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TIES Board of Directors
About TIES Administrative Board
TIES Executive Board is designed to utilize the strengths and expertise of supporters of ecotourism who have governance and business experience, as well as the ability and desire to support TIES' financial growth.
About TIES Advisory Board
TIES Advisory Board comprises of ecotourism experts and industry leaders. Representing diverse groups of ecotourism and sustainable tourism stakeholders, the Advisory Board serves as an effective venue to support TIES mission. TIES aims to collaborate with Advisory Board members to help increase the organization's potentials through new projects and outreach initiatives.
TIES Board Chair
Dr. Kelly Bricker
Dr. Bricker is an Associate Professor at the University of Utah in Parks, Recreation, and Tourism. She also works as a Senior Research Scientist – Recreation with HDR|DTA part-time. She completed her Ph.D. research with the Pennsylvania State University, where she specialized in sustainable tourism and natural resource management. She has special research and teaching interest in ecotourism, sense of place, natural resource management, and the environmental and social impacts of tourism. Kelly has conducted research on heritage tourism, social impacts of tourism, and natural resource-related tourism environments. With her husband Nathan, she developed an ecotourism operation called Rivers Fiji. She serves as the Chair of The International Ecotourism Society and the Global Sustainable Tourism Council.
Administrative Board Members
The Tartan Group
The owner of The Tartan Group, Deirdre has been a communications professional in Canada for 20 years. Together with her team of five coworkers, Tartan is committed to helping businesses and organizations become more sustainable and substantially raise their community, national and international profile through marketing communications and public relations including reputation management, stakeholder relations, media relations, event management, advertising, promotion and community partnerships. Today, Tartan represents clients in Seattle, BC, Alberta, Manitoba, Mexico, Costa Rica, and Nicaragua and has offices in Vancouver, Victoria and New York. In 2003, Deirdre completed her MBA in PR/Communications through Royal Roads University and the focus of her MBA Occupational Consulting Project was the development of a culinary tourism program for Tourism BC.
Mr. Masaru Takayama founded the first ecolodge association in the world, Japan Ecolodge Association (ECOLA), to promote the concept of ecotourism and ecolodge uniting responsible tourism and green buildings in Japan. The environmentally-friendly accommodations standard developed by ECOLA is now recognized by Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) to bottom up the industry standards in the Japanese marketplace. Working as a global community-based ecotourism consultant, ecolodge advisor, and responsible tour operator‘Spirit of Japan Travel’in Kyoto, Masaru serves a number of key positions in the organizations both home and abroad pertinent to ecotourism and protected areas. His latest agenda is to demonstrate that a responsible tour operator can help bring the tangible benefits to the communities for conservation of nature, recovery from natural disasters, and improvement on the well-being.
Advisory Board Members
Tony Charters and Associates
Tony Charters is the principal of Tony Charters and Associates. He has a Masters degree in protected area planning and management and over 20 years experience in nature based recreation, sustainable tourism planning, development and management across the public, private and non-government sectors.
He is on the Finalist’s Selection Committee for the World Travel and Tourism Council’s Tourism for Tomorrow awards. He also serves on the Destination Stewardship Committee of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council and The International Ecotourism Society Advisory Board. Tony has held executive management and advisory positions for several Australian World Heritage sites. In addition, Tony headed the Queensland Recreation Areas Management Board as well as jointly chairing the Tourism in Protected Areas Working Group. Much of Tony’s protected area management experience has involved multi- tenure/multi landowner models and the engagement of all levels of government. Tony has extensive experience in strategic tourism planning, marketing and public policy at the state and regional levels and was Executive Director of Tourism Policy, Planning and Development at Tourism Queensland for 5 years.
Palitha Gurusinghe earned his Post-Graduate degrees from the University of Ceylon (presently University of Kandy) in Sri Lanka and started his career as a teacher in high schools and universities in Sri Lanka from 1970-1979. After working as a tourism consultant and holding various public and private positions, he founded Sri Lanka Ecotourism Foundation (SLEF). Presently, Palitha is also the Managing Director of the travel agency Sri Lanka Eco Tours, and Director of the Research and Training Institute, managed by SLEF. He continues to lecture at Sabaragamuwa University of Sri Lanka and the Travel and Tourism Institute of Sri Lanka.
In 1985, Glenn founded and created the first "Boutique" hotel in Santa Bárbara de Heredia, Costa Rica, based on the best sustainable standards of the day, Finca Rosa Blanca Coffee Plantation and Inn, which is now considered one of the best hotels in the world, according the New York Times, Conde Naste Traveler and others. The hotel also has 35 acres of certified shade grown organic coffee which is grown, picked and roasted on premises. In 2003, Finca Rosa Blanca won the coveted Tourism for Tomorrow Award, and in 2009 was chosen as one of the top 10 eco-resorts in the world by the readers of TripAdvisor. Glenn was on of the founding members and team in the development of the Certification for Sustainable Tourism (CST). In 2003, Finca Rosa Blanca became the first and only hotel to earn the highest classification of 5 green leaves in the CST program and in 2008 received a perfect 100% ranking. Glenn is presently the president of the board of directors of the National Chamber of Ecotourism (CANAECO).
Ariane Janér is a Dutch zoologist with a MBA who has been living in Brazil since 1988. Working in the area of ecotourism and sustainable development since 1991, she has consulted projects in many parts of Brazil. In 1993, she helped found EcoBrasil, the Brazilian Ecotourism Society and has been actively involved with this NGO since 1993. As a consultant she looks for challenging projects that become a practical benchmark or mean constructing a platform for change and often remains involved after completing her assignment. Ariane builds on her wide experience in marketing and finance acquired through a previous career at Royal Dutch Shell, as a free-lance consumer market researcher for Euromonitor, as a financial analyst for Baxter Straub and as owner/director of a small ecotourism operator. She is a regular speaker at events in Brazil and also internationally and has contributed to various publications.
Gautier Koffi Amoussou
Born in 1976 in Benin, Gautier Koffi AMOUSSOU is an agronomist, Specialist in wildlife management and ecotourism development based in Benin, with 12 years experience in these fields. He has worked extensively throughout wetlands and dry areas with hippos’ conflicts and mainly in Mono basin, Ouémé basin and Niger basin for various contractors, particularly for the Netherlands Committee for IUCN, Wildlife agencies in Benin, and World Bank programmes. Since 2005, he is the National Coordinator of the Benin Ecotourism Concern (ECO-BENIN NGO) a local Beninese NGO specialised in ecotourism and eco-development in Benin.
Since 12 years, he developed several ecotourism services in Benin such as village homestay, ecolodges services, local guiding, carbon offset projects as mangroves plantation at Ahémé Lake or improved cook stoves project around Pendjari National Park. Pioneer in the creation of the Beninese federation of responsible and fair tourism organizations (FBO-TRS), he leaded the federation from 2008 to 2010. He is currently implementation partner with SNV for an European Commission program called High Impact Tourism Training for informal sector.
He has worked intensively with the Benin Ministry of Tourism to elaborate a National Strategic Plan for Ecotourism Development. He is currently leading the fair tourism certification programme in Benin.
Judy Kepher-Gona is Chief Executive Officer of the Basecamp Foundation in Kenya, and a former Executive Officer of TIES Association Member Ecotourism Kenya. The Basecamp Foundation is a not for profit organisation whose vision is to provide tourism based solutions for conservation and sustainable development in tourism destinations. Born out of Basecamp Explorers’ practical experience in championing a sustainable tourism concept that acknowledges the significance of local people and conservation in destination development, the foundation provides a link between the non-economic and economic activities in tourism destinations.
In 1990 John and Karen Lewis, former Peace Corps Volunteers and avid Minnesota birdwatchers, founded Lapa Rios: a 1,000 acre private conservation reserve in the tropical rain forest in Costa Rica’s remote Osa Peninsula. They built the country's preeminent ecolodge to maintain the reserve’s bio-diversity and to propel sustainable development in this region. Today, Lapa Rios is a model of social and environmental responsibility, dedicated to education, continuous environmental improvement, and cultural interchange between local people, international travelers and global business. Karen dedicates herself passionately to teaching, as "Education is the best tool to uphold a local culture, its natural resources, and the medium to empower self-determination." Her experience and dedication proves that education can foster community cohesion and instill a pride of place in feelings and confidence for locals and travelers alike. In 1991 Karen formed La Asociación de Educacíon to build a community-based primary school. This Lapa Rios guest-supported travelers’ philanthropy project continues to build and maintain several rural Osa Peninsula schools. The Lewises, with guidance from The Nature Conservancy and Costa Rica’s CEDARENA Land Trust organization, recently created the region’s first conservation easement to protect in perpetuity the 950-acre Lapa Rios Reserve, now part of the Osa Campaign. Karen lives part-time in Seattle and Costa Rica.
Rick MacLeod Farley
Rick MacLeod Farley has twenty years of experience in developing and securing financing for ecotourism, heritage tourism and community economic development projects. Rick has both Irish Canadian and French Canadian ancestry. As a youth, Rick had a volunteer work opportunity living for three months in a remote Quechua village in southern Bolivia. This had a profound impact on him, kindling a passion for working together with Aboriginal communities. From 1990 through 1994 Rick lived in Moose Factory, Ontario working as a Regional Economic Coordinator for Mushkegowuk Cree Tribal Council. Since then, through his firm MacLeod Farley & Associates, he has specialized in Aboriginal ecotourism development and financing. Rick has helped his clients secure over $50 million in grant funding to date. In 2007, his firm placed in the top ten in the Proposal Writing World Championships. Rick has an Honours Bachelor Degree in Economics, and has completed courses towards a Masters Degree in Rural Planning and Development. He has appeared as a speaker at numerous TIES events and Aboriginal tourism conferences.
Mr. Hitesh Mehta is one of the world’s leading authorities, practitioners and researchers on ecotourism physical planning and both the landscape architectural and architectural aspects of ecolodges. He also has vast experience in protected area physical planning and has worked on sustainable tourism plans for national parks that protect the last remaining endangered species such as Mountain Gorillas in Rwanda and DR Congo, Chimpanzees in Uganda and Rwanda, Giant Pandas in China, Tigers in India and Rhinos in Kenya. After ten years of working with EDSA (Florida), the world’s largest landscape architecture and planning firm, he has re-started his firm HM Design which began in Kenya in 1991. He is the main editor of the International Ecolodge Guidelines and the author of the chapters on "Site Planning" and "Architectural Design."
Wolfgang Strasdas, PhD.
Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Strasdas is the director of the bilingual Master’s program Sustainable Tourism Management at the Eberswalde University of Applied Sciences near Berlin. This program is the only one of its kind in Germany and has a strong focus on ecotourism, sustainable business management, and integrated destination development. He holds a Master’s degree in environmental management and a PhD in ecotourism management. He has worked for many years as a freelance consultant, researcher and trainer in Latin America, Africa and Central Asia, mostly on behalf of German development cooperation agencies (GTZ, InWEnt) and the Ministry of the Environment of Germany. The environmental and social implications of mass tourism, outdoor recreation, nature-based tourism and community-based tourism have been major topics throughout his work. He is an avid ecotourist, hiker and cyclist himself and a member of several non-profit organizations such as Friends of the Earth Germany (BUND) and the German Cycling Club (ADFC).
Albert Teo Chin Kion
A graduate in Economics (Honours) from the University of London in 1977, Albert Teo has been in the tourism industry for over three decades, as a hotelier, tour operator, lodge and backpacker owner and operator, photographer, author, publisher, conference organizer, ecotourism consultant, speaker and lecturer. He has trekked over 1,000 km in Borneo and published over 150 postcards designs of Borneo, published ten books including the best selling Sabah -Land of the Sacred Mountain, Journey through Borneo, Saving Paradise-The Story of Sukau Rainforest Lodge and the latest book, A Souvenir of Sabah Malaysian Borneo. His companies Borneo Eco Tours and Sukau Rainforest Lodge have won numerous international ecotourism awards. The success of Sukau Rainforest Lodge has encouraged him to share his experience of running the lodge in "Saving Paradise" which he co-authored with Carol Patterson in 2005 which documented the ten years of operation of the lodge.
New Board Members Joining the Team in January 2014
Javier has developed EcoCamp Patagonia (1999-2012) and Atacama trail (2006-12) a community based hut to hut trek in northern Chile. EcoCamp Patagonia was the 1st dome-hotel (geodesic tents) in the world built in 1999 in Torres del Paine National Park in Patagonia, Chile. After EcoCamp many other dome hotels were built in Chile and worldwide and many architects and contractors devoted to build domes in Chile, Argentina and Brasil. Prior to working in the adventure and ecolodge fields, he worked for many years as a civil engineer.
Bio soon to come!
After 10 years of managing the European business of a Canadian technology company, Nabil took a detour form the tech sector to go backpacking around the world. Somewhere between a bush and a mountain he found his calling: adventure and ecotourism. He founded EcoHotels in Jordan in 2009, and entered into partnership with the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature to manage and operate the award winning Feynan Ecolodge. Today EcoHotels employs 33 people at head office in Amman and at Feynan Ecolodge. In addition to contribution to conservation work, the lodge directly benefits 80 families from the local community. As a pioneer in the ecotourism sector, EcoHotels is now looking at developing further Ecolodges in Jordan with an eye for future expansion in the Middle East.
Thai Ecotourism & Adventure Travel Association
Before starting her own travel business 26 years ago Supaporn has gained her knowledge and experiences in nature and environment conservation during her employment at GTZ (now GIZ), a non profit organization supported by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) from 1985 to 1987. In 2002 Supaporn joined Thai Ecotourism and Adventure Travel Association (TEATA) and was selected as the president of TEATA for two terms( 2003-2007) which offered her great opportunities to contribute her expertise with TEATA members and to cooperate with national tourism boards and international organizations in sustainable tourism management and development. Later in 2008 Supaporn joined TEATA’s team to run CSR-Map project which was funded by EU to create sustainable standards for tourism supply chain for market access in EU countries, in partnership with Greenleaf Foundation, The Thailand Community Based Tourism Institute (CBT-I) and the European Center for Eco and Agro Tourism. The project won PATA Gold Awards in 2010 in education and training category. At present she has been elected Vice President of TEATA responsible for international affairs and strongly involves in the association’s projects to develop sustainable tourism standard and create green tourism routes in emerging tourism area including Loei Province at the Mekhong River and Krabi. Supaporn has just launched a new website www.walkingtourbangkok.com to provide low carbon travel experience to visitors to Bangkok and also to help conserve old historic buildings and communities in her hometown.
Julio Bin is a Sustainable Business Specialist graduate from Cambridge University (Cambridge Programme for Sustainability Leadership), UK; holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from Mackenzie University, Brazil and a Post Graduate Degree in Marketing from the University of Westminster, UK. Julio has over 25 years of experience working with organizations from the private and third sectors developing commercial and strategic planning while embedding sustainable practices into organizational culture and business models. He has implemented the concept of sustainable financing for Banks in Brazil; financial products and services to support sustainable development; and sustainability indexes for credit risk analysis. Julio believes that the tourism industry can be a catalyst for sustainable development in all levels of society and has worked in different projects connecting its value chain to a greater social economic growth while preserving the biological diversity as well as local culture, traditions and inspiring the sense of pride. Presently living in New Zealand, Julio is an independent consultant engaged in a range of endeavours identifying new technologies, advising innovative solutions and developing strategic alliances to support the green/sustainable economy.
Rob founded GLP in 2007 with the simple goal of building a unique and successful production and marketing company committed to award-winning authentic storytelling on important global issues. Rob has a diverse background in multi-media production, storytelling, conservation, tourism, and entrepreneurship. Prior to GLP, Rob has worked with leading organizations, including The Nature Conservancy, Appalachian Mountain Club, Woodland Park Zoo, Trails.com, and REI. An award-winning photographer, Rob has worked, studied, and traveled across 80+ countries. When he has time, Rob loves anything in the outdoors, trail running, woodworking, anything media, and chipping away at his wife’s Honey Do List. Rob received a BA from Hobart College in Wildlife Management, along with an MBA from the University of Washington in International Business, Marketing, and Environmental Management.