Over the past year, the European Chamber of Commerce (Singapore) partnered with Booking.com to collaborate with regional European Chambers such as Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines to better explore the progress and status of the tourism industry on its sustainability goals through a series of workshops. Experts from the aerospace industry, hotel industry and local tourism boards weighed in during the workshops, all of which culminated in this cross-regional webinar.
The panellists in the webinar shared some insights on sustainable travel and tourism as well as discuss the role of government and legislation in promoting sustainability, and the importance of regional certification standards.
In addition, we delved into the topic of cross-industry and governmental collaboration, and how it can help drive sustainable tourism practices. The webinar concluded with a Q&A session where attendees asked the panellists their questions.
Mr Yang Li
Head of Public Affairs – APAC
As the Head of Public Affairs for APAC, Yang Li is responsible for government relations, stakeholder engagement, reputation management and regulatory affairs across 12 markets in Asia. Yang is passionate about ensuring the business grows in a sustainable and ethical manner while building trusted win-win relationships with key stakeholders.
Prior to joining Booking.com, Yang held senior roles in public affairs and public policy at foodpanda and Juul Labs. Prior to that, Yang held a number of roles in public affairs agencies such as APCO Worldwide and Asia Group Advisors to support global clients in public affairs and government relations.
Yang holds a Master’s degree from the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore and a Bachelor’s degree from the University of California.
Ms Danielle D’Silva
Head of Sustainability
As Head of Sustainability at Booking.com, Danielle D’Silva leads the development and execution of the company’s holistic global sustainability strategy – covering sustainable operations, making it easier for travellers to book sustainable trips and collaborating with partners and peers to catalyse sustainable travel growth. Danielle joined Booking.com in 2017. She has a BA in cultural anthropology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a masters in international development from the University of Amsterdam. Born in the USA, she embodies the intrepid travel spirit, having lived in five countries across three continents. She currently resides in Amsterdam with her partner and their golden retriever, Lola.
Mr Olivier Lenoir
Grand Hyatt Kuala Lumpur
Olivier Lenoir is the general manager of the Grand Hyatt Kuala Lumpur. He will be overseeing property operations in his role.
Olivier carries an extraordinary experience as a hotelier since the beginning of his career 23 years ago with two decades of it dedicated to Hyatt Hotels Corporation. He was most recently posted as the general manager of Andaz Singapore, spearheading the successful opening of the property in 2017, prior to joining Grand Hyatt Kuala Lumpur.
Graduated as a hospitality major from Ecole Hôtelière de Lausanne, Olivier has been realizing his ambition to travel the world since he paved his career path from Switzerland to significant regions of Asia. Olivier is fluent in French, English and Spanish.
Atty. Eugene T. Yap
Chairman & President
Hotel & Restaurant Association of the Philippines (HRAP)
Mr. Eugene T. Yap is an experienced hotelier for almost 2 decades and has been with the Hotel & Restaurant Association for more than 20 years.
A graduate of General Managers Program of Cornell University and also holding a Bachelor Degree in Commerce, Business Administration from UST and a Bachelors Degree from School of Law from Manuel L. Quezon University
Mr. Yap’s untiring efforts has strengthen the country’s ties with other Asean Hospitality Associations as well as maintaining a unified voice of the Industry with other sectors. Mr. Yap has been elected as President of ASEAN Hotel & Restaurant Association (AHRA) for a for a 2-yr term and currently serving as the Honorary Treasurer. Mr. Yap is also the Deputy President of ASEAN Tourism Association (ASEANTA)
Mr. Yap is a lifetime member of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, member of the Corner Hotel Society, General Manager of Bayview Park Hotel and the current Chairman & President of the Hotel & Restaurant Association of the Philippines (HRAP).
Mr Philipp Bonkatz
General Manager Singapore, Malaysia & Brunei
Philipp Bonkatz is born in Berlin, an aeronautical engineer by education and has ever since been in various countries and functions working in the aviation industry, mainly for Lufthansa Group. He has been responsible for the Lufthansa Group Pricing and Customer Offers worldwide out of Zurich, drove the Business Development and Sales Steering in Russia, C.I.S. and Israel out of Moscow and is now newly engaged as General Manager for Lufthansa Group in Singapore, Malaysia and Brunei – being part of a Joint Venture with Singapore Airlines.
Despite a strong operational and commercial background, Philipp also engages in NGO activities focusing on socio-environmental circular economies and waste management. Hence the sustainability topic is very close to his personal heart. In his free time, Philipp enjoys flying (glider) planes and good food.
Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT)
Educated at New York University with an M.A. in Communication Arts, Ms Titiporn Manenate started her career at the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) in 1992 in the Planning and Cooperate Relations Division. Her tenure included positions as Director of International Advertising Publicity Division 2010), Director of the TAT Office in Hong Kong(2012), Director of Eastern Asia(2020), and Executive Director for Europe, Africa and the Middle East Region (2022). Now she currently holds the position of TAT’s Executive Director for The Americas Region Department.
Mr Corrado Forcellati
Co-Chair, EuroCham Singapore Sustainability Committee
Corrado has extensive international wholesale banking and advisory experiences, with a focus on sustainable finance and strategy work, in particular, pertaining to the Forestry and Maritime sectors. He brings several years of cross-border strategy work, credit- and regulatory risk management including ESG implementation. His advisory experience includes circular economy position papers, green labels and packaging waste studies and forest commodity finance policy brief.
Corrado has been driving innovation on sustainable finance through data, digital and analytics, the latest with the development of a tool to automate the data collection for sustainability reporting purposes. He was appointed as an industry expert for the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) as part of the judging panel for green finance start-ups in connection with the Hackcelerator 2020.
Prior to joining Paia, Corrado was a Director at KPMG Sustainability Services providing advisory services to corporates, financial institutions and NGOs in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia.
On 2 August, EuroCham co-organised a webinar on “Ecosystem Development for Sustainable Travel & Tourism” with Booking.com and the regional European Chambers such as EUROCHAM Malaysia, EABC -The European Chamber of Commerce Thailand and European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines.
We would like to thank our speaker, panellists, and moderator, Mr Yang Li (Booking.com), Ms Danielle D’Silva (Booking.com), Mr Olivier Lenoir (Grand Hyatt Kuala Lumpur), Mr Eugene Yap (Hotel and Restaurant Association of the Philippines (HRAP)), Mr Philipp Bonkatz (Lufthansa Group), Mrs Titiporn Manenate (Tourism Authority of Thailand(TAT)) and Mr Corrado Chr. Forcellati (Paia Consulting), for sharing their insights on sustainable travel and tourism.
The panellists discussed the challenges with informing and incentivising consumers to commit to sustainable travel. Discussing the nuanced difficulties that are faced by various sectors, the panel also explored how the accommodation sector faces challenges with knowledge and incentives, while the aviation industry has to overcome obstacles related to the development and scalability of sustainable aviation fuel. Overall, the panel emphasised the importance of sustainability and related certification standards to the future of tourism and hospitality.
The attendees benefited greatly from the discussion and sharing during the Q&A. We would like to thank all who joined us in order to make the event a success!