CNBC Travel Business Leader Award 2015 recognizes Mr. Lee Seow Hiang of the Changi Airport Group (CAG) as the business leader who has demonstrated leadership excellence within the travel and tourism industry. Through his vision of ”It is about making you rethink airports. Just when you think you know what an airport is, it is our job to reinvent it for you”, he has successful reinvent Changi Airport from simply being a transient and functional place into a profitable and successful business offering travelers a myriad of experiences that are both compelling and emotionally engaging. In the past six years and under Mr. Lee’s leadership, CAG has increased passenger traffic by almost 50% to 54 million passengers in 2014 and grown commercial revenues by 9.5% per annum. Structured around three broad pillars – aviation, hospitality and retail, Mr. Lee has successfully established Changi airport as a major air hub in the region serving some 100 airlines with links to more than 300 cities. Furthermore its activities contribute 6% of Singapore’s GDP and accounts for 160,000 jobs in the country.
The 2014 CNBC Travel Business Leader of the Year was awarded to Mr. Stephen Ho, President of Starwood Asia Pacific for his vision and leadership excellence in the travel & tourism industry. Under his leadership, Starwood’s expansion in Asia Pacific has outpaced the industry with new hotel openings over the last three years and growing the number of operating hotels as of December 2013. A strong believer in honesty and having the personal touch, Mr. Ho has successfully led the Starwood group to sign deals for new hotels over a three-year period. And with his innateability to capitalize on key trends, the Starwood Asia Pacific group hassuccessfully grown in both revenue and profit.
The 2013 Travel Business Leader of the Year was awarded to Mr. Emirsyah Satar of PT Garuda Indonesia (Persero) Tbk for his leadership in the travel industry. Recognizing that Garuda’s passengers want more while paying less, Mr. Satar defines his business strategy with a focus on the customer by initiating seven drives that ensure that the company is always cost effective and efficient, aiming to always stay one step ahead of what the public wants. Mr. Satar encourages innovation by regularly meeting with each department to try to grasp new, better ideas for Garuda, focusing on plans that are implementable and offering awards and appreciation for those employees who originate and implement ideas. His MMC (Meritocracy, Market, Capabilities) System has been efficient in boosting and maintaining workforce engagement and retention by rewarding good performance and offering his employees incentive for continued improvement.
The 2012 Travel Business Leader of the Year is awarded to Mr. Ho Kwon Ping of Banyan Tree Holdings Ltd for his leadership in a company in the travel industry. With a personal commitment to creating a strong corporate culture, Mr. Ho has helped shape Banyan Tree Holdings into a leading manager and developer of premium resorts, hotels and spas around the world that stands out for its distinctive brand image. After rehabilitating a piece of environmentally damaged property in Thailand into an integrated resort in 1994, Mr. Ho decided to launch the company’s global hotel branding aimed at high-end travelers. With his leadership and the clear, innovative strategy he put into place, this became the ever-expanding umbrella under which Mr. Ho’s many plans and initiatives have materialized, making Banyan Tree a model of success in the industry.
The inaugural Travel Business Leader of the Year is awarded to Mr. Tony Fernandes of AirAsia Bhd for his leadership in a company in the travel industry. AirAsia, a Malaysian-based low-cost airline, was incorporated in 2001, and today it covers over 60 destinations in 18 countries. Mr. Fernandes successfully defines a strategic direction for AirAsia, adapting to new market conditions as they arise. Eschewing the market tendency to focus mostly on the larger markets of China and India, AirAsia has put its effort into serving the ASEAN region, growing its staff of 200 to 5000 since 2001. Mr. Fernandes fosters an environment for innovation, creating an open atmosphere for his employees, helping to guide and develop new leaders along the way.
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