GSTC Board of Directors

The GSTC Board of Directors plays an integral role in the leadership of the organization. The board consists of 18 voting members and 2 non-voting members, as follows: 12 elected by members to 3-year terms; 6 appointed by the Board to 1-year terms; the 2 non-voting members of the board are the Chair of the Assurance Panel and the CEO. Members of the GSTC Board of Directors are elected by current members of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC). The GSTC Election Committee validates the election process each year. All GSTC members in good standing are eligible to nominate candidates for the board and to cast votes in the election. Non-members are not eligible for nomination and are encouraged to become members for at least one year prior to running for board election.

Luigi Cabrini, Chair

Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC)
Region: Global
Category: NGO (Voting Member)

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Mr. Luigi Cabrini is the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council. Mr. Cabrini led several initiatives on sustainable tourism at global level, focusing his activities on tourism and climate change, tourism and biodiversity, observatories for sustainable tourism, the green economy, tourism and heritage and global partnerships. He was the Director of the UNWTO (World Tourism Organization) Sustainable Tourism Programme until 2014 and previously held the positions of UNWTO Director for Europe and Secretary of the General Assembly and Executive Council. From 2014 to 2018 he was an Advisor to the Secretary-General of the UNWTO. Before joining the UNWTO he has been engaged during 20 years in United Nations programmes for development and for protection of refugees, in Guatemala, Mexico, Somalia, Pakistan, Poland and Spain. Luigi Cabrini is fluent in Italian, English, French and Spanish and has basic knowledge of Russian and Polish. He is the author of various articles, speeches and papers.

Dr. Kelly S. Bricker, Vice-Chair

Professor, Sustainable Tourism, Ecotourism & Nature-based Recreation, Arizona State University
Region: North America
Category: Academia (Voting Member)

Dr. Bricker is Professor and Director of the Hainan-Arizona State International Tourism College (HAITC), located in Phoenix, Arizona. She completed her Ph.D. research with the Pennsylvania State University, where she specialized in sustainable tourism and protected area management. She has research and teaching interests in ecotourism, sense of place, community development, natural resource management, value of nature-based experiences, and the impacts of tourism. She has authored and edited books on sustainability, which highlight case studies in tourism meeting environmental and societal issues in Sustainable Tourism & the Millennium Development Goals: Effecting Positive Change; educational texts focused on adventure education in Adventure Programing and Travel for the 21st Century and graduate education in De-Mystifying Theories in Tourism Research; and most recently, relevant to current projects, co-edited This Land Is Your Land: Toward a Better Understanding of Nature’s Resiliency-Building and Restorative Power for Armed Forces Personnel, Veterans, and Their Families (Sagamore Publishing, LLC). Dr. Bricker serves the boards of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council, the Tourism and Protected Area Specialist Group of the IUCN, and Tourism Unity. With partners in OARS and her husband, she developed an ecotourism operation called Rivers Fiji.

Dr. Ioannis Pappas, Treasurer

CEO of Green Evolution SA
Region: Europe
Category: Industry (Voting Member)

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Dr. Ioannis Pappas is a GSTC authorized Trainer. He is the CEO of Green Evolution SA, an experienced professional engineer, with over 25 years of work in several fields of science, focusing on sustainability and tourism, energy and environmental efficiency in infrastructure and buildings. He is also auditing and advising on standardization of companies and technological implementation of climate adaptation and mitigation methodologies. Dr. Pappas is Co-founder and a Board Member in a number of organizations (Sustainable Building Council of Greece, Hellenic Passive House Institute, Hellenic Start Up Association) as well as Co-founder of the Hellenic Ecotourism Society. He worked with the Joint Research Center-IE of European Commission and was a Greek representative as the expert for ITL at UNFCCC.

Natalie Kidd, Secretary

Chief People and Purpose Officer, Intrepid Group
Region: Asia-Pacific
Category: Industry (Voting Member)

Natalie Kidd is the Chief People and Purpose Office of Intrepid Travel, the world’s largest provider of adventure travel experiences. Globally recognised as a leader in responsible travel, Intrepid’s portfolio of three specialist tour operators and 25 Destination Management companies take travellers to more than 120 countries on all seven continents. Intrepid supports eight SDG goals, has advocated on issues such as climate action, animal welfare, child protect and gender equality, is a certified B-Corp and has been carbon-neutral since 2010.  Natalie joined Intrepid in 2005 as the founding General Manager of the first vertically integrated DMC, based in Hanoi Vietnam. Over the years she grew this one DMC into a global network of 25 inbound tour operators. In 2020 she moved from the role of Chief Operating Officer to her current role, responsible for the development and implementation of the company’s sustainability strategy.  Natalie holds a Masters of Business Administration (AGSM), a Master of Asian Studies (UNSW) and a Bachelor of Arts/Asian Studies (USyd). In 2018 she completed the Australian Institute of Company Directors’ (AICD) director program and remains a member of the AICD.

Dr. Anna Spenceley

Region: Pacific
Category: Academia (Voting Member)

Dr. Anna Spenceley is an independent consultant based in Papua New Guinea. She works on sustainable tourism issues for a wide range of international agencies, including recently the EU, the World Bank group, the World Trade Organization, UNDP, IUCN and WWF. This year she has been analyzing the impact of COVID-19 on the tourism sector in protected areas for the EU, and has compiled a blog post of over 600 materials on tourism and the pandemic for public use. She is a signatory to both the “Future of Tourism” and “Tourism Declares a Climate Emergency”. Anna is Chair of the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA) Tourism and Protected Areas Specialist Group (TAPAS Group), and sits on the Independent Advisory Panel of Travalyst. She is on the editorial boards of the Journal for Sustainable Tourism, the Journal of Ecotourism and Koedoe. Her book publications include “Private sector tourism in conservation areas in Africa”, “Tourism and Poverty Reduction”, and “Responsible Tourism: Critical issues for Conservation and Development”. She is currently editing a new “Handbook for sustainable tourism practitioners” for Edward Elgar. Anna was a founding board member of the GSTC, sits on the GSTC Destination Working Group, and is a GSTC trainer.

Beatriz Barreal Danel

Founder and CEO of Sustainable Riviera Maya
Region: Americas
Category: NGO (Voting Member)

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Beatriz Barreal Danel is the CEO and Founder of Sustainable Riviera Maya. Since 2009, Beatriz has dedicated her time with Sustainable Riviera Maya to making Sustainable Tourism the primary engine for development, wealth and the engine of peace; preserving at the same time, natural treasures, local culture and society, as providing a linking platform that encourages seminars, congresses, encounters, processes, training and certifications, in sustainable strategies, solutions and actions in the Riviera Maya. Beginning in 2012, Beatriz led the alignment of Riviera Maya as a GSTC Destination Criteria Early Adopter, and now leading the process towards certification of Playa del Carmen as a sustainable destination through GSTC-Accredited certification bodies. She is also responsible for developing marketing strategies, branding and communication in the corporate field, first as a consultant (Beatriz Barreal Consultancy 1989-2013) and from 1993-2000 the Founder and CEO of Neographika Inc. During 1995-2009 Beatriz supported local NGO’s in the State of Quintana Roo. She dedicated her time to support environmental conservation, empowering women and indigenous groups, and addressing issues concerning teenagers in risk categories due to domestic conditions and health.

CB (Ram) Ramkumar

Director of Green Dreams for the Planet
Region: South Asia
Category: NGO (Voting Member)

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CB Ramkumar has been an active GSTC member, serving formerly on the GSTC Election Committee and was influential in the adoption in 2014 by the government of India of national sustainable tourism standards which drew heavily from the GSTC Criteria. Ram is an author, speaker, trainer, consultant, an entrepreneur and an expert in applied sustainability. He developed a model for sustainable living when he built the first 100% eco resort – Our Native Village in Bangalore, India. Over the last decade, he has extended his expertise to sustainable living – sustainable food, sustainable health, sustainable service, marketing & branding. Ram had been an advertising and marketing professional for two decades. His long career in the advertising & marketing took him to global companies like Saatchi & Saatchi, Ogilvy & Mather, Publicis and Standard Chartered Bank.

Cathy Parsons

Accreditation Panel Chair at GSTC
Region: Global
Category: Assurance Panel (Non-voting Member)

Cathy has been Chair of the Accreditation Panel – now Assurance Panel, since October 2010. She has been actively involved in the evolution to the present day of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council. From 2001 to 2006, Cathy was the Executive Director and then CEO of the worldwide tourism certification program, Green Globe. She was responsible for all aspects of delivering the program to tourism operations in over 50 countries with the objective of achieving a more sustainable tourism industry. During her time in the mid-90s as a senior executive with the Australian Government’s Department of Tourism, she managed the government’s environmental tourism programs. She assisted industry to develop the world’s first ecotourism certification program as well as several other tourism certification programs for different industry sectors.

Charlotte WWiebe

Group Sustainability Director, TUI Group
Region: Europe
Category: Industry (Voting Member)

As TUI Group Sustainability Director, Charlotte is in charge of implementing TUI Group’s new Sustainability Strategy 2030 with the mission to strengthen TUI’s leading position in sustainability and shape the future of sustainable travel. She previously held the function of HR director and member of the management board at TUI Nordic, where she had been driving change at one of TUI’s centers of excellence for innovation since 2010. In 2019 she was named “Swedish HR Director of the Year”, a tribute honoring her contribution to the successful transformation of TUI Nordic into one of TUI Group’s digitalization and innovation hubs. Prior to her role within HR Charlotte gained experience in various operational functions including the hotel sector.

Clark Stevens

Sustainability Director, Airbnb
Region: Global
Category: Industry (Voting Member)

Ameet Konkar is the Director of Sustainability for Airbnb, Inc. Starting in 2007 when two Hosts welcomed three guests to their San Francisco home, Airbnb has since grown to 4 million Hosts who have welcomed more than 900 million guest arrivals in almost every country across the globe. Ameet spearheads Airbnb’s sustainability strategy and execution, helping embed sustainable practices into every home, experience and trip. Before Airbnb, Ameet spent a number of years in the renewable energy sector helping build new businesses, including most recently one providing solar in Sub-Saharan Africa. Prior to that he spent 8 years with the premier strategy consulting firm Bain and Co. Ameet has an MBA from the University of Pennsylvania, Wharton School of Business and an MS in Industrial Engineering from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

Dr. Dave Randle

Director of Sustainable Tourism, USF College of Global Sustainability
Region: North America
Category: NGO (Voting Member)

Dave holds a B.A. from California Lutheran University, an M-Div. from the Iliff School of Theology, and a doctorate in Spiritual Disciplines, Wellness and Environmental Concerns from the University of Northern Colorado, Greeley, CO. He currently directs the Sustainable Tourism concentration for the USF College of Global Sustainability and serves as president and executive director of the WHALE Center (a UNWTO Affiliate), and Managing Director of the International Ocean Institute Waves of Change initiative.Dr. Randle is the Managing Director of the UNWTO Blue Community Sustainable Tourism Observatory, member of the UNWTO Steering Committee for the UN Year for Sustainable Tourism for Development, and the board of directors for the Florida Society of Ethical Ecotourism.

Glenn Mandziuk

President and CEO of Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association (TOTA)
Region: North America
Category: NGO (Voting Member)

Glenn Mandziuk is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Thompson Okanagan Tourism Region which has over a $3 million budget; involves over 4,200 industry stakeholders and 90 communities and hamlets; and undertakes consumer marketing, travel trade, media relations, research, industry and community services. Prior to his arrival in his current position he was Chief Executive Officer for Destination Osoyoos – Tourism and Community Economic Development which is contracted to undertake economic development, community development, tourism marketing, visitor information, special events, and business revitalization programs. Glenn has over 25 years’ experience in tourism marketing and community development, and has successfully administered and/or coordinated several community and product development projects, business retention programs,local, regional, and provincial partnership development, and marketing initiatives and assisted in attracting over $300 million in investment to the South Okanagan region. Further, Glenn has acted as a consultant on Community Recreation Master Planning, Economic Development Planning, and Strategic facilitation projects across British Columbia and Alberta and has ten (10) years experience in the Hospitality Industry in a family owned and operated hotels and resorts. He holds a Master of Environmental Design Degree majoring in Community Planning and Development and a Bachelor of Arts Degree majoring in Leisure and Tourism Management. He has been published in a number of journals including Plan Canada on his work in the eco-tourism industry.

Heidi van der Watt

Director of Better Tourism Africa
Region: Africa
Category: NGO (Voting Member)

Heidi van der Watt graduated with a Masters in Town and Regional Planning from the University of Stellenbosch and started off working for South African Tourism (national tourism organization), establishing a new division focusing on destination planning and development. She has been a notable contributor to policy and strategic developments related to sustainable tourism in South Africa for the last decade. Most recently, she assisted the National Department of Tourism (NDT) to draft South Africa’s national standard for Responsible Tourism, adopted through the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) as a South African National Standard (SANS 116:2010) in 2010. She was instrumental in the development of an associated accreditation for conformity assessment bodies, currently being rolled out by the South African National Accreditation System (SANAS), on behalf of NDT. She also assisted the NDT with the drafting of a National Strategy for Responsible Tourism for South Africa in 2012. Ms. van der Watt has specialist knowledge of all aspects of destination development and management, including tourism sector strategy, market assessment and marketing, product development, spatial planning, institutional development, training and skills development and monitoring and evaluation.

Ingunn Sørnes

Special Adviser, Innovation Norway
Region: Europe
Category: Public Authority (Voting Member)

For the past two decades, Ingunn Sørnes has been with Innovation Norway, the Norwegian Governmental organization for innovation and development in industries in Norway, including tourism. She was earlier employed in the Norwegian Ministry of Agriculture, then the State Bank of Agriculture before entering the Norwegian Industrial and Regional Development Fund (SND). From a position in rural development and diversification in agriculture in the Ministry she moved to funding, research coordination and training in the State Bank and the SND before being appointed to Innovation Norway to lead the work towards a more sustainable tourism. Her work includes policy development, measures and incentives to increase sustainability within tourism in Norway. This includes developing and implementing a national standard for sustainable tourism at destination level (GSTC-Recognized Standard) with all assisting tools and instruments.

Jane Ashton

Sustainability Director of EasyJet
Region: Europe
Category: Industry (Voting Member)

Jane Ashton is Sustainability Director of easyJet plc, the 4th largest airline in Europe, flying over 90 million passengers a year, and operator of easyJet Holidays. In this role Ashton is responsible for developing and implementing easyJet’s pan-European sustainability strategy, working across the business and also with NGOs, industry peers and international bodies to drive sustainability in travel and tourism. Since 2001 she has pioneered sustainable tourism, first at First Choice Holidays plc, and as Director of Sustainability at TUI Group plc from 2011-2019, driving TUI’s ‘Greener & Fairer’ holidays commitment to support all contracted hotels to achieve GSTC-recognised sustainability certification standards. Jane has a degree from Bristol University, a Post-Graduate Diploma in Sustainable Business from Cambridge University Program for Industry, and in 2018 was awarded an Hon. Doctorate of Science by the University of Bedfordshire for outstanding services to tourism.

Koko Tang

Co-founder and CEO of Vinetree Tourism
Region: East Asia
Category: Industry (Voting Member)

Ms. Koko Tang is the co-founder and CEO of Vinetree Tourism, a Chinese ecological tourism company, operating the world’s most unique and luxurious wild tent camps and ecological tourist trails. Vinetree has been promoting responsible travel and sustainable tourism in China while committed to immersing people in a culture experience in nature and making high quality ecological tourism experiences. Its projects are showcases in china in terms of small business’s engagement in sustainability practice. Ms. Tang is also the Deputy Secretary General of China Adventure Association (CAA). She was awarded as the 2017 TOP 10 China Tourism Industry Innovative Leader and also be granted as the tourism expert consultant of Shanghai Chongming government think tank in 2018. Ms. Tang graduated from the University of Birmingham, UK with a Master degree of Commercial Law. She has extensive experiences in mergers and acquisitions and cross-border transactions during her 7 years services at King & Wood LLP and Sidley Austin LLP, both are renowned international law firms. She was the founder of Invest in Africa Club during her stay in Zambia between 2014 and 2015.

Prof. Kumi Kato

Professor, Faculty of Tourism, Wakayama University
Region: East Asia
Category: Academia (Voting Member)

Dr. Kumi Kato is a Professor at the Faculty of Tourism/Graduate School of Tourism, Wakayama University and a special appointed professor at Musashino University, Japan. She also has a visiting professorship at Asian Institute of Tourism, University of the Philippines, and advisory roles in the Sustainable Tourism Promotion Center, APTEC (UNWTO Japan), Osaka University and Global Himalayan Expeditions. Kumi has been leading the national project to implement the Japan Sustainable Tourism Standard for Destinations (JSTS-D), a standard that was developed during 2019 based on the GSTC Criteria and a global research project she chaired. She also served as a site auditor for the WTTC Tourism for Tomorrow Award. Kumi is a passionate advocate for sustainability in community development, education and research, working with a wide range of stakeholders. Major works include disaster recovery and community resilience (community heritage restoration in Fukushima evacuation zones); traditional ecological knowledge of women (women divers’ ecological knowledge); slow and wellness-focused tourism (pilgrimage tourism). Besides academic publications, her work includes creative outputs such as public art installation, documentaries, and performances. She believes in creative inspirations and community power in promoting sustainability. Prior to her return to Japan in 2008, Kumi taught in Australia for 24 years in various capacities including a lecturer at the University of Queensland and Griffith University. Based in Japan, she is committed to promoting sustainable tourism locally, regionally, and globally.

Randy Durband

Chief Executive Officer of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC)
Region: Global
Category: CEO (Non-voting Member)

Randy Durband has had two careers in travel and tourism – twenty-plus years in senior leadership positions at some of the finest U.S. tour operators, having served as President for Travcoa, INTRAV, and Clipper Cruise Lines, (brands within TUI Travel plc), plus Executive Vice President of Tauck World Discovery. Following that, in his second travel and tourism career, Randy advanced the work of Sustainable Tourism as an advisor, consultant, and speaker. He brings his knowledge of the business of travel, his global network of travel professionals, and a passion for sustainability to support the GSTC and the general sustainable tourism movement.

Rika Jean-François

CSR Commissioner, ITB Berlin
Region: Europe
Category: Industry (Voting Member)

Rika Jean-François holds a Master Degree in Social Anthropology and Iranian Studies with an expertise on ethnic identities, sustainable development and diversity issues from the Free University of Berlin, Germany. She started to work in tourism as a tour guide in Greece, while studying at the University of Crete and as an incoming agent in Athens. Back in Germany she became counselor at the University’s International Academic Exchange Office and travelled as a researcher to Iran, Malawi and Haiti. Ms. Jean-François obtained an additional qualification in Quality Management, working on the evaluation of development aid workers’ education for the German Development Service. Since 2004 she has been with Messe Berlin and vitally developed ITB’s Corporate Social Responsibility. As ITB’s head of CSR she is a passionate speaker at sustainable tourism events internationally. Putting an emphasis on human rights and diversity, she has spearheaded ITB’s implementation of the LGBT+ travel segment and was member of the board of directors of the IGLTA (International Gay&Lesbian Travel Association) for 5 consecutive years – currently she serves on the board of the IGLTA Foundation. She is also a board member of PATA (Pacific Asia Travel Association) and supports many international sustainability committees and is a jury member at several global responsible tourism contests.

Wu Wenda

Director of Mt. Huangshan Scenic Area Administrative Committee (HSAC)
Region: East Asia
Category: Public Authority (Voting Member)

Wu Wenda serves as Executive Director of Mt. Huangshan Administrative Committee (HSAC), Vice-Chair of China Association of National Parks and Scenic Sites and Chairman of China Mountain Tourism Alliance. Prior to these important leadership roles in tourism, he served as the Deputy Mayor and Secretary of the Political and Judiciary Commission of Huangshan City from 2012 to 2018. From 2001 to 2012, he served for the governments of two famous cultural and tourist counties (Shexian County and Yixian County) in Huangshan. From 1996 to 2001, he served as the Deputy Director of Huangshan Environment Protection Bureau. Majored in Chemistry and Economic Management, he worked for college youth association and student management after graduation from Huangshan University in 1985.