Fair Trade Tourism has announced the appointment of two new non-executive directors to its Board and a new representative based in Europe.
The new Board members are Kenyan sustainable tourism expert Judith Kepher-Gona and South African tourism industry stalwart Caleb Mabaso.
Kepher-Gona has spent more than 17 years at the forefront of the Kenyan tourism arena and has significant experience in project management, community development and community based tourism.
She has also been involved in key conservation initiatives, certification and sustainable tourism assessment and brings considerable tourism wisdom and first-hand knowledge to Fair Trade Tourism. This includes 10 years as the CEO of Ecotourism Kenya and five years of practical experience working with community wildlife conservancies in the Masai Mara.
Prior to working with Fair Trade Tourism, Kepher-Gona served on the boards of various local and international tourism organisations including The International Ecotourism Society and the Global Sustainable Tourism Council.
She has also served as an assessor for the World Travel and Tourism Council’s Tourism for Tomorrow Awards since their inception and was invited to participate as an assessor in the 2014 National Geographic World Legacy Awards.
Caleb Mabaso is no stranger to the South African tourism industry, having served as the acting CEO and Head: Strategy and Operations for the Federated Hospitality Association of South Africa (Fedhasa) between 2012 and 2015.
Mabaso has a strong background in the industry’s private sector having worked as transformation manager for Sun International, HR Manager for Mövenpick Hotels and Resorts, HR executive for Don Suite Hotels and HR director/6 Sigma Practitioner for the Sheraton Pretoria.
He is a former chairperson of the hospitality and tourism industry’s skills, education and training authority, Cathsseta, and former chairperson of Fedhasa Inland and is currently the chairperson of Central Johannesburg College.
“We are delighted to welcome both Judy and Caleb to the Board of Fair Trade Tourism,” says non-executive director and board member Lee-Anne Bac. “We believe both will be able to make valuable contributions to the Board and the organisation, bringing with them excellent knowledge, experience and networks.”
Fair Trade Tourism has also appointed Matthias Leisinger as its EU representative. Based in Zurich, Switzerland, Leisinger is a specialist in corporate social responsibility (CSR) and sustainable tourism with 13 years of experience in the private sector, most notably as the Vice President of Corporate Responsibility for globally recognised operator, Kuoni.
Leisinger’s professional goal is driving change to create a more sustainable business model which delivers commercial success. He has a record of success in creating and implementing corporate sustainability strategy and initiatives including human rights due diligence, supply chain management, stakeholder management and reporting. He also has experience in planning, developing and implementing responsible tourism projects in various countries across the world.
“We would like to offer Matthias a warm welcome to the Fair Trade Tourism family,” says the organisation’s Managing Director, Nivashnee Naidoo. “His tourism credentials are impeccable and the wealth of experience he brings is invaluable. We are looking forward to working with him to take Fair Trade Tourism to even greater heights in the European arena.”