WFTGA are proud to highlight some of our speakers and presenters who we will meet during our Virtual Conference 2021.
Geneviève has 25 years of experience in congress management and consultancy for associations, having worked for a PCO, for international associations and as an independent consultant.
Geneviève is currently the Managing Director of an international scientific society and a social entrepreneur, having founded two organizations supporting the business events industry, #Meet4Impact and Caravelle Strategies. Her current focus is developing an evidence-based practice of social impact in our industry and accelerating the business events sector’s commitment to sustainability and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Her most recent venture, the #MEET4IMPACT project, builds on the synergies of her broad experience in meeting planning, association strategy and sustainability. #Meet4impact is a global non-profit organization with the mission of elevating the industry’s understanding and proficiency in implementing and measuring the societal impacts of business events and the UN SDGs. It does this by building an impact framework that offers a comprehensive process for generating, managing and measuring the positive societal impacts of conferences.
Geneviève is involved in several projects that apply social innovation principles and generate social impact. In recent years, she has founded a network of international associations in Montreal and is very active on the social innovation scene in her home city.
Professor Emeritus of protected area management, communication psychology, and sustainable tourism in the University of Idaho’s College of Natural Resources,
Dr. Ham taught graduate courses on communication psychology, sustainable tourism, interpretation, environmental communication, and international issues in nature conservation. His research has focused on the application of communication theory to interpretive guiding, sustainable tourism, and managing visitor behavior in parks and protected areas.
Professor Ham’s courses on applied communication theory and interpretive methods are in demand both in the U.S. and abroad. To date, he has conducted training workshops in 56 countries throughout North, Central and South America and in Europe, Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Australia and the Pacific, reaching a combined audience of 64,000. He remains a lead trainer for US land management agencies, as well as for non-governmental organizations and private tourism operators including the World Wildlife Fund, National Geographic, Lindblad Expeditions, and Natural Habitat Adventures.
He has authored more than 400 publications including two best-selling books on interpretive methods (which, combined, have been published in nine languages). In addition, he is executive editor of the Applied Communication book series for Fulcrum Publishing in the USA. His newest book, Interpretation—Making a Difference on Purpose, was published in 2013 and is now in six languages. Professor Ham has presented in excess of 100 papers at scholarly meetings throughout the world and has delivered 67 invited keynote addresses on sustainable tourism and strategic communication at international and national conferences.
Adam is an experienced senior travel professional with 20+ years experience of recruiting and managing tour directors and tourist guides for large UK based Tour Operators. Adam is passionate about service and experience delivery and helping individuals improve their tour experience for customers. With frontline customer experience having started out on the ground, working in various global destinations, Adam brings experience of global operations and having navigated numerous significant travel industry crises. A co-founder of Group Tour Professionals and an advisory board member of IATDG, Adam is passionate about the tour industry and working to support those it serves.
CHIEF COMMUNICATIONS UNWTO
Marcelo Risi was appointed Director of Communications of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) in 2018. He first joined the UNWTO in late 2006 to manage global media relations after working for more than 10 years in international broadcasting, as the economics correspondent for the Latin American service of Deutsche Welle (Germany), a producer with the BBC World Service (UK), and bilingual correspondent for the BBC in Madrid. Between 2015 and 2017, Mr. Risi was on special leave from the UN to build up the global media presence of the Ibero-American General Secretariat (SEGIB).
As an economist specialized in economic development theory and policy (University of Hamburg, Germany), he worked in think tanks in Germany and for the European Union before entering the field international broadcasting. He is a lecturer in post-graduate journalism programmes. Marcelo Risi is a Uruguayan national and speaks English, German, Italian and Spanish.
Business Development Manager
at The Vasa Museum, Stockholm, Sweden
Lars is not only the Business Development Manager at the Vasa Museum in Stockholm, but he is also an authorized guide in the city. Before settling down in Stockholm he guided on skis, in the Savannah and on hiking trails.
Flexibility is his keyword!
The Vasa Museum is Scandinavia’s most visited museum until Covid closed the museum on the 20th March 2020. How do we keep busy without furlough? When and how will we be able to welcome 1.5 million visitors per year, again?
Secretary of State for Tourism of the XXII Portuguese Government, since 26th Oct. 2019
Rita Marques holds a degree (1998) and a master’s degree (2000) in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of Porto’s School of Engineering and has an MBA (2007) from the University of Southern California. She has also completed several executive leadership programmes held at the Instituto de Empresa Business School (2018), London Business School (2017) and the University of Texas at Austin (2016).
She was the CEO of Portugal Ventures (2018-2019), Executive Director of Porto Business School’s MBA and Post Graduate programmes (2016-2018), Coordinator of the University of Porto’s Project Unit (2008-2016) and Manager of the Asia-Pacific Market and of the Technology and Tourism sectors at Agência Portuguesa para o Investimento (2003-2006). She was also Senior Consultant at Microsoft Corporation (2006-2007), in the United States, and specialist at ANACOM (2001-2003).
Additionally, she was the Chair of the Portuguese Youth Foundation Supervisory Board up to 2019 and provided consultancy services to several public and private entities related to innovation, public financing, internationalisation and foreign direct investment.
MA, CCTP, MCTP
World Travel Food Association (WFTA)
Erik Wolf is recognized as the founder of the modern food tourism industry and the World Food Travel Association. He is a highly-sought speaker, thought leader, strategist and consultant, in the US and abroad, on food and drink tourism issues, and is considered the go-to resource on food and beverage tourism for a wide variety of media outlets that include CNN, the BBC, the Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, NBC, Forbes, Click by Booking.com, PeterGreenberg.com, Huffington Post, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and many more. He advises leading global brands such as World Travel Market, Absolut, American Express, Disney, Marriott and Royal Caribbean, and organizations such as UNESCO and UNWTO. His articles, research and books have been translated into dozens of languages.
Founder, CEO, and creative
director of the Guiding Group companies
As an entrepreneur in the tourism service sector for over 20 years, he has a broad network and diverse experience in the field of guided tours.
He is behind a number of technological, content-related, and operational innovations, which today are considered industry standards in the field of self-guided and guided tours, including the first DECT-based audio guide for city tours (in cooperation with the European Capital of Culture, Weimar 1999), as well as the conception of dramatized audio commentaries on points of interest that equally satisfy educational, entertaining and aesthetic demands.
This was followed by successive implementations of new technologies for city tours such as PDA, iPod, mobile phone and smartphone, as well as the in-house developed “all-in-one-Guide”, which combines geo-referenced maps with audio commentaries and live transmission of the guide’s voice.
In collaboration with NEC, Ulrich Berger developed the second generation of the “all-in-one guide” in 2015, now with Android operating system and the first use of DECT technology for the live transmission of the guide, which replaced conventional radio technology.
He has recently succeeded in eliminating the need for special receiving devices by making the participants’ very own smartphones usable for this purpose.
Ulrich Berger is in the vanguard of digitizing guided tours and is a popular speaker at international tourism trade fairs and conferences.
Currently Vice-president of NFTGA-USA. Professional tourist guide for 12+ years. Licensed in both NYC and Washington DC. Certified by Guides Association of New York City (GANYC). Certified International Tour Manager from International Guide Academy of Denver Co. He served 8 years on the board of GANYC, four as president. He also serves on the Advisory Team for IATDG (International Association of Tour Directors and Guides) and is on the Arbitration Committee of WFTGA. Michael offers customized private tours through his own company, Dillinger’s New York. https://dillingersnewyork.com
Panayiotis is also the Founder and Chairman of the International Independent, a consortium of Cultural and Creative Industries research, economy and policy organisations, and the Chairman of the Arts Council Greece. He has a dual background both technical and creative, as a theatre director, curator and producer, and as an aviation specialist and entrepreneur, and has worked also as a political advisor, consultant, researcher and public speaker. Panayiotis holds an Aviation Management degree (BSc), studied theatre and worked in the performing arts and in the cultural policy and creative sectors internationally.
In This Journey, Don’t “Forget” Your Identity
Markets operate globally… ideas too! People, creativity, travellers, ideas and services are moving faster than the markets. The cultural regulatory framework mainly provides cover or concise legal, regulatory and constitutional support to society, at a local and national level. So let this journey commence!
Daniel Levine (DanielLevine.com) is one of the world’s best-known trends experts. Named “the ultimate guru of cool” by CNN, he is the author of over 20 best-selling books and a frequent guest on international television and radio. Daniel is the executive director of the Avant-Guide Institute, a New York-based trends consultancy, where he is the leader of a huge team of trend-spotters who track the latest ideas from around the globe. From American Express and Microsoft, to the UNWTO and state tourism agencies worldwide, Daniel works with businesses and governments around the world to help them be more relevant, innovative and profitable.
Von is a seasoned Tour Operator with over 20 years of entrepreneurial experience and is passionate about helping tour guides, tour mangers, and tour businesses worldwide. Highly experienced in the tour and travel industry, Von founded and manages the International Association of Tour Directors and Guides (IATDG). Since 2016, this niche organization boasts nearly 1600 community members worldwide and produces an annual conference of nearly 400 attendees under his leadership. A champion for guides, as well as their small businesses, last year, Von co-founded the Group Tour Professionals Association (TourPros), which supports and promotes experience and tour-based businesses worldwide.
A graduate of the School of Business and Industry at Florida A&M University, he currently resides in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area with his two AMAZING daughters.
Eric Bowman is the Executive Editor of TravelPulse. A graduate of The University of Georgia, Eric has been working in online media, radio and TV for over a decade. He currently lives in Georgia with his wife and daughter
Václav creates amazing customer experiences in travel, by leveraging on technology and innovation. An experienced leader, mentor, consultant and self-professed start-up enthusiast, Václav is on a mission to make people’s lives better through innovation by applying rational problem-solving and creativity.
Václav joined SmartGuide in 2018 to revolutionize the guiding industry. As the Chief Business Development Officer and Co-founder, Václav is responsible for negotiating partnerships with innovative partners in the travel industry like the Singapore Tourism Board, Shangri-La Group, Harvard University and Deutsche Bahn.
With a MsC. in Energy and a Business Administration degree from the Czech Technical University in Prague, Václav was in the management consultancy industry for more than six years, working at renowned firms such as McKinsey. Having lived in Brazil, USA, Germany, South Africa and the Czech Republic, it comes as no surprise that he is passionate about synergising multicultural diverse teams from various backgrounds
SmartGuide app turns every phone into a contactless personal tour guide. The B2B2C platform allows travel businesses to digitize tour guides orders of magnitude faster and cheaper. SmartGuide reached almost 300k users, 400 destinations, including the official guide of Prague, Harvard and many UNESCO sites. It is a perfect enabler of safe tourism recovery from Covid-19 awarded with Seal of Excellence by the European Commission.
Linnea is an opera singer and violinist. In addition she is a qualified tourist guide in Stockholm and a member of FSAG.
Soraia Ferreira is a transmedia storytelling consultant and trainer at Yellow Pictures.
She teaches transmedia storytelling, interactive storytelling and documentary at the Multimedia Masters – University of Porto; transmedia storytelling at Kino Eyes – The European Movie Masters and storytelling at Porto Tourism School of Turismo de Portugal.
Soraia holds a Ph.D. in Digital Media – Audiovisual and Interactive Content Creation with Distinction from University of Porto where she researched location based transmedia storytelling in tourism, a Cinema Studies Masters from Lusófona University and a Business Administration Degree from the Catholic Portuguese University.
Soraia started her career in Los Angeles as the personal assistant to the president of Hyde Park International.
In 2005, she founded the production company Yellow Pictures and later on, the production company Yellow Films, where she was responsible for the management of both operational units. Amongst the projects produced is the feature film ‘Star Crossed’.
In 2012, she created and produced ‘TravelPlot Porto’, a transmedia storytelling travel guide and in 2017, she created and produced ‘StorySD’, a transmedia storytelling project that helps professionals to apply storytelling to their own brands and businesses.
In 2018, she published her book on Amazon, ‘Travel Guide for Kids – Age of Discoveries’.
Independently she has produced since 2003 numerous narrative shorts in Los Angeles, Porto and Lisbon.
Since 2009, Soraia has been speaking and publishing on the topic of storytelling
WFTGA National Trainer in Moldova, National Tourist Guide in Moldova ( worked with magazines like National Geographic, Lonely Planet, Vogue etc.) Project Coordinator at Moldova Tourist Information Center. Also loves to do volunteering which is a process of learning.
Expert in developing touristic products, touristic trails ( marked trails with mapping, location on google). Co-founder of NGO ,,Travel Forever, sustainable tourism’’ in Moldova which aims to protect biodiversity,soil, air, water and to have a low impact on Nature while we’re travelling (Beleu Lake, UNESCO site).
Founder of ,, Tourist Guide Moldova’’ the main idea is to encourage our local guides especially from the rural sides to be more visible on social media through storytelling. Managed couple campaigns dedicated to the Tourist Guide Day.
Alaskan-born Cheyenne Brown has been based in Scotland for over half her life where she performs and teaches the Scottish harp. Her playing style is characteristically free and creative, making much use of improvisation, basslines and contrasting textures. In addition to regularly teaching workshops abroad (pre-pandemic!), she works with several different bands including the Bluegrass/Scottish fusion North Atlantic Project, the world music collaboration Homebound, and in duo with fiddler Tory Dugan. Cheyenne’s solo album, Parallel Latitudes, has been critically acclaimed as “creative and atmospheric modern use of the harp” (Living Tradition). www.cheyenneharp.com
I have been a professional tourist guide in Slovenia since 2015. I live in the Styria region, more specifically, a small town called Slovenske Konjice. Beside tourist guiding I offer also tourism consultancy services. Organizing private tours in East Slovenia, especially in the Tourist destination Rogla-Pohorje, private tours across the entire country are my specialties.
My passion are natural and cultural heritage, therefore I am an active member of Interpret Europe whit certificates Interpretive Guide and Interpretive Writer.
Ben Gollan a.k.a ‘A Man & His Sandwich’ is an Australian, a ‘reformed lawyer’, and a licensed New York City tour guide who is on a quest to find the world’s best sandwich. Ben was part of the pioneer cohort of Airbnb experience hosts in NYC, and in 2017 started his own food and drink tour company. Ben currently operates multiple culinary experiences in New York – three walking tours plus an online sandwich cooking class – and has hosted over 7500+ guests to date, with 1100+ 5 star reviews.