Position: Chief executive officer, Oman Tourism Development Company (Omran)
Biography: Wael al-Lawati became the chief executive officer of Omran, which is the Omani government’s tourism investment vehicle, in 2007. Prior to this role, he took part in the launch of Wave Muscat, one of Oman’s largest tourism developments. Al-Lawati has over 15 years’ experience in project management and investment promotion, and has been involved in public-private partnership projects. He is a board member of Oman’s Muriya Tourism Development Company, Sifah Tourism Development Company and Oman Sail. Before working in the tourism sector, Al-Lawati worked as an engineer and has previously acted as vice chairman of the Oman Society of Engineers. He was also a founding member of the board of the Oman Society of Contractors. Al-Lawati graduated with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Cornell University in the US.
Contact Tel: (+968) 2 439 1111
Ahmed Abdulla al-Nuaimi
Position: Chairman, Qatar Tourism and Exhibitions Authority (QTEA)
Biography: Ahmed al-Nuaimi has been chairman of QTEA since 2007. Prior to this, he was the general manager of the Qatar International Exhibitions Centre, which merged with QTEA in 2007. Al-Nuaimi worked with the Qatar International Exhibitions Centre for two years. He has worked in various positions in the tourism and hospitality sectors over the past 17 years, both within Qatar and internationally. Al-Nuaimi’s previous positions include senior roles at the Sheraton Hotel in the US, the Sealine Resort in Qatar and the Marriott Hotel in Doha, where he was the deputy general manager for six years. While working with QTEA, he launched the organisation’s new strategy at the World Travel Market in London in 2008. Al-Nuaimi has a bachelor of arts and a baccalaureate in hotel management from Johnson State College in the US.
Contact Tel: (+974) 4 499 7499
Sheikha Mai bint Mohammed al-Khalifa
Position: Culture Minister, Bahrain
Biography: Sheikha Mai bint Mohammed al-Khalifa is Bahrain’s Culture Minister and works with the tourism affairs department, which is the main body responsible for tourism promotion. She has served in this position since 2010. Prior to this, Sheikha Mai was the Culture and Information Minister between 2008 and 2010. Previously, she served two terms as assistant undersecretary for culture and national heritage in Bahrain’s Information Ministry. Sheikha Mai founded the Sheikh Ebrahim bin Mohammed al-Khalifa Centre for Culture and Research. She has published several books, including One Hundred Years of Education in Bahrain: The Formative Years. In 2005, Sheikha Mai was voted one of the 50 most influential women in the Arab world by Forbes magazine. She holds a master’s degree in political history from Sheffield University in the UK.
Contact Tel: (+973) 1 729 8777
Position: Secretary general, Kuwait Hotel Owners Association
Biography: Mohamed Najia is the secretary general for Kuwait Hotel Owners Association and is an adviser to the Kuwaiti government on tourism matters. He has over 35 years’ experience in the tourism and hospitality sectors and has acted as a consultant for several real-estate and hotel developers in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, UAE and Lebanon among others. In 2011, Najia was appointed board member of the International Hotels & Restaurants Association. He was involved in Kuwait’s Tourism Master Plan, headed by the World Tourism Organisation and United Nations. Najia has also previously served as vice president for the Kuwait-headquartered Safir International Hotel Management group, which operates a number of hotels across the region. He has been recognised by the Kuwaiti government for his services to the tourism and hospitality sector.
Contact Tel: (+965) 2 242 1260
Prince Sultan bin Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud
Position: Chairman, Saudi General Commission for Tourism and Antiquities (SCTA)
Biography: Prince Sultan bin Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud has been the president and chairman of the SCTA since 2000. Between 1982 and 1984, he worked as a researcher and acting director at the department of advertising for Saudi Arabia’s Information Ministry. In 1984, Prince Sultan served as deputy director for the Saudi Arabian Olympic Information Committee at the US Olympics. In 1985, he flew as a payload specialist on the Discovery spacecraft and was awarded a Nasa spaceflight medal. Between 1985 and 1996, Prince Sultan served as a pilot for the Royal Saudi air force. In 1987, he became the chairman of the advisory committee on the Riyadh Science Oasis project. Prince Sultan holds a master’s degree in social and political science from Syracuse University in the US.
Contact Tel: (+966) 1 880 8855
Sheikh Sultan bin Tahnoon al-Nahyan
Position: Chairman of Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA)
Biography: Sheikh Sultan is the chairman of ADTA. He also chairs Abu Dhabi’s Tourism Development & Investment Company (TDIC). Sheikh Sultan is on the board of the Abu Dhabi Environment Agency and is a member of Abu Dhabi’s Executive Council, which oversees the emirate’s development and strategic plans. In addition to his roles with the tourism bodies, he is also the chairman of Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Company, Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage, and the Al-Ain Wildlife & Resort and Eastern Region Development Committee. He has been awarded the American Federation of Arts’ Cultural Leadership award for his work with the ongoing development of Saadiyat island and its cultural district. Sheikh Sultan graduated as an architectural engineer from the UAE University.
Contact Tel: (+971) 2 444 0444