Speakers Profile


Managing Director of Gecko Canoeing & Trekking, Australia



• Ecotourism and the Development of Indigenous Community
• Nature Guides and Ecotourism

Mick Jerram has lived in the Northern Territory since 1984 and has been guiding groups on the Katherine/Flora/Daly River System since 1992 and has gained knowledge on the flora, fauna, culture and history of the area. The river is his passion – showing him something new and different every time he ventures downstream. Mick has paddled over 13,000 kilometers on Australian rivers including over 300 trips on the Katherine river, and took part in the Murray Marathon 5 times!

He holds qualifications as a Remote Area Leader, Canoeing & Kayaking Guide and a Trainer and Assessor with Certificates in ‘Tourism Guiding and Outdoor Recreation’ (bushwalking, rock climbing and abseiling) and ‘Training and Assessment of Guides and Leaders’. Mick is a fully accredited Savannah Guide and has won the 2004 NT Tourism Award for ‘Outstanding Interpretive Guide’. He is very passionate about the Top End, particularly where he calls ‘home’, the Katherine Region.


Founder of Sapa O’Chau, Vietnam



• Ecotourism and the Development of Indigenous Community

Shu Tan is a Black Hmong girl from Lao Chai Village, Sapa, Vietnam. She had first hand experience as a street peddler of handicrafts when she was 13. Determined to improve the lives of her community, she helped to build the first ethnic minority owned homestay in Lao Chai village in 2009.

She grew Sapa O’Chau from selling cafe tours in 2011 and became the first ethnic minority owned international tour operator in Vietnam in 2013.


Founder of Jungle Walla, Malaysia



• Conservation, Sustainability, and Ecotourism
Part 1-National Parks
• Nature Guides and Ecotourism

One of Malaysia’s most celebrated naturalists with over 26 years’ experience in the field and a  former banker, Irshad Mobarak is based in Langkawi where he runs a successful bird watching company – Natural History Tours – and is a strong advocate for the conservation of Langkawi’s fragile natural heritage. A self-taught naturalist and outdoor buff, he conducts interpretive walks for The Datai Resort, a leading hotel.

In his 20-year career, Irshad has helped with and appeared in many documentaries such as ‘Mysteries of the Malaysian Rainforest’ on National Geographic Channel and ‘The Wedding Ceremony of the White Bellied Sea Eagle’ on Discovery Channel. He hosted Ian Wright from Globe Trekker, which was aired on the Travel and Living channel. His most recent TV appearance is with Toby Amies of The Rough Guide in ‘Trips of a Lifetime’.

Irshad also educates schoolchildren and trains outdoor instructors on nature and conservation. As part of his job and passion, he regularly participates in scientific expeditions, blazing trails into the wilderness.


Head of Bohol Tourism Office, Provincial Government of Bohol, Philippines


boholtourismoffice@yahoo.com ,

• Conservation, Sustainability, and Ecotourism
Part 1-National Parks

Jo Cabarrus is the Provincial Tourism Officer of the Province of Bohol, Philippines and heads the Bohol Tourism Office since 2008. She leads the office in the development and implementation of the tourism plans and programs of the province; among others, the development and promotion of the province as an eco-cultural tourism destination.

A graduate of Bachelor of Arts major in Asian Studies from the University of Santo Tomas, Manila and Bachelor of Laws from the Holy Name University in Bohol, she finished a short course on Developing Sustainable Community Based Tourism Course at the Asian Institute of Management in Makati, Philippines. She had been invited as Speaker at the 4th ASEAN Heritage Park Conference on Ecotourism and Sustainability in Tagaytay City, Philippines and a panelist at the Knowledge Exchange Forum on Advancing Local Economy Through Tourism Development: The Role of Local Governments, sponsored by JICA.  She was able to train abroad on Community-driven Development, Sustainability Challenges and Green Productivity, Integrated Rural Planning in Micro Enterprise and Rural Tourism, Community Development through Agro-tourism for Enhancing Business Opportunities in Rural Areas, Canada Exchange on Local Governance Sustainability Program – Local Economic Development focusing on Tourism and Agriculture,  ASEAN + 3 Healthy Travel and Tourism, Calidad Turistica,  Ecotourism Development and Conservation Measures for Coastal Tourism.

She is currently the Secretary of the Bohol Provincial Tourism Council and Vice-Head for Governance & Culture Committee of the Bohol Arts and Culture Heritage Council, and teaches tourism at a local college.


General Manager of Reef Check, Malaysia



• Conservation, Sustainability, and Ecotourism
Part 2-Marine Protected Areas (MPAs)

Julian Hyde is British, but has been living overseas since 1992. He is a scientist by training, with a degree in biochemistry. He worked for several years as a management consultant, including six years in Russia managing a variety of environmental consulting programmes. He moved to Malaysia in 1998, initially managing an environmental consulting company in Kuala Lumpur before moving to Tioman Island to pursue his dream of running his own dive centre, which he did for six years. It was during that time that he became interested in Reef Check.

In 2006 he moved back to Kuala Lumpur to pursue other business opportunities. Having raised some funds, he worked with a team to establish Reef Check Malaysia as a registered NGO in Malaysia. Since then he has worked to raise funds for the organisation and to develop its programmes which now include a national annual coral reef survey programme, education programmes for schools, community-based projects and reef rehabilitation programmes.


MPA Capacity Building Manager of Conservation International, Indonesia



• Conservation, Sustainability, and Ecotourism
Part 2-Marine Protected Areas (MPAs)

Asril Djunaidi is a marine resource manager and educator with over 12 years of field experience. Before joining CI, he worked as an Instructor Trainer for Scuba School International and established the Center for Coastal Community Study in Ternate with NUKU University where he served as a guest lecturer.

He joined CI in 2008 and has taken the lead role managing the Bird’s Head Seascape MPA Capacity Building Program. Asril holds a Bachelor from Pattimura University in Ambon on Aquatic Resource Management and a Master’s Degree on Leisure, Tourism and Environment from World Leisure International of Excellence Wageningen University, the Netherlands.

At his project, he coordinates all field based trainings in the Bird’s Head Seascape MPA, Bali MPA networks and Anambas Marine Tourism Park, in addition he serves as instructor for national level MPA trainings, and serve as a critical mentor for MPA practitioners in the three areas mentioned above.


Curator/Ecotourism Consultant of The HABITAT Penang Hill, Malaysia



• Ecotourism and Innovation

Frederick Walker is an agriculturalist turned landscape designer with an avid passion for ecotourism. He dreams, conceptualizes and design gardens, and ecotourism projects with a particular affinity where nature is cherished. Spending most of his up-bringing in England, he went to public school in Canterbury, Kent and is a scion from a ‘Planter’s’ family. He grew up surrounded by both the ‘Gardens of England’ and the vast ‘Tropical Gardens’ of plantation bungalows.

After six years as a Planter, he left to pursue a BSc (Hons) in International Agriculture, Land and Business Management at the renowned Royal Agricultural College in Cirencester, Gloucestershire. His dissertation was written on “The Viability of Ecotourism in South East Asia” way back in 1997. Upon returning to his birthplace, Penang, his first project was conceptualizing, designing and developing the now ‘famed’ Tropical Spice Garden, Penang. This amazing ecotourism attraction showcases exotic, endemic tropical flora and spices.

Whilst running his landscape company Walker Landscape Sdn. Bhd., he is constantly on the lookout for potential ecotourism projects. In 2014 he introduced the notion of ‘Glamping’ to the company Amazing Discovery Sdn. Bhd. Glamorous Camping on a site that he discovered had enormous ‘Boulders’ with a stream trickling through. He conceptualized the project and coined the name ‘Boulder Valley’. The project is currently being landscaped to reflect the ‘jungle’ environment and ‘Glamping’ units are being designed. Project is set for completion at the end of 2017.

His current project ‘The Habitat’ is what the talk is about and it sits very close to his heart. Together with his team, they have been conceptualizing and designing since September 2009. The incredible site sits on the fringes of a 130 million year old ‘Virgin Rainforest’, 800 meters above sea level on Penang Hill. Like most of his projects, the concept focuses on educating the public with a business towards ingraining knowledge of the amazing outdoors to the children of today…our future generation!


Co- Founder Gal Oya Lodge, Komorebi Collection, Sri Lanka



• Ecotourism and Innovation

Sangjay Choegyal was introduced to the conservation travel industry from a young age being brought up at the Tiger Tops group in Nepal. After studying Biology then Hospitality Management in Australia, Sangjay returned to Asia, firstly at the Four Seasons Tented Camp, Golden Triangle Thailand for a few years before the Himalayas beckoned and he moved to manage Amankora Punakha in Bhutan, where he spent 2 and a half years.

Most recently Sangjay partnered up with Tim Edwards, a childhood friend from Tiger Tops to build Gal Oya Lodge with a strong community based socially and environmentally responsible tourism model, putting the almost forgotten national park in Sri Lanka back on the map


Program Director for Nam Et Phou-Louey Landscape, Wildlife Conservation Society, Laos



• Ecotourism and Innovation

Sean McNamara is the Program Director for the Nam -Et – Phou Louey Landscape for the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) Laos Program.  In conjunction with communities and the protected area management, WCS has supported the development and operations of the Nam Nern Night Safari for over 6 years, and has recently opened a range of new conservation focused mountain treks and wildlife viewing tours in the protected area.

All of the ecotourism products developed at Nam Et-Phou Louey link the benefits for communities directly to conservation, through a village fund and by payments made due to wildlife sightings by visitors. For more information see www.namet.org.


Deputy General Manager of Sarawak Forestry Corporation, Malaysia



• Ecotourism as Market Segment

Oswald Braken Tisen started his career in forestry and conservation with Forest Department Sarawak as an officer in-charge of national parks, with involvement in the management, development and protection of national parks in Northern Sarawak. Later in his career, he was promoted to Assistant Director of Forest (Wildlife) in the Forest Department – a post responsible for drafting and enforcing the Master Plan for Wildlife as well as the Wild Life Protection Ordinance, 1998.

Now heading the Protected Areas and Biodiversity Conservation Division of SARAWAK FORESTRY, Oswald is responsible for the management of more than 800,000 hectares of protected areas as well as the conservation of more than 10,000 species of flora and fauna in Sarawak. Despite his many years of experience, Oswald remains passionate about conservation and often takes the opportunity to join his team on the field


Assistant Dean and Lecturer of Mahidol University, Thailand



• Ecotourism as Market Segment

Dr. Kaewta Muangasame completed her doctorate degree at School of Tourism and Hotel Management at Hong Kong Polytechnic University and holds a M.Sc. in International Hospitality Management from Leeds Metropolitan University, The United Kingdom. She is currently working as Assistant Dean for Administration and Academic Support and also a lecturer and researcher in Tourism and Hospitality Management Division, Mahidol University International College, Thailand.

Kaewta is also involved in both Tourism and Hospitality consultancy projects.  For academic service, she serves as a Marketing Trainer of Tourism Authority of Thailand and her research interests are Eco and Green tourist behaviour, Destination branding, Sustainable Tourism Planning & Policy, Interpretation in Tourism, and Visitor Management.


Destination Marketing Sales Manager of TripAdvisor, Singapore



• Information Technology and Ecotourism

Matthew Zatto manages the Destination Marketing Organizations in Southeast Asia for TripAdvisor, the world’s largest online travel site. Through the information of holistic partnerships that encompass marketing, content growth, education and data intelligence, Matthew takes much pride in helping enhance his client’s marketing and promotional strategies in an ever-evolving digital environment.

Born and raised in San Francisco USA, Matthew has a diverse professional background spanning 3 continents and a few of the most exciting companies in their respective industries such as The Stein Group, Tesla Motors and Google Inc.

Before joining TripAdvisor, he led the Wildfire team at Google, providing social media management solutions to some of the biggest travel brands in Southeast Asia such as Singapore Airlines and Anantra Resorts.

Matthew has an extensive knowledge of working with government sub-vented Tourism Organizations in the region and is passionate about playing a role in helping them reach travelers all over the world.


Founder of Standard Online Tourism Architecture (SOTA), Malaysia



• Information Technology and Ecotourism

The many innovations of Rohizam Md Yusoff in the tourism and travel industry have earned him the title of e-Tourism Man. Successful ventures such as Virtual Malaysia, Packages2go, MYTOURS and more recently, the Standard Online Tourism Architecture (SOTA) has bridged the digital divide in the tourism industry and has enabled players to embrace online technologies.

Rohizam’s vision for the industry is to make the Tourism Online Collaboration Platform (TOCP) a reality – a world class solution in which tourism and travel industry players are able to connect at a global level, using technology innovations that enable and empower businesses.

Rohizam’s passion for tourism and technology has led his company, Creative Advances Technology to win local Malaysian and international awards, for technological innovations and positive contributions made in advancing the tourism industry.

A Computer Science Degree graduate from University Teknologi Malaysia, he went on to obtain his Masters in Business Administration (MBA) from Ohio University, USA. Rohizam was one of the members of a select group to attend an entrepreneurship programme at the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Boston, USA.


Founder and Publisher of Gaia Discovery and The Gaia Guide, Singapore



• Meet the Media

Mallika Naguran is the founder of Gaia Discovery, an online publication that promotes eco-living, sustainable travel and heritage preservation. She has been an environmental consultant in the areas of sustainable operations, renewable energy, marine restoration and responsible tourism. Prior to that, she has worked as a public relations director and researcher with the Energy Studies Institute and the Centre for Sustainable Asian Cities.

Mallika has an MSc in Environmental Management from the National University of Singapore and is involved in a number of environmental causes. For more information see www.gaiadiscovery.com.


Co-Founder of Gaya Travel Magazine, Malaysia



• Meet the Media

Juhan Kamaruddin is the co-founder and editor-in-chief of Gaya Travel Magazine, a Kuala Lumpur-based English publication on travel and tourism. Prior to that, he cut his teeth in travel writing and publishing during his stint at Tourism Malaysia before serving PETRONAS in the areas of corporate branding, internal relations and marketing communications.

Due to his exposure in travel and tourism, he was invited to be a juror for the Malaysia Tourism Awards 2014/2015. Juhan has also participated in several speaking engagements involving travel and tourism promotions. When travelling, he prefers destinations that are strong in heritage, culture and nature. He believes that the future of the Malaysian tourism industry relies strongly on its ability to protect the country’s biodiversity and environmental assets through sustainable practices.


Managing Director of Borneo Adventure, Malaysia


• Ecotourism and the Development of Indigenous Community
• Success Stories

Robert Basiuk is a Tourism and Environmental Management specialist and provides consultancy for national park management planning, community tourism development and environmental management planning. He established Borneo Adventure with his business partner, a nature and adventure tour company based in Kuching, Sarawak and subsequently manage the marketing and operations of the Sarawak State Tourism Promotion Board.

He has direct involvement with community based tourism in Malaysia, Thailand and China. His consultancy experience with villages has ranged from developing area tourism attractions to broader spectrum interventions for community involvement. His experience in environmental management includes preparing strategic environmental management plans for selected divisions in Sarawak and for the development of tourism in Cambodia, Laos, Yunnan, Thailand, Timor Leste and Pakistan.


Managing Director of Borneo Eco Tours & Sukau Rainforest Lodge, Malaysia



• Success Stories

A graduate in Economics (Honours) from the University of London in 1977 and has been in the tourism industry for the last thirty seven years, Albert Teo had travelled around the Asia Pacific countries as a keynote speaker on Ecotour and Ecolodge operations.

In October 2006, he has been appointed to be the Adjunct Lecturer and in 2013 was conferred a Fellow by Edith Cowan University, Australia for his contribution to the ecotourism industry.

His companies Borneo Eco Tours and Sukau Rainforest Lodge through his success formula continue to win international ecotourism awards. He is currently focusing his energy on developing social entrepreneurship through his community/ environment profit foundation under Borneo Ecotourism Solutions and Technologies (BEST) Society. His latest project is an integrated community based ecotourism project named Kiulu Farmstay (www.kiulufarmstay.com). 


Manager, TPA Management Services of Sarawak Forestry Corportion, Malaysia



• Nature Guides and Ecotourism

Graduated with a Master of Business Administration (UiTM) and Bachelor of Science Forestry (UPM), Victor Luna Amin started his career with the Sarawak Forest Department as a forest officer since 1986, serving as Park Warden for Bako National Park and Gunung Mulu National Park, and as a park officer responsible for the management of totally protected areas in the Southern Region of Sarawak.

In 2001 he took up the course of thematic interpretation, a form of a strategic communication in protected areas management which was used to enhance visitor experience, promote appreciative attitude, and shape on site behaviour of visitors in the context of ecotourism. He was tasked with the development of training modules for Sarawak Park Guides in providing quality eco guiding services in national parks and nature reserves.

In 2003 he left the Forest Department Sarawak and migrated to Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFC) and assigned as Regional Manager for parks of Southern Region and currently serving as manager for Totally Protected Areas Management attached to the Protected Areas and Biodiversity Conservation Division of the corporation.

In 2007, together with UiTM Sarawak, he implemented the Sarawak Park Guide Training Courses and since then he has trained more than 260 park guides from the tourism industry and freelance guides in thematic interpretation. He was also appointed as a panel judge for the Sarawak Hornbill Tourism Awards, a panel speaker for the Regional Sarawak Tourist Guide Course and occasionally a resource person by Sarawak Tourist Guide Association (SkTGA) to train practicing tour guides as part of their Continuous Tourism Related.


Eco Guide, Vice-President of SEATGA, Philippines



• Nature Guides and Ecotourism

Erwin Romero Valenzuela, known by his monicker, “Tsunami” is the Iron Man of Adventure and Ecotourism Guiding in the Philippines and helps train responsible nature guides and promotes the welfare of local people. He is a Department of Tourism Accredited Tourist Guide/Mountain, Guide/Cave, Guide/Local, Guide/Ecotourism, Guide/Culinary, Guide/Entrepreneur and a College Instructor rolled into one. He creates the eco guiding experience in an extraordinary way.

He trains locals to be nature guides that will protect, conserve, preserve and promote ecotourism and culture responsibly. He belonged in the first batch of Eco guides in 2010 trained under the supervision of former Tourism Secretary Dr. Mina Gabor of the International School of Sustainable Tourism in Subic, Zambales. He also teach low impact ecotourism by promoting River Kayaking not only as a sport but to enjoy the beauty of nature by creating nature interpretation ecotours.

He was the Vice-President of the Philippine Eco Guides Association (PEGA) and the Founder of Guides Alliance of Bulacan at Your service (GABAY), a group of local tour guides in his native province. He created the YES Club or the Youth for Ecotourism Society which comprises of youngsters that promotes responsible ecotourism by adopting mountains to plant trees. He headed the delegation of SEATGA who lectured on ASEAN Tour Guiding at the Asean Tourism Forum last January, 2016 in Manila, Philippines. He is also the PRO of Baliwag Tourism Council who helps in the promotion of his native town as a heritage destination. He promotes organic farming and sustainability by utilizing on renewable energy.

To date, he is the Vice-President for Luzon of the Philippine Federation of Professional Tour Guide Associations (TGFED) and President of the Philippine Association of Accredited Tourist Guide-Lecturers Inc (PAATGLI).