Esam Ahmed holds a bachelor's Degree in Public Administration from American University of Sharjah. He also completed DP World Leadership Development Program from American University of Sharjah.
Esam joined DP World in 2005 as trainee, and in 2007 he started his career as A Sales Executive. In 2010, Esam became as Account Manager-Break Bulk and bulk cargo, with this bigger role and responsibility of overseeing the sales and the account management of all clients using Jebel Ali - General Cargo Terminal.
Currently, Esam holds the position of Commercial Manager-Mina Rashid & Mina Hamriya overseeing the whole sales and account management of both ports.
Saeed Al Dhaheri is the Cruise Sector & City Tour Development Manager at Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi), where he manages the development of the cruise sector and implementation of visitor experience development.
Al Dhaheri is credited with progressing the Authority’s ambitious cruise sector strategy, as well as developing TCA Abu Dhabi’s visitor information service, which he managed for six years.
Having joined TCA Abu Dhabi in 2003, Al Dhaheri, who is fully media trained, currently oversees a six-strong specialist cruise products team and his key achievements include the successful development of the destination’s world-class home-port and port-of-call capacity by driving its credentials in key regional and international cruise markets.
Having overseen the destination promotion for the opening of Abu Dhabi’s Cruise Terminal, he is responsible for the coordination of a multi-partner cruise development steering committee. Al Dhaheri also chairs a quarterly Visitor Information committee in partnership with the United Arab Emirates branch of the international Les Clefs d’Or, consisting of concierge from across Abu Dhabi’s hospitality sector.
Al Dhaheri holds a Masters of Communication on Tourism and Culture from the UAE’s Zayed University.
Mr Salim Al Mamari is the Director General for Tourism Promotion at the Ministry of Tourism, the government entity in charge of tourism for the Sultanate of Oman. With over 20 years of experience, he has been actively present in the travel & tourism field for many years. He has successfully implemented numerous tourism marketing campaigns across all MOT platforms both in Oman and internationally.
Currently he holds multiple positions in addition to the one at the Ministry of Tourism, some of them being:
* Member of the Special Committee to convert Port Sultan Qaboos into a tourist port.
* Member of the Committee for Geological Scientific Tourism.
* Member of the National Committee for the management and development of springs.
* Member of the Media Committee of the Omani Equestrian Federation.
* Member of the Board of Directors of Al Batinah Hotels.
Mr Al Mamari is a graduate in Bachelor of Business Administration from the International University, England, UK.
Omar Sharif holds a bachelor's Degree in Human Resources Management from Canadian University in Dubai. He also completed DP World Leadership Development Program from American University of Sharjah.
Omar joined DP World in 2000 as trainee in the Human Resources Department, and has worked in various sections like HR Amin, Performance, ER, Compensation & Benefits. In 2005 he was deployed to manage the HR Training and Development section. In 2009, Omar became the Recruitment & Emiratisation Manager for DP World UAE Region.
Currently, Omar holds the position of Manager – Cruise Business and Operations, overseeing the whole Cruise & Ferry Operations at Mina Rashid.
An experienced maritime executive with over 19 years of industry experience, Mohamed Juma Al Shamisi is the CEO of Abu Dhabi Ports. As CEO, he develops and directs the strategy and operations of Abu Dhabi Ports’ portfolio of assets and activities. Over the years, he has successfully driven the transition from a project-focussed organisation to fully operational, customer-focussed ports.
He is currently the Chairman of Khalifa Industrial Zone (KIZAD) Board of Directors and the Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Cruise Development Committee.
Al Shamisi holds an MBA and Graduate Certificate of Management from the University of Tasmania, Australia and was recently awarded the Australian Maritime College’s (AMC) Peter Morris Prize for his significant contributions to the maritime industry.
Mr Al Shamisi is a UAE national who hails from Abu Dhabi’s second city, and its heritage heartland, Al Ain. An experienced professional with strong analytical and management skills, Mr Al Shamisi, who holds a BSc in Business Administration from the University of Colorado Denver, USA, an MA in General Management from the LUISS Guido Carli University of Rome and an MA in Quality Management from the University of Wollongong in Dubai, entered the tourism industry in 2004 in the marketing department of the former Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority.
Since then, Mr Al Shamisi has gained experience across a number of tourism departments including events, overseas offices and served for three years as the Country Manager for the authority’s Gulf Co-operation Council States market based in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
Over the past 20 years, HE Colonel Saeed Salem Al Shamsi has held several vital positions in the police field. In addition to chairing many technical and strategic committees, he has made significant contributions in the development of their work programmes.
Currently the Director General at the Directorate of Border Passports of the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs, Colonel Al Shamsi has initiated major transformational changes such as the modification of the directorate’s focus areas, strengthening its institutional capabilities and strengthen bonds with strategic and operational partners.
Hassan leads the Tourism Development Sector of Qatar Tourism Authority, the government body responsible for the planning, regulation and promotion of tourism in Qatar.
Heading a multi-disciplinary team of specialists, Hassan is responsible for the development, implementation and monitoring of national and institutional strategic plans, performance management systems and quality assurance programs across QTA.
Prior to joining QTA in 2012, Hassan served in several senior positions in the Marketing and Project Management divisions of RasGas.
Hassan holds a BEng in Computer Engineering, an MSc in Project Management, and an EMBA degree from HEC Paris.
His Excellency Shaikh Khaled Bin Humood Al-Khalifa is the Chief Executive Officer of the Bahrain Tourism & Exhibition Authority. He is tasked with leading the new tourism strategy for the Kingdom of Bahrain and ensuring its implementation. His Excellency is also the Chairman of @Bahrain, which is a government owned Destination Management Company.
Prior to his role as Chief Executive, His Excellency was the Assistant Undersecretary of Tourism at the Ministry of Culture & Tourism.
His Excellency holds a Master in Real Estate Development (Msc) from Northumbria University in Newcastle England and holds a Bachelor of Business Management and IT from Bentley University in the United States.
Captain Hussein Ahmed Al-Maqeef has been Director of Doha & Al Ruwais Ports and Director of Health, Safety and Security Department, Qatar Ports Management Company (MWANI) since May 2016.
He currently oversees the maintenance work at both ports (Doha & Al Ruwais Ports) and is responsible for planning how to run the business and making sure this plan is followed, as part of a business strategy for the port. Prior to this he was Director of Hamad & Doha Ports, and Director of Health, Safety and Security. He started his career as a marine pilot based in Doha Port.
Captain Hussein has been a member of the Permanent Committee for Emergency (PCE) and the National Committee for Customs Clearance.
Christopher Allen is the Vice President of Deployment and Itinerary Planning for Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (RCL), a global cruise vacation company that owns and operates three global brands – Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Azamara Club Cruises. Since 2007, Christopher has been involved with RCL’s Deployment and Itinerary Planning and has had the pleasure of partnering with many destinations as the company expanded globally.
Christopher leads a small and dynamic team which works closely with internal and external stakeholders to develop the strategic deployment for each of RCL’s cruise brands while optimizing the itineraries for ships as small as the intimate 15 guest Celebrity Xploration to the world’s largest cruise ship, Harmony of the Seas.
Today, Royal Caribbean’s cruise brands offers its guests many diverse itineraries around the world that call to almost 500 destinations on all seven continents.
Christopher joined Royal Caribbean in 1997 and prior to his current role held various roles within Revenue Management.
Prior to joining Royal Caribbean, Christopher worked in commercial real estate in Washington, D.C., where he also grew up. Christopher currently holds an undergraduate degree in Political Science from Rollins College and an MBA from Crummer Graduate School of Business at Rollins College.
Daniel Barranger has more than 30 years’ experience in different markets and regions around the world. His experience includes high-level positions in the airline, hotels and car hire industries, having worked for Hertz, Forte Hotels, InterContinental Hotels, Gulf Air and Jet Airways.
Daniel Barranger is responsible for the airline’s commercial activities, and manages a team of over 1,800 personnel globally, overseeing global sales, e-commerce, contact centres and the commercial strategy and planning functions.
Hamad M Bin Mejren is Senior Vice President of the Stakeholders Department at Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism), which is the principal authority responsible for strengthening Dubai’s positioning as a world-leading tourism destination and commercial hub.
Hamad has been an integral part of the Dubai Tourism team since 1996, supervising and developing the tourism sector, planning and implementing international marketing programmes to promote inward tourism and growing commerce and investment.
In his current role, Hamad manages Dubai Tourism’s relationship with key stakeholders both in the emirate and internationally. He also heads the Department’s cruise tourism activities, in addition to managing key events and sports projects.
Hamad is a US graduate with two degrees in Associate of Arts and a BSc in Business Administration. He also completed the Certified Destination Management Executive programme during Destination Marketing Association International’s 2012 convention, and in May 2014, successfully completed the Advanced Management Programme.
Kate studied medicine at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospitals, London, qualifying in 2002. Following a “portfolio” medical career in the UK including surgical, critical care and emergency medicine training, Kate joined P&O Princess Cruises, as was, in 2006 as a ship’s doctor. She worked on ships all over the world before being appointed as Medical Director for Carnival UK. In that role she is responsible for all aspects of Medical and Public Health and enjoys the many challenges the role brings. She is Chair of the American College of Emergency Physician Cruise Ship Medicine Section and contributes to work of the CLIA Global Medical and Public Health groups, having a particular focus on European issues such as ShipSAN and scientific research involving norovirus.
Angelo Capurro is the Commercial Executive Director for Emerging Markets and South Africa, a huge area covering 28 Markets and 52 Countries, of MSC cruises since May 2016.
With almost 15 year experience in the cruise industry, Mr Capurro has a deep experience in developing new markets strategy and leading project base on digital channel, marketing communication, serving most recently as Direct Sales Marketing worldwide and before as Director for UK & Growth Markets of Costa Crociere
He began his carrier in Microsoft as Commercial Director for Msn.it and then moving in the cruise industry where he takes various roles always in sales and marketing area.
He studied Economics in Genoa University and he is passionate about cruise and new technology.
Robert Chamberlin has a wealth of experience within the travel industry having spent twelve years at Amadeus IT where he headed the GDS’ Cruise and Ferry business units from Miami, USA and Nice, France, and later in Sydney, Australia as head of Amadeus’ Global Customer Group Pacific.
Prior to Amadeus Robert spent three years with Worldspan as manager of their Cruise Business Unit based in Atlanta, USA. Robert was instrumental in the development, deployment and growth of distribution solutions for the cruise industry across multiple markets worldwide.
Robert has a deep understanding of the ways in which technology solutions provide travel sellers and suppliers with the means to manage and distribute content across retail, wholesale and online channels.
Chris Coates is the Commercial Director of CMV and also a stakeholder in the business having joined the cruise industry back in 1983 after a previous spell with Jaguar Cars.
During his early career Chris has also worked for CTC Cruise Lines and Astor Cruises in various management positions.
Chris was a co-founder of Cruise & Maritime Services launched in 1996 to provide ship brokerage and general sales agency services before being acquired and merged into the new CMV Group of Companies in 2011.
Chris is based in the UK with key responsibilities covering programme and itinerary planning, pricing models and all sales & marketing related commercial activities.
As an executive board member, Chris is part of the international strategic planning, brand and fleet development team also working closely with the product division.
As Senior Vice President of Technical & Regulatory Affairs for the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), Bud Darr is responsible for the cruise industry’s interests in shipboard operations, safety, security, environmental stewardship, emergency response planning and exercises, medical facilities, and public health matters worldwide. He also coordinates and represents the industry with regard to policy, regulatory, and legislative matters.
Mr Darr left the United States Coast Guard in September 2010 after 17 years of service in a variety of roles, both military and civilian. He represented the United States as a delegate to the International Maritime Organization (IMO) at the Assembly, Committee, Sub-Committee, and Working Group levels, and served in capacities as head of delegation, advisor, and elected Chairman.
H.E. Saif Saeed Ghobash was appointed Director General of Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority in March 2016.
Ghobash brings a world of knowledge and experience from the spheres of strategic, investment and media affairs. He has held numerous senior executive positions, and was previously a member of several key government entities.
Ghobash was a Director in the Office of Strategic Affairs at the Crown Prince Court and also served as acting Chief Executive Officer and Chief Operating Officer at Abu Dhabi Media.
Having earned a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, the Director General then went on to complete an Executive MBA from IMD.
Ms Hodson joined Crystal Cruises in 2011 as Manager, Nautical Operations. Prior to coming to Crystal, Ms Hodson spent 22 years as a seagoing navigation officer working with various companies around the world. The last 10 years at sea was for Royal Caribbean International on their cruise vessels, where she sailed as Chief Officer with a Masters Class one license.
In late 2013 Ms Hodson was promoted to Director – Nautical & Port Operations as well as Company Security Officer. In this role her pertinent responsibilities at the corporate office in Los Angeles included developing recommendations and implementing approved policy in all areas of nautical and security on vessels operated by Crystal Cruises. She monitored the actual operations of the vessels to ensure the ships did operate efficiently as well as supporting the Masters and bridge teams where necessary. Additionally she is responsible for the development of world-wide itineraries and oversight of port operations.
As of 2015 her focus has changed to work more specifically on itinerary planning and fuel management for the Ocean, River, and Air products.
As Head of Etihad Holidays & Hala Abu Dhabi, Chris Hunter has been instrumental in designing, developing and delivering Hala Abu Dhabi’s full range of DMC tourism & cruise services as well as a fully fledged MICE division.
With a strong background in aviation, Chris was the General Manager for Air New Zealand, Global Direct Sales & Company Director from 1985 until 2006. During this time Chris provided strong and motivational leadership to 850 employees, before joining Flight Centre as the GM for Strategy Development NZL in 2006 until 2008.
As CEO for Tourism Exchange New Zealand (2008-2010), Chris headed the start-up of Tourism Exchange (TXNZ). He also developed, launched and operationalised the Tourism Exchange Platform into the New Zealand inbound tourism market place.
Chris joined Etihad Airways in 2011.
American College of Emergency Physician – Cruise Ship Medicine and Telemedicine Section Member since 2013
CLIA Global Medical Working Group Member (MSC Cruises delegate)
CLIA Global Public Health Working Group Member (MSC Cruises delegate)
CLIA GI Illness Task Force Vice Chairman (MSC Cruises delegate)
Master of Science of Public Health since 2001
Psychotherapist since 1996
Specialist in Neurology since 1993
MSC Cruises Fleet Medical Director Jul 2012 - today
Director of Acquired Hospital Infection Department Jul 2008 – Jun 2012
Chief Medical Officer (Italian National Health System Hospital) Apr 2001 – Jun 2008
Deputy Chief Medical Officer (Italian National Health System Hospital) Aug 1997 – Dec 2000
First Aid Surgeon Dec 1993 – Jul 1997
Formerly Professor of Epidemiology, Health Economics, Public Health – University of Naples
45 national and international publications
Gerardo Llanes holds a Master in International Management from Thunderbird Graduate School of International Management and has over a quarter century experience in international business management and marketing.
After beginning his career with McCann-Erickson, Llanes went on to hold management positions for companies including Coca-Cola and Kellogg Company. While at Kellogg, Llanes held several positions, from new product manager to having full P&L responsibility for major operations in Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Paraguay, Colombia, Venezuela, Peru, Ecuador, Puerto Rico, and all the Caribbean Islands.
In 2001 he founded the consulting firm BrandsLab, where he developed a proprietary branding model. Llanes has consulted and helped grow major companies like Royal Caribbean, Mazatlan, Riviera Nayarit, Unilever, Miller Brewing Company, Frito Lay, Coors, Quaker and many others in Mexico, Latin America, and the United States.
Michael has worked in travel and tourism for almost 20 years, including the last 8 years in the cruise industry. Focusing initially on the Australian market, one of cruising great growth stories, Michael now oversees the Australasian region including India and Middle East, for product development and operations in shore excursions for the four brands in the Holland America Group. He also works closely with the other Carnival Corporation brands operating in this region.
Jacqui Nobile is the Port and Shore Excursion Operations Manager for Thomson Cruises. After graduating from the University of Bournemouth with a degree in Tourism Studies she started her career with Thomson Holidays over 20 years ago. Following a number of years working overseas including onboard Thomson Cruises vessels, she returned to the UK to take up her current role. Responsible for the shore excursion contracting, programme and delivery she also sits on the itinerary planning team in addition to investigating new homeport opportunities, port operations and liaison.
Tine Oelmann has worked in the shipping business for more than 25 years. Starting working for ferry lines she changed to the German premium cruise line Peter Deilmann in 1993. After 10 years work experience in Sales & Shore Excursion department she changed to the German port agency Sartori & Berger. As Manager Groundhandling & Shore Excursions she developed and expanded the business continuously in 4 years handling nearly all cruise lines calling Germany. In April 2008 she joined the start up of the new branch TUI Cruises from the very beginning and is now Director Port Operations, Shore Excursions & Ground Operations.
Michael Pawlus is a 28-year cruise industry veteran. He is currently Director, Strategic Itinerary and Destination Planning for Azamara Club Cruises based in Miami, Florida. He has the responsibility of researching, developing and implementing the deployments and itineraries for Azamara's fleet.
Prior to Azamara, Pawlus has held a wide range of executive and management positions at a variety of cruise lines including Silversea Cruises, Seabourn Cruise Line, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line and Royal Viking Line. During his career, he has been responsible for a number of innovations in the area of itinerary planning. He has also traveled to over 450 ports of call around the world.
Pawlus holds an MBA degree from Texas A&M University and did his undergraduate studies at the University of Michigan.
Darren Peisley was appointed as the acting Chief Executive Officer for Hala Group in June 2016. Darren overseas Hala Group and its principal subsidiary companies. He is a business leader with a long history of orchestrating and delivering complex transformation and growth strategies with the last 20 years in travel & tourism.
Prior to his appointment as CEO, Darren held positions within Etihad Airways as Managing Director for Global Loyalty Company, VP Business Transformation and VP Commercial Strategy & Planning over a period of 6 years from 2010 to 2016. Prior to that he spent 15 years at Qantas within a range of senior leadership positions across the Commercial division.
A member of Board of Directors at Amadeus Gulf since April 2011 and Founder and Board of Directors for Hala Travel Management.
Being highly analytical with a finance and strategy background he has deep leadership experience in developing businesses in UK, Australia, UAE and Europe and has a successful record of implementing major change and creating revenue focused, efficient and profitable businesses.
Darren obtains a Bachelor of Economics from Macquarie University in Australia and is qualified as a Chartered Accountant.
CDR Luis Rodriguez, REHS, USPHS, is an Environmental Health Officer and the new Assistant Deputy Chief of the Vessel Sanitation Program, of the U.S. Public Health Service, based at the Centers for Disease and Prevention. CDR Rodriguez has been with the VSP since 2010 conducting routine operational inspections, new build construction plan reviews and inspections, outbreak investigations and environmental health assessments, and training seminars, both nationally and internationally.
Previous assignments with the U.S. Public Health Service include serving as a Consumer Safety Officer with the Food and Drug Administration in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and Rockville, Maryland, from 2002 to 2010.
He holds a Bachelor in Science and Secondary Education, a Masters in Environmental Health, and Doctoral studies in Public Health.
As Director of Ports, Guests & Travel Services of Grupo Pullmantur, Javier is responsible for globally managing and organising all the operations of Grupo Pullmantur's fleet at the Ports of embarkation/ disembarkation and stopover. He maintains a close relationship with the different port authorities to ensure that all services are carried out according to the Company's standards and policies.
He also heads up the Grupo Pullmantur´s land and air operations. Because of this he works hand in hand with major airlines and land transport companies with which he negotiates agreements to facilitate passengers' in their travelling. His motto is to constantly improve passenger experience.
Among Javier's responsibilities that are worthy of mention are those of coordinating the pre/post cruise offer that the Pullmantur Group offers its passengers; participating in decision-making related to the Revenue On Board area or representing the Company in numerous international fora and in meetings with political leaders.
He has more than ten years of experience in the cruise and shipping industry, and has developed his professional career in several multinational corporations such as Acciona, BP and Maersk Line.
Javier is a graduate in Maritime Engineering from the Civil Naval Academy.
As the Director of Shoreside Programs for Silversea Cruises, Mary focuses primarily on shore excursions, pre- and post-cruise programs and passenger logistics. Together with her team, Silversea offers a very robust program of over 5,000 excursions in 417 ports worldwide, along with over 60 programs in 78 turnaround ports.
Mary has been with Silversea for over 13 years. Prior to that, she held management positions within national retail and membership organizations, direct travel marketing companies, Radisson Cruises and the World of Residensea.
Mel Skipp is the Manager of Health Policy with Carnival Corporation and plc based in Southampton in the UK and joined them in 2013. He was previously the Public Health Manger with Carnival UK for over 10 years.
Mel is a qualified Environmental Health Officer and studied at Salford University. He was an enforcement officer for over 10 years, specialising in food safety, health and safety, and infectious disease control. He then became an Environmental Health Consultant and gained wide experience in training and travel health.
Mel has played a key role in the development of international public health standards and guidance for cruise ships, working closely with organisations including the WHO, UN, ECDC, Public Health England, SHIPSAN and CDC.
Clare Ward is Director of Product and Customer Services at Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines. Fred. Olsen’s newly-created Product and Customer Services Division assumes responsibility for the following core areas: Itinerary and Experience Development; Operational Planning; Tours; Air and Land Services; Port Operations; Reservations; Administration; and Customer Services.
Clare joined Fred. Olsen over four years ago, as Senior Commercial Planning Manager, heading up the Product Development (Itinerary and Tours) teams, Yield Management team and Bunker Procurement.
Clare is a CIMA qualified Commercial Manager, experienced in developing and implementing changes which lead to strategic growth by enhancing the customer proposition in the hospitality, leisure and tourism industries. Before working for Fred. Olsen, she worked in a diverse range of industry sectors, including David Lloyd and Whitbread, bringing a wealth of experience to the cruise industry.
Steven Young is the Director of Port Services & Government Affairs for Carnival UK. In this position he is responsible for port operations and development, ground services, passenger turnaround and air transfer operations. Responsibilities include Port, Agency and Government relationships worldwide for both the P&O Cruises and Cunard brands. Steven is closely involved with deployment and Itinerary planning and is a member of the CLIA Europe Ports and Destination Committee.
Steven’s career spans more than 30 years in the Ports and Marine industries having also worked as Harbour Master and Port Manager/Director in a number of international ports, including the Port of Southampton in the UK and Sydney Ports Corporation in Australia.
A Master Mariner, Steven started his career with P&O Princess, before moving ashore to further a career in port management and then returning to Carnival UK in 2011.
Since 2000, Jasem has held various roles in the UAE tourism industry, initially as a tourist guide.
In recent years Jasem has developed a new DMC which specialises in heritage tour promotions, acted as an advisor to various government bodies and provided consultancy, tourist guide training (WFTGA) and logistical advice on how to turn a site into a tourism attraction.
Jasem’s current role is cruise manager of dnata, a member of the Emirates Group, developing the cruise sector by offering services to each aspect cruise passengers handling in all the ports of Cruise Arabia & India. He is presently providing ground handling services as well as shore excursion for Costa & AIDA Cruises in UAE, Thomson Cruises in Qatar & TUI in Bahrain.
During the course of his career, Jasem’s contribution to the tourism industry has been recognised in the form of numerous Awards.