Heritage Management, International Development & Responsible Tourism Consultant
20 years experience supporting sustainable development in great places
I'm a Heritage Management and Responsible Tourism Consultant, as well as an International Project Team Leader with clients including ITC, GIZ, ICIMOD, MIID, UNWTO, WWF and Fauna & Flora International on projects funded by SECO, BMZ, the EU, Danida, UNICEF, Government of Luxembourg, to mention a few. I believe tourism - in all its definitions - can be used as a tool for wider ecomonic and social development.
I'm also a researcher with Newcastle University where I have just completed my PhD in studying the relationships between development partners and tourism development policy in Myanmar, looking at destination management and visitor economy development. As part of this I have developed new project monitoring and evaluation tools, as well as a Destination Management Planning Model.
The world is in very uncertain times, though despite all the setbacks, tourism remains a force for good and development. The post-Covid world has seen a military coup in Myanmar which has not only devastated the economy but caused bloodshed, instability, and displacement. The war in Ukraine is having global impacts, and the Caucus region is no exception. Resilience is needed now more than ever.
My work in Georgia is focused around business clustering for those involved in the wider rural tourism supply chain. I work with a passionate group of small businesses, all of who see the value of supporting their rural economies through their business networks.
My work in Myanmar has included regional governance, leading the development country's first Destination Management Plan in the Inle Lake Region, implementing GIZ's Shan State Tourism Development Project as well as value chain studies, product development and diversification and the promotion of heritage conservation.
My research interests continue in the field of improving the effectiveness of international development, accountability, as well as the importance impactful and practice-based research.
My journey in South East Asia began in Vietnam back in 2003 where I worked on a World Bank project to support sustainable tourism in Vietnam's Marine Protected Areas. Since then I've worked with dozens of clients across the broad area of tourism and development.
As well as my work and research, I speak in conferences about responsible tourism and am on the advisory board for the Myanmar Responsible Tourism Institute. I'm also a professional member of the Association for Heritage Interpretation and a member of the Mekong Tourism Advisory Group.
Projects and Clients
Here are some of my past and present projects and clients in Myanmar, Georgia, and beyond
Clusters 4 Development
International Expert in Tourism Clustering and Team Leader
After being hugely impacted by Covid-19 and now the war in Ukraine, Georgia's tourism sector is showing signs of recovery. The EU-funded project is using the business clustering approach to support a group of 60 plus small businesses in two rural regions of Georgia to work together for collective marketing and promotion, sharing of ideas, and innovating solutions, as well as increasing collective bargaining power. All businesses we work with have a huge passion for their products, that include traditional wine production methods, concept accommodation to fit in with rural life and traditions, and high quality traditional artisan craft products.
Our work directly supports these businesses in accessing potential tourism markets, as well as diversifying and improving the regional Georgian tourism product offering as a whole. We also tackle the issues of rural outward migration by helping in a small way to contribute to sustainable rural SME development.
Myanmar Tourism Strategic Recovery Roadmap
Senior Tourism Planner
In the midst of the Covid pandemic, a small team from Lux-Dev worked in direct partnership with Myanmar's pre-coup government and Ministry of Hotels and Tourism to develop a comprehensive post-Covid recovery strategy for the tourism sector in Myanmar.
Here we identified a model for better tourism inclusion, governance, and resiliance for the country's tourism sector that would embrace small business growth, and aim to make tourism work better to support rural development, improve the working environment for small businesses, and re-jig the sector for inclusiveness. Unfortunatly the military coup has prevented the Roadmap's implementation, however it stands as a base for when democracy is restored and the sector can once again bloom.
Download the plan here.
ITC UN Trade Cluster Project in Shan State
Product Development Specialist
Back in 2013 when I worked on the tourism component for the Danu Self-Administrative Zone, it was clear that Ywangan Township would have great potential for rural tourism, especially as there was a new road to Mandalay under construction. Now the road is complete, and with just 2 hours drive to Mandalay, the region is opening up. Here I'm working with the International Trade Centre (as part of a larger UN Trust Fund Project) to promote rural, tea and coffee, and trekking tourism. Covid and the coup have shown the most resiliant market is domestic, and we're working with a local group of business leaders who have formed the new Ywangan Tourism Organisation.
Strengthening the Inle Lake Management Authority
Senior Technical Advisor and Team Leader
Inle Lake is Myanmar's most famous and important cultural and natural heritage sites. Following on from my previous work on inclusive Destination Management Planning and development, I led my team on behalf of the UNDP to support the Shan State Government in the development of the Inle Lake Watershed Conservation Lay, and kickstart the formation of the Inle Lake Management Authority.
Private Sector Capacity Development - Tourism & Agriculture
Senior Tourism Expert & Project Team Leader
From 2015 to the end of 2018 with PEM Consult, under contract from GIZ/German Cooperation, I led a team of 4 national staff, and over 50 national and international experts in the field of capacity development of tourism and agriculture in Shan State. We focused on using tourism as a tool for economic development; leading development of private sector business associations; supporting wide-scale vocational training in development of Tea and Mango Value Chains with an emphasis on product upgrading and certification schemes and implementation of Local Economic Development methods.
Competitiveness through Sustainable Tourism Project in Vietnam
Senior Tourism Planning Expert
Vietnam's tourism industry continues to rapidly expand, this SECO-funded Project aims to improve the competitiveness of the tourism sector through promoting Sustainable Tourism practices throughout the country, but with specific focus on Ninh Binh, the central Tourism Belt, and the Mekong corridor between Ho Chi Min Chity, Can Tho, and Chau Doc.
I developed the initial analysis and intervention plan of the tourism situation in Vietnam during the project's kick-off phase in 2018. Here I used the St Gallen Model for Tourism Destination Management to look at tourism corridors, and think or tourism - and recreation - in a different, complex and multi-level way.
Destination Management Plan for the Inle Lake Region
Senior Tourism Advisor & Team Leader
Inle Lake and the surrounding region is Myanmar's most iconic and flagship destination, home to over 1 million people, diverse ethnic groups, a fragile environment and designated as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, ASEAN Heritage Park and Ramsar Wetland Site as well as an important cultural and natural heritage.
In 2014 I lead a team of international & national experts to develop the Destination Management Plan for the Inle Lake Region: Myanmar's first Destination Management Plan, and continue to advocate for the sustainable and responsible of the region. Follow the links below for the document series:
Private Sector Development Programme
Sustainable Practices Consultant
I designed a capacity building programme related to sustainable and responsible practices of tourism related businesses throughout Shan State, promoting the Manual in Sustainable Practices in the Hospitality Sector (Myanmar Version).
Guidelines for Ecolodges in Myanmar
Senior Tourism Specialist
Ecolodges have a huge potential to bring sustainable tourism development to Myanmar, from rural through to urban settings.
Here with ICIMOD, The Myanmar Ministry of Hotels and Tourism, and the Myanmar Ministry for Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation, I led a consultation process with relevant Myanmar NGOs, Private Sector companies, and Ministries to finalise the Ecolodge Guidelines for businesses operating within Myanmar’s Protected Areas.
Download the Guidelines here.
Danu Trails Project
Heritage Development Consultant
Tourism Value Chain Analyst
Solar Power for Tourism Project
Myanmar has less than 40% connectivity to any type of electricity grid. To support the development of Solar Power in Myanmar, I conducted an initial assessment to analyse potential market for solar investment. Follow the link below for more details.
Danu Self Administrative Zone Development Plan
Senior Tourism Specialist
I lead the tourism development input into the Danu SAZ Development Plan, focusing on deepening of value chain involvement of host communities, and assessing the feasibility of Community Based Tourism initiatives in the zone.
Download the plan here.
Responsible Tourism in Myanmar
I support the responsible development of Myanmar's tourism industry and beyond. Here are downloads of some useful documents: