REVIVING TOURISM AMID COVID-19
International Expert on Sustainable Tourism and Thematic Routes Development, Spain
Alla Peresolova is an international expert in sustainable tourism and thematic routes development with strong insight into Silk Road destinations, and specific experience and success in creating and implementing regional, national and local tourism initiatives, and in developing marketing strategies and action plans. As a head and founder of the Silk Road Programme at the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), Alla Peresolova has created a collaborative platform for 34 countries and developed joint activities to raise the profile of Silk Road tourism and support Silk Road destinations through responsible and sustainable tourism development across three regions of Europe, Asia and the Middle East.
Among the projects she implements are numerous communication and awareness campaigns, and international conferences such as the annual Ministers’ Summit which sees 100 tourism ministers gather at the World Travel Market in London. During her 28 year career at UNWTO, Alla has been responsible for building its relations with major international tourism fairs. Over the years she has established strong alliances with over 20 international and regional fairs, developing on-going programmes and events.
Founder, Sustainable Tourism Made Easy, Poland
Anula Galewska is the founder of Sustainable Tourism Made Easy, a boutique sustainable tourism consulting agency which provides strategic advice and training to tourism destinations, hotels, and tour operators across Europe, Russia and Central Asia. Sustainable Tourism Made Easy also operates as the official representative of Green Destinations in Russia, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. Anula has over 10 years of experience in sustainable tourism, having helped businesses around the world improve their sustainability performance and marketing. Before starting her own company, Anula had co-founded the sustainable tourism news site Travindy, and worked as a responsible business manager at Intrepid Group. Anula holds a Master’s Degree in Responsible Tourism Management and in Sociology. She is a frequent speaker at international tourism events and conferences, including ITB Berlin, WTM London, Arival Event and Web in Travel, among others.
General Manager, Redpoint Marketing Agency, Kazakhstan
Assel Kozhakova is the founder and CEO of the marketing communications service Red Point Kazakhstan (www.askredpoint.com). She holds a Chartered Marketer (Strategic Marketing) degree from the Chartered Institute of Marketing and Digital Marketing (Columbia Business School), and has over 17 years of corporate experience at Coca-Cola, Microsoft, General Motors and Beeline, in addition to attending EXPO 2017 Astana. During her professional career, Assel has held more than 250 varied press conferences and press events for companies, and has prepared more than 70 speakers for interviews. Assel was the author of the highly successfully communications strategy for EXPO-2017 Astana and has also designed a number of strategies for national companies.
Over five years Red Point Kazakhstan has worked with a broad range of companies including RG Brands (ASU Water), Yandex, the KTZ and Samruk Kazyna Trust projects, and the Ritz-Carlton in Astana. The firm has offered PR and communications support for large projects of the embassies of Canada, America and a number of EXPO-2017 participating countries, the Delegation of the European Union to Kazakhstan, EBRD and World Bank, the Alpamys circus show, and Dimash Kudaibergen’s concerts in London and New York. The agency’s clients also include a number of small and medium-sized businesses in Kazakhstan. In total, the ‘Red Point Kazakhstan’ portfolio contains over 60 projects.
Executive Director, PA "Destination Jyrgalan Valley", Kyrgyzstan
Gulmira Primova has been the Executive Director of the Public Association “Destination Jyrgalan Valley” since 2018, and the founder and co-founder of it since 2016. Gulmira has experience in the hotel business since 2011 and runs guest houses in Jyrgalan and Karakol. As the Executive Director of the Destination, she is actively promoting tourism in Jyrgalan, improving hospitality and catering management in guest houses in the region. “Destination Jyrgalan Valley” and the guest house have become nominees in the category “Best innovative tourism project”, “Best destination for tourism development in the Kyrgyz Republic” and “Best guest house”.
Co-founder, NOMADasaurus, Australia
Jarryd Salem is an award-winning travel writer, professional photographer, and co-founder of NOMADasaurus, one of the world’s largest travel blogs. His passion for adventure, culture and nature has seen him travel to and work at varied destinations including Antarctica, Easter Island, Patagonia, Central Asia, the Cook Islands and more. His stories and images have been featured by BBC Travel, CNN Travel, National Geographic, Lonely Planet, the Washington Post and many other publications and media platforms. Jarryd is also the managing director of Peak Evolution Media, a digital marketing agency specializing in content marketing and SEO, and is an official Digital Imaging Advocate for Sony Australia.
After Jarryd first travelled to Central Asia in 2015 with his wife Alesha Bradford, the two returned year after year working with USAID and Helvetas to help promote tourism in the region. Seeing potential for a growing tourism industry, Alesha and Jarryd started running small-group adventure and photography tours to Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, working with incredible local operators and partners to welcome dozens of travelers from around the world.
Deputy Chairman, Kazakh Tourism, Kazakhstan
Kairat Sadvakassov is a Deputy Chairperson of the Board of ‘Kazakh Tourism’, Kazakhstan’s national tourism organization. A graduate of the New York University with a Master’s Degree in Tourism Management, he joined the public sector in 2012. Over the years he has held various management roles at tourism authorities of the Republic of Kazakhstan. He has co-authored strategic documents and master plans, and contributed to legislative amendments and policies for Kazakhstan’s tourism development. As part of his duties, he has been a member of different interdepartmental and international work groups including the UNWTO Silk Road Working Group, and Asian Development Bank’s ECAB project working group. He was also Kazakhstan’s representative at the World Rural Tourism Conference in China. Kairat is a frequent speaker and moderator at industry events and tourism schools, both locally and abroad.
Tourism Expert, Co-founder, 3D Kyrgyzstan and Maks Tour, Kyrgyzstan
Maksat Konushaliev is a tourism expert for Kyrgyzstan and Central Asia who has personally visited Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan. He founded the “3D Kyrgyzstan” project that has recently gathered more than 4 M views on Google Maps. He has also implemented the USAID-initiated “3D map Central Asia” project. Maksat is the founder of “Altay 360 Studio”. This startup was among the winners of the StartUp Kyrgyzstan contest by Kyrgyz Patent.
He is the founder of MAKS Tour project that offers tours and expeditions in Central Asia. His personal record is 16,500 km all over Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan in one journey. He won the “Сапарlike” competition from Kazakhstan Tourism and Kazakh Radio by traveling 10,900 km and visiting 17 of 20 locations.
Maksat is an Honored Tourist of Kyrgyz Republic and the winner of the photo and video contest from the Swiss tourist platform “Indy Guide” together with the U.S. Brand “Altai Gear.” He is an Advisor to the Tourism Department Director at the Ministry of Economy and Finance of Kyrgyz Republic.
Strategy Consultant & Business Trainer for Tourism Organizations in Silk Road Destinations, Uzbekistan
Michael Shamshidov is a founder of the brand Tourismolog (tourismolog.com) which aims to develop Central Asia into a prominent destination with world-class immersive tourist experiences. Michael’s consultancy capitalizes on his 15 years of expertise in running the inbound tourism company OrexCA, recognized as the region’s first online tour operator. In the last five years, Michael has been recognized by top international organizations as one of the very few tourism experts, consultants, trainers and industry practitioners working locally in Central Asia. In 2019 Michael co-founded the Samarkand Tourism Forum event platform, bringing together tourism industry leaders from across the Silk Road region. Michael’s leadership is building a sustainable and technologically advanced future for the Central Asian tourism industry.
Ph.D., Specialist in Traveler Behavior and Tourism Market Trends, Bulgaria
Milena Nikolova, PhD, is a specialist in traveler behavior and tourism market trends. She is passionate about using most current insights from the behavioral sciences to find answers to questions such as “What comes next?” and “How can we prepare for it?”. Milena’s international work includes projects with destinations and industry leaders, in more than 30 countries across four continents. She is a frequent speaker at industry events, a trainer and academic educator. Milena is the author of the first book on behavioral thinking for the travel industry, published by Elsevier in 2020. She is also the founder of a boutique consultancy focused on behavior-smart innovations for the tourism industry.
General Manager, Sheraton Nur-Sultan, Croatia
Mislav Mikasek is the current general manager of the Sheraton Nur-Sultan hotel, a role in which he has applied his international experience in leading and managing hotels. Mislav brings a wealth of experience in all aspects of hotel operations, which he has gained by working in countries including the United Kingdom, China, and his native Croatia and Hungary, to name a few. In the recent past Mislav opened the first Marriott managed hotel in Serbia, worked as a multi-property operations manager in Budapest, and afterwards moved to the Aktau city in Kazakhstan where he managed the Renaissance Aktau hotel. Mislav’s passion and focus is to be part of the successful process of growing Kazakhstan’s hospitality and tourism industry.
Founder, Gezimanya (online travel content provider), Turkey
Murat Özbilgi is a content marketing professional with 25 years of experience in destination marketing. Together with wife and partner Tuğçe Yılmaz, in 2012 he founded the Gezimanya firm which has since become the leading Turkish-language online travel content provider. Murat has worked as a consultant for many national tourism boards and destination marketing offices, developing their tourism performance and shaping their long-term strategies. Murat currently teaches digital marketing and content marketing at the Bahçeşehir and MEF universities in Istanbul.
Media and Tourism Development Expert, USA
Stephen Lioy is an American media and tourism development expert based in Kyrgyzstan. His work has appeared in the internationally-renowned Lonely Planet guidebooks on Kyrgyzstan, China, Eritrea, Tibet and other nations. He also regularly contributes as a travel writer and photographer to a number of print and online travel publications, including BBC Travel, World Nomads, Aramco WORLD Magazine, and others. In addition, Stephen publishes content on his own media platforms including Asia Hikes, StephenLioy.com and MonkBoughtLunch. Stephen’s work as a tourism development professional in Central Asia for USAID and Helvetas has promoted the region’s thriving tourism sector to millions of viewers around the world, established extensive new trekking routes across Kyrgyzstan, and developed new tourism products to support Northern Kyrgyzstan’s flourishing winter tourism industry.
Deputy General Manager, 10Tech, Kazakhstan
Vitaly Boldyrev is the Deputy General Manager of 10Tech, the current leader in the development and implementation of augmented and virtual reality projects in Eurasia. He is also an industrial certification expert for Atameken National Chamber. He headed the department at Astana Innovations, JSC, to develop the project “System of integrated life support in Astana” (Safe city). As the leading expert of the Information Resources Protection Department, he participated in developing the Information security management system for the EXPO-2017 international exhibition. Vitaly took an active part in the project to introduce an electronic fare collection system for public transport in the capital city of Kazakhstan.
TRADE AND TRANSIT IN CENTRAL ASIAN COUNTRIES: EXISTING CHALLENGES AND POSSIBLE DIGITAL SOLUTIONS
Chairperson of the Central Asia Transport and Logistics Partnership
Chairman of the Board of the Tajikistan Union of Professional Consultants She has thirty years of experience in the field of foreign economic and foreign trade activities. She was the head of the Working group on the accession of the Republic of Tajikistan to the WTO. Expert in trade, transport and transit services.
Trade Facilitation Adviser at the International Trade Center, Geneva
Pierre Bonthonneau is a Trade Facilitation Adviser at the International Trade Center in Geneva. He has over 10 years of experience in international trade, working with logistics services providers, strategy consulting firm and UN organizations.Pierre worked for the Logistics division of the Groupe Bolloré where he was responsible for the clearing and forwarding activities in Africa. He also worked the for the Boston Consulting Group, a business strategy consulting firm, where he was involved, among other, on the definition of export strategies for a mining firms, the development of the offshoring sector in developing countries, and the establishment of industrial partnerships between SMEs and multinationals.Since he joined ITC as an expert in trade facilitation, Pierre has assisted over 15 countries in implementing their obligations under the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement.
General Director of the Transport Union of Kazakhstan “KAZLOGISTICS”
Education: Karaganda State University named after academician Y.A. Buketov, Karaganda Economic University of Kazpotrebsoyuz. Yerlan Absatov was the chief expert of Department of Road Transport of Ministry of Transport and Communications of the Republic of Kazakhstan (2008-2013), the head of Department of Eurasian Integration of Ministry of Transport and Communications of the Republic of Kazakhstan (2013-2014), Deputy Director of Department of Economic Integration of Ministry of Investment and Development (2014-2016), Director of Economic Integration Department of Ministry of Investment and Development of the Republic of Kazakhstan (2016-2018), Deputy Director of Center for Industry Analysis in Kazakhstan Institute of Industry Development (2018).