Albert co-founded Musafir.com, the UAE’s first premium online travel agency in 2008. He has led the company’s e-commerce technology through 10 years of growth, and oversees Musafir.com’s products, engineering and technology infrastructure. The company was recently recognized as one of Sharjah’s top 10 companies, among several other awards to its credit. Albert’s specializations include travel e-commerce, product management, user interface design, internet engineering and branding.Prior to venturing into travel in 2008, Albert had helped deliver award-winning online user experiences for leading brands such as Adidas, Emirates, HP and Mercedes-Benz. He began his career as a strategist at Wunderman and quickly rose through the ranks to Executive Producer at the renowned Proximity/BBDO network. He has been actively involved in the Middle East’s internet advertising and e-commerce industry since 2003.Albert is passionate about creativity and believes in innovation. He has a degree in computer engineering with honors from the American University of Sharjah and is a regular speaker on e-commerce technology.
A Travel Industry Leader with extensive experience and successes in starting and growing Travel Businesses in both Startup’ and Blue Chip Organizations both in offline and online trade targeting Retail/corporate & Airline sectors. A proven track record with specific expertise including Travel Management, Business Development, Operations Management, P&L Management & Travel Technology.”]A Travel Industry Leader with extensive experience and successes in starting and growing Travel Businesses in both Startup’ and Blue Chip Organizations both in offline and online trade targeting Retail/corporate & Airline sectors. A proven track record with specific expertise including Travel Management, Business Development, Operations Management, P&L Management & Travel Technology.
Director of Business Unit, CorporateYas Marina Circuit, UAE
Woven into Diego Lofeudo’s career is extensive experience and successes in e-commerce, business and market development in travel, tourism, and hospitality. Diego, Head of Digitalisation E2E at Fursan Travel (KSA), has previous experience in the region working as Head of Supply Marketplace Digitalisation with Al Tayyar (KSA) and spent over 15 years of senior roles at Expedia.com in Europe and Middle East. Diego has a BA and post graduated in Tourism Management, Master in Digital Business for ISDI (Spain) and recently International Digital Business at RCC Harvard (US). He is currently the Director of Retail and MICE at Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, UAE
Rais Ahamed, Director of Sales, Taj Hotels with over 6 years of leadership experience and 11 years of managerial experience in sales management including revenue/budget development, marketing, strategic planning, performance management, coaching, training and motivating staff. Certified Internal ISO Auditor and member of ECO Team at Le Royal Meridien & Grosvenor House Dubai 2005-2007. Currently, he is working with Taj Hotel as the Sales Director.
Highly Talented, innovative and performance driven travel /aviation management leader with over 22 years of committed excellence in Travel/Tourism/Aviation business verticals, through sustainable business models by leveraging excellence in leadership, people, processes and delivering ground breaking performance in Results People/Customer & Financial dimensions. Currently working with Kanoo Travel LLC, as General Manager & Board of Directors.
Tarique Khatri has an extensive experience in Profit Centre Operations, Marketing and Business Development. A keen understanding of theB2C e-commerce space in India and the Middle East with a specialization in the travel industry. At present he is the co-founder and CCO of Tajawal.
Vineet Budki, CEO & Co-founder of Guiddoo, a leading Travel Technology player in the In-Destination Space, was founded in 2014 to provide travellers high quality In-Destination Tour Guiding experience along with the option to choose the best tours, activities and tickets during their trip. Today Guiddoo counts Cleartrip, Yatra and Fly Dubai in its client list. Vineet’s experience in ecommerce, social media and technology having built the online distribution for Videocon d2h, India’s largest selling online Direct-To-Home Service as well as having worked for companies like Paytonic Network, Tata Consultancy Services, Tarifas24.es (Rocket Internet) and Emirates Airlines has helped build a strong platform for Guiddoo. Guiddoo is based in Dubai, UAE and Mumbai, India and has been recognized as one of the hottest travel tech players by PhocusWright Travel Innovation Summit, FB Start, WIT Bootcamp, Red Herring Asia, Global App Summit, and Dublin WebSummit.
Juan Iván Martín has 18 years’ experience in consulting, finance, product development and innovation. Based in Geneva, Switzerland, he is responsible for IATA´s innovation department launching initiatives to transform the Air Transport Industry with a central focus in distribution and payments. In the last years, he has conceived and launched global projects like NewGen ISS, easyPay, Industry Fraud Prevention or the IATA Coin concept. Owns and manages and supports the IATA Innovation Day, the Travel Innovation Competition, Innovation Expo, IATA hackathons an the Travel Innovation Fund.
Hadi is also the Managing Director of Al Alawi Group of Companies founded in the early 1930s by his late father. Today the group has emerged as one of the most diversified and highly regarded business houses in the Gulf region and beyond. He is responsible for the strategic direction and the driving force behind the development of his family’s business. He is widely recognized for the role has played in expanding the group’s portfolio towards a more diversified and globalized model. His group of companies is well diversified and active in the fields of advertising, marketing public relationships, IT and telecom, construction, general contracting, electrical and mechanical divisions, manufacturing, printing, property development, real estate and investment, travel, and fashion. Hadi is also the Executive Chairman of Fly.bh, the Chairman of Mackenzie Forbes Group, a Board Member of Innovative Film City, Chairman of the Executive Committee of Ebrahim Abdulaal Group of Companies, the Executive Chairman of Build Block Middle East, Founder and Board Member of Bahrain Family Business Association, a member and past President of the Manama Rotary Club, Founding Member of Manama Charity Fund, and a Board Member and a Shareholder of various companies worldwide. He is also advisory committee member for various organizations and he has been a featured speaker in international conferences and forums.
As the CTO of insydo and Brand Ripplr, Sami has applied his background in software engineering to build insydo (Dubai’s popular city guide) and Brand Ripplr, an influencer-marketing platform that is set to stir the region’s advertising sector. Tasked with leading the company’s digital evolution for both companies, Sami has been at the forefront of developing its technical infrastructure, including the creation of content and e-commerce platforms alongside native apps for iOS & Android. During this time, insydo was given the honour of being named ‘Startup of the Year’ by Arabian Business, making it one of the UAE’s fastest growing startups. With a passion for expanding the company’s digital outreach, Eltamawy and his team have focused on creating a user-friendly experience for the more than 400,000 unique monthly visitors that the apps and online portal command. A native of Egypt, the 27-year-old graduated from Cairo University’s Faculty of Engineering with honours before relocating to Dubai.
Tania Melissa Munoz currently working for Kempinski Hotel Mall of the Emirates as Director of Revenue management has a rich revenue background with over 10 years’ experience in the industry. Having started her career in Revenue at the young of 22, Tania has travelled the world and worked with some of the biggest names in the industry such as Mandarin Oriental, Four Seasons, Ritz-Carlton, Movenpick and Raffles. She has been based in the UAE for the last 5 years and during this time, has successfully driven her properties to rank as number 1 in their comp set as well as driving a succesfull revenue strategy which allowed her property to achieve new record room revenue numbers.
Director Sales & Marketing, Movenpick Hotel, Jumeirah Beach
Accomplished global management professional offering over 17 years cumulative wide international experience at developing policies offering recommendation with strategic business development. Excellent understanding of various business processes and skills in formulating customized strategies to ensure over all product visibility and enhanced sales performance within the hotel industry. Business growth specialist with a track record on completing successful professional assignments, across different regions throughout the Middle East and other locations. Expertise in managing process structuring, change management and strategically allocating budgets to ensure successful mobilization of various unit and process startups across different location.
Director of Sales & Marketing, Shangri-La Hotel, Dubai
Passionate Sales & Marketing hotelier who lives by unflinching integrity, contribute everyday motto. 14 years of experience in UAE luxury hotels sales & marketing, Dharmendra has worked with Kempinski, Raffles and The Oberoi Hotels to currently heading Sales & Marketing of The Shangri-La Hotel, Dubai. Dharmendra is currently specializing in digital marketing from Google Squared, has MBA degree from reputed S.P. Jain institute of management in marketing and an engineering degree in electronics. Dharmendra is passionate about key trends in digital marketing and the ways it can be used to benefit hotels, and is always interested in making new connections in the industry
Regional Digital & Distrib. Manager Millennium & Copthorne Hotels
A visionary and professional Hotelier with a BA in International Hospitality Management and over 17 years of experience (13 years in Dubai) in different roles, on both Hotel and Corporate Office level across different International Brands (Marriott, IHG, Movenpick, Jumeirah). In his current role (in Millennium & Copthorne Hotels Regional Office), he is heading the Digital & Distribution Function for the Middle East & Africa region, driving the e-Commerce Strategy for 32 hotels in operation and more to open very soon.
Geet Bhalla is the co-founder and CEO of HolidayMe, a Dubai-based online travel portal that was launched in 2014 and is now being hailed as the first of its kind holiday planning & booking engine that allows customers to customize, plan and book their entire holiday, online. Geet has a background in finance and banking technology with over 15 years of experience in building enterprise sales and marketing structures across the Middle East. He draws from this wide-ranging experience as he focuses on building HolidayMe as a leading brand of choice across the Middle East for personalised holiday travel. An avid traveller, Geet has been to more than 50 countries for business and pleasure. His extensive travel experience and business acumen led Geet to identify the immense opportunity that existed in the Middle-Eastern market for outbound online travel. He then set out with the vision to create a simplified platform that would enable travellers to plan and book a complete holiday experience in just a few clicks. Geet has completed his Master’s in Business Administration from Symbiosis University, Pune and has worked with large Multinationals throughout his career and has established excelled business connection in the Middle East business world. He also enjoys reading and exploring the potential of new technologies.
Director Market Vision Research & Consulting Services
Kumud Sengupta is the Co-founder and Director of Market Vision, a research and consultancy services firm established in Dubai since 1997. She has over 30 years of work experience in marketing, advertising, media, research and consultancy services. Kumud specializes in travel and tourism research and consulting, with clients that include the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), National Tourism Boards and the international travel trade. She is on the UNWTO Panel of Tourism Experts since 2006. In her capacity as a consultant with the UNWTO, she reports on MENA tourism and trends on an ongoing basis. An economics graduate with an MBA degree, she is a certified assessor and consultant for Sustainable Tourism. She is also the Managing Editor of Spotlight on Sustainable Tourism (SOST), an e-journal with a mission to promote sustainable business practices within the tourism industry. Kumud is a professional speaker at conferences and forums around the world, including the World Travel Market, London, ITB Asia and the Arabian Travel Market, Dubai. She also hosts and leads seminars and workshops on behalf of global clients. In 2016, she was conferred the ‘Iconic Leader Contributing in a Better World’ Award at the Women Economic Forum in New Delhi, India.
Mahesh Ammanath is Sr. Market Manager Destination Services at GTA. He handles Transfers, Tours & Activity services for GTA in the Middle East, Africa, India and Turkey region. With more than 22 years of experience in the travel industry, of which 14 years in Dubai, he has handled various significant portfolios with leading organizations such as Kuoni Travel India, VFS Global, Cox & Kings and EmiratesYoo part of Kuoni. Mahesh has vast exposure to implementation and Business Management in Travel industry with extensive understanding about Online Travel Management & Distribution for B2B & B2C channels, Tour Operating and Business Process Outsourcing.
Ammar Akhtar is the Founder and CEO of 1CallGroup Finalrentals which is a car rental booking innovation company in the UAE founded in March 2010. Ammar is the brain behind the online booking systems for Budget, Thrifty, Dollar and many other companies in the UAE. After working for years for many big car rental companies the company has launched UAE’s flagship car rental comparison and booking portal known as Finalrentals.com. Ammar’s dream is to make car rental reservations as easy as renting a movie from Netflix or ordering food from Zomato.
Director Revenue Management Analytics, Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts Management AG
With 15 experiences in the Travel Industry with major players in Hospitality & Car Nicolas Durand has wide experiences in Distribution, E-Commerce & Revenue Management and has work in all major markets in the world (Europe, North America, Middle-East & Asia). His career started with Hospitality European Leader Accor where he was in charge of management Online Travel Agents Global Accounts by negotiating global deals with all global players at the time such as Lastminute.com, Orbitz, Priceline. Then, he was in charge of the Outbound & Inbound Leisure Market for Europcar and was assigned of transforming the way Wholesalers & OTA’s were working to move them to the retail model over a short period of time. Since 2011 Durand has joined Movenpick and successfully transformed the way the company was handling Distributors & Traffic generation from a decentralized approach to a globalized approached. More recently Durand has taken over the task of building Global Reporting as well as having a global approach on Revenue Management.