential Woman in Business in Southern Nevada (2003).
Zia has also taught as a professor at the Royal Academy of Architecture in Copenhagen, USC, University of Southern California and at UNLV, University of Las Vegas, Nevada. Creativity, boldness, luxury and style, meticulous execution and perseverance remain the hallmarks of her design philosophy.
Professor in the Department of Business Management
University of Pretoria, South Africa
Ernie Heath is a Professor in the Department of Business Management at the University of Pretoria, South Africa. Previously he served on the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Education Council and was also Deputy Executive Director of South African Tourism, where he was responsible for the international marketing and domestic tourism promotion of the country.
He was also a founding trustee of the Open Africa Initiative and serves on the Board of Regents for the Sustainable Tourism Professionals Programme. He is an experienced tourism practitioner, consultant and educator, for which he has received local and international recognition, including awards from Skål International, the UNWTO, Destination Marketing Association International and the Indian Ocean Tourism Organization.
His broad research and consultation interests are primarily in the fields of tourism futures, community tourism advancement, strategic tourism destination marketing and tourism management education.
Executive Vice President
Development and Innovation.
Jean Michel Offe has been with Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts for nearly 20 years. In 2013, he rejoined the group as executive vice president, development and innovation, in charge of the execution and implementation of all new hotel concepts and visionary designs.
Previously he was group director of food and beverage for the group. He was responsible for overseeing food and beverage operations globally and for driving the development of innovative restaurant and bar concepts for existing hotels and resorts, as well as for projects under development.
Prior to that Mr. Offe held management posts at Shangri-La’s flagship hotels in Bangkok, Singapore and Jakarta.
Mr. Offe has more than 30 years of luxury hotel experience and has worked for other luxury hotel groups around the world, including hotels in the United States, Canada, the United Arab Emirates and Oman.
CEO – Destinate, South Africa
Mariette du Toit-Helmbold is an international destination marketing and tourism thought leader, as well as a writer and public speaker on tourism, responsible tourism, destination marketing, brand innovation and digital strategy.
She established Destinate, an international specialised destination and tourism marketing agency, after an enviable tenure of 10 years as the CEO of Cape Town Tourism.
During this time she brought the fragmented tourism industry in Cape Town under one roof, with the establishment of a unified tourism body for the Greater Cape Town Metropole.
She now works with destinations and brands within and beyond South Africa to unlock their full potential, applying what she has learned and pursuing her passion for innovative, people-centred marketing and tourism.
She has a good undertstanding of global consumer trends, new markets, city tourism dynamics, wine tourism, challenger branding and the impact of new technology and the web on destination marketing and tourism.
CEO Roger Brooks International
Certified Speaking Professional
United States of America
There are very few people who have motivated more people in more places than Roger Brooks has in the travel industry. Over the past 30 years Roger has helped thousands of people transform ordinary places, businesses, and attractions into incredibly successful destinations.
Roger has assisted nearly a thousand communities, as well as many states, provinces, national parks, and countries with their branding, product development and marketing efforts. And beyond the public sector, Roger has worked with trade associations and businesses in the lodging, retail, and restaurant industries as well as attractions, tour operators and providers, marketing agencies, and the travel media. He is the go-to expert for anyone with ties to the travel industry or in downtown development where most travel spending takes place.
One of the most recognized and frequently quoted experts in the travel and tourism industry, Roger inspires and empowers audiences around the world to achieve their highest aspirations. He is extraordinarily dynamic. He’s also very funny, combining humorous video clips and fascinating real-life stories, while providing steps, rules and ingredients – bottom line solutions – that every audience member can implement today to make a positive difference tomorrow.
Roger began his career in the concert industry providing tour management services for international recording artists including The Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, Chicago, Earth Wind and Fire, and others, culminating in the famous Saturday Night Fever Tour with the Bee Gees.
From there he spent ten years assisting in the development and marketing of acclaimed destination resorts including Whistler Resort in British Columbia; Harbour Town on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina; Sunriver Resort in Central Oregon, and several others.
A board member of the U.S. Travel Association, a Certified Speaking Professional (CSP), and author of the popular book “Your Town: A Destination – The 25 Immutable Rules of Successful Tourism,” Roger has become one of the world’s most popular keynote speakers and authorities in the travel industry.
It’s not surprising that Roger’s personal motto is Ralph Waldo Emerson’s statement: “Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.”
Managing Director Seamarc Ltd
French coastal oceanographer and founder of Maldivian environmental consultancy Seamarc,
Thomas has set up residence in Malé, the capital of the Maldives. His firm Seamarc develops strategies for the tropical islands to counter the consequences of coral bleaching and adapt to forecast global changes. There are already two branches of his small company, one of them on the island of Fulhadhoo, where 5 Maldivian staffers build the frames for the Reefscapers program, as the coral propagation project is officially known. On the uninhabited island of Innafushi, Thomas is experimenting with 65 different coral species that he places in varying water situations to find out which constellations could help the islands best. Thomas is confident. “Since the 2010 bleaching, we’ve increased the number of various coral species in the interests of biodiversity.” He hopes that appropriate selection techniques will help make the coral reefs more resistant in the future.
Thomas has also been spearheading the environmental projects at Four Seasons Resorts Maldives since 2001. The Resorts’ wildlife conservation projects are run from its two Marine Discovery Centres by a team of ten full time marine biologists and two part time (six-monthly) marine biologists, each selected by Seamarc.
His chosen topic is – the importance of developing environmental programs for a resort.
Head of Corporate Banking
Jean Michel currently heads the Corporate Banking division of The Mauritius Commercial Bank (MCB) Limited. In this capacity, he has helped to arrange and structure the financing of many hotel and integrated resort projects in Mauritius and in the region. Previously he was a partner at De Chazal du Mee, where he was in charge of the Audit and Business Advisory division, and then at Ernst and Young where he advised a number of hospitality groups on various projects ranging from risk management to mergers and acquisitions, feasibility studies of green field projects and IPO’s.
Jean Michel graduated in Mathematics at the Imperial College of Science and Technology in London. He qualified as a Chartered Accountant at the London office of Arthur Andersen in 1990 and was made a partner of its local representative office in Mauritius in 1997.
He is currently a board member of MCB Factors Ltd and Finlease Ltd.
Jean-Marc Eynaud Architects Ltd
Born and bred Mauritian, Jean Marc is a major influencer in Mauritius whose hotel commissions have included resorts such as Belle Mare Plage, Le Prince Maurice, Shanti Maurice and Zilwa Attitude. Jean Marc’s architecture practice over the past 25 years has been conceiving and creating ‘tropical buildings’ – especially hotels, spas and villas in Mauritius and the Seychelles. This has always been with a deeply-held conviction that the design must be anchored within its natural setting, using water-based landscaping and the principles of simplicity and serenity as a guide.
Zilwa Attitude is a true manifestation of this philosophy. The entire hotel is a paean to Mauritian culture and heritage, with all elements designed to reflect the back-to-basics authenticity of island life. The contemporary ‘rustic chic’ architecture takes its inspiration from the design of traditional homes and old Creole grocery shops, thatch or shingle roofs, rough-hewn surfaces and walls, wax-polished floors and bright colours. Internally, rooms pay tribute to Mauritian writers, artists and craftspeople, with handmade limed wood furniture and locally sourced coconut fibre carpets providing a backdrop for beach-centric details (driftwood, pebbles, sand, rattan) and paintings inspired by Malcolm Chazal.
In another of Jean Marc’s masterpieces – Shanti Maurice – he used natural materials like granite, lava stone, local hardwoods, marble and slate to create a tropical resort which reflects the beauty of the surrounding environment. The roofs of the buildings, with their distinctive pyramid shapes, are covered in wood shingle or sugarcane thatch; a ubiquitous material obtained from the principal crop of Mauritius. Individual villas are laid out to maximise sea views and privacy, each carefully designed by Jean Marc to bathe the interiors in natural light and emulate the scale of a house. Added touches like private pools and outdoor rain showers add to the sense of this being a ‘destination resort’, while painting easels and telescopes encourage a creative use of the space.