GSTC Staff

GSTC Staff 2018-02-02T11:05:20+00:00

In Memory of Amos Bien (1951-2017), GSTC Founding Member and Former Technical Director

We mourn the loss of a major contributor to the development of GSTC, our friend and colleague Amos Bien.

The GSTC is saddened by the loss of Amos Bien

A Tribute to Amos Bien from Former GSTC Executive Director Erika Harms

Randy Durband, Chief Executive Officer

Randy Durband 200Randy 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. He has held several board positions and committee memberships in travel and tourism organizations, and is a frequent speaker on sustainable tourism issues.

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Andrés Fellenberg Van der Molen, Technical Director

Andres Fellenberg 200x250

Parallel to his function as GSTC Technical Director, Andrés is the Director & Lead Auditor of Green Partner. Green Partner advise hotels, travel agencies, tour operators and destinations in the process of obtaining a green certification recognized by the international tourism industry. He has a long experience in the hotel industry, more than 18 years, working in several operational and managerial functions. He is known as a high-energy, creative problem-solver with an eagerness for improving efficiency within organizations and understanding of the critical value of inspiring people to high levels of performance. Andrés works directly and extensively with several GSTC -Recognized and Accredited certifying bodies as: trainer, implementer and auditor, adding to this, his accreditation as Lead Auditor ISO14001 Environmental Management and ISO50001 Energy Management. Andrés holds a degree in Hotel Management and specializations on audit & control, finance, sustainability, environment and energy efficiency.

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Ayako Ezaki, Training Director

Ayako Ezaki 200Ayako Ezaki is Co-Founder and Head of Knowledge Management & Communications at TrainingAid, an international tourism and training company offering online training courses and skills development opportunities for tourism industry professionals. Having worked for over eight years in tourism professional training and education in the non-profit sector, Ayako specializes in content building, educational program design, and project planning. She also brings many years of experience in online communications, social media marketing, and web publishing. Through TrainingAid’s partnership with the GSTC, Ayako serves as Training Director to develop, manage and market the GSTC Sustainable Tourism Training Program. In addition, Ayako is part of the global advisory board of Good and Green Guides, serves on the judging panel for Wild Asia’s Responsible Tourism Awards, and is a member of Ecotourism Japan’s organizer team.

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Roi Ariel, General Manager

Roi Ariel 200x250

Roi Ariel focuses on responsible and sustainable tourism. Before acting as GSTC General Manager, Roi managed GSTC’s communications and events. He previously worked with UN-ESCAP researching sustainable development and green growth, and on sustainability issues with Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA). Prior to his move to Asia, Roi worked with Friends of the Middle East in Israel as the Green Economy Initiative Advisor. Roi is currently based in Taiwan, and in his spare time, he learns Chinese Idioms and practices meditation. Roi holds a B.A. in International Relations and Comparative Religion with a focus on Development and Asia from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and soon to have his Master degree in Applied Economic and Social Development from Taiwan.

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Kathleen Pessolano, Strategic Partnerships Director

K Pessolano 200Kathleen Pessolano is Director of the GSTC Destinations Program. Kathleen is an attorney and international practitioner at the intersection of tourism and sustainable development. She assists destinations with planning, policy, and management systems to develop tourism while protecting the natural and cultural resources loved by visitors and residents alike. Kathleen especially enjoys working directly with communities to build capacity, devise strategies to broaden community benefits from tourism, and launch public-private governance structures for sustainable destination management. Kathleen is particularly passionate about coastal tourism issues and small island development. In the last decade, Kathleen has worked for the GSTC, The Heritas Group, Cultural Heritage Partners PLLC, Sustainable Travel International, and served as an attorney for the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and the law firm O’Melveny & Myers LLP. Before law school, Kathleen helped the Center for International Private Enterprise advance private sector development in Latin America & the Caribbean.

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Dr. Ioannis Pappas, Program Director – Mediterranean Region

Ioannis Pappas 120

Dr. Ioannis Pappas sits on the GSTC Board of Directors and acts as the Treasurer of GSTC. He is the GSTC Representative in the Mediterranean Region, and a GSTC authorized Trainer. Dr. Pappas 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.

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Dr. Mihee Kang, Program Director – Asia-Pacific Region

GSTC Trainer Mihee Kang

Dr. Mihee Kang is a research professor at Seoul National University, researching topics related to protected areas management and sustainable tourism. She received her Ph.D. degree at Seoul National University in 1999 and actively participated in numerous ecotourism and protected area projects in Korea and abroad such as Australia, Paraguay, China, Indonesia, Vietnam, etc. She has published many articles and books including the first ecotourism book in Korea and the recent one about ecotourism in ASEAN Countries.

She serves a number of key positions in both domestic and international organizations such as Ecotourism Korea, Korean Ecotourism Consulting Committee, Korean Geoparks Committee, Korean UNESCO MAB Committee, and Asian Ecotourism Network. Recently she co-founded Playforest, a cooperative of sustainable travel businesses designed to benefit local communities and local activists dedicated to the conservation of their forests and to provide genuine community-based natural tourism experiences to the visitors.

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Emi Kaiwa, Membership Coordinator

Emi Kaiwa 200Emi Kaiwa specializes in tourism and hospitality, sustainable tourism, project management and administration, and is experienced in the regions of Europe, Africa and Asia. Working in different industries and countries given Emi a varied skillset and the ability to multitask and handle multiple projects simultaneously. Prior to joining GSTC, Emi worked with the leading sustainability organizations, such as University of Cagliari, South Sardinia, SWITCH-Asia, and Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA). Emi holds a M.B.A in Tourism from University in Thailand, with a concentration in sustainable tourism in Asia. She is currently based in Tokyo, Japan.

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David Andrés Ortegón-Martínez, Associate Technical Director

david andres ortegon martinez 200x250David is General Director and Co-Founder of “KAI Sustainable Coaching”, a company based in México, created to assist tourism businesses in Latin America to integrate Sustainability into their Management Systems and use it as a key element to optimize the use of its resources and its competitiveness on the market. David’s experience on sustainability include his work as Sustainable Development Corporate Coordinator at El Dorado Spa Hotels & Resorts and Azul Hotels at Mayan Riviera, the Implementation of a Corporate Sustainable Management Systems combining criteria of Green Globe, Travelife and MARTI (Meso-American Reef Tourism Initiative) programs, as well as the coordination of Strategic alliances to develop Corporate Social Responsibility programs and Natural Resources Conservation initiatives in Colombia and México. His work on Tourism Sustainability has been enriched by his previous experience in other sectors coordinating the Rainforest Alliance Certification program and Nespresso verification in México, and developing integrated Systems to measure Sustainability through the optimization of resource management. David holds a Master on Leadership & Environmental Management from the UCI Costa Rica and an International Master in Local/Rural Development from the Polytechnic University of Madrid.

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Jackie Denman, Associate Technical Director

Jackie Denman 200x250Jackie studied maths and geography at Cambridge University and has been an Associate of The Tourism Company since its inception in 1991. Jackie has a long held and special interest in the interface between people, place and the environment and has specialised in sustainable tourism and tourism in rural and protected areas. She has worked on destination management plans and on product development strategy and evaluation. She has co-authored publications for the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), IUCN and the Secretariat for the Convention on Biological Diversity. In 2009, Jackie was awarded with distinction an MSc in Sustainable Development (Environmental Management) with Imperial College, London; she is an Environmental Partner of the Chartered Institute of Water and Environmental Management.

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Richard Denman, Associate Technical Director

Richard Denman 200x250Richard is Director of The Tourism Company, a small specialist tourism consultancy based on the UK. Following a degree in Economics from Cambridge University and a doctorate based on tourism research, Richard worked for ten years as development and marketing director for the tourist board in central England.  He has been a consultant since 1990 and has worked in over fifty countries. In 2005 he wrote the policy guide Making Tourism More Sustainable for UNEP and UNWTO, and has continued to work with them and a number of international agencies on sustainability issues, including the preparation of various good practice guides. Richard has worked at a local level with many destinations round the world and has a particular interest in tourism in protected areas.  In 2009/10 he undertook the initial work on developing the accreditation process for the predecessor body to the GSTC. Richard is a former Board Director of The International Ecotourism Society and serves on the Advisory Committee of the Travel Foundation.

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