THE FUTURE OF THE HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY
28-29 May 2024 • JW Marriott Hotel
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Conference
May 28-29, 2024
The conference brings together some of the best specialists in the field to offer new ideas, the most realistic trends of the moment and concrete solutions.
TOPHOTEL AWARDS
MAY 28, 2024
TopHotel Awards Gala comes as a recognition of the work and efforts that the Romanian hotel, tourism and hospitality industry is putting in every day.

Speakers

Patrick Mendes

CEO EUROPE & NORTH AFRICA | PREMIUM, MIDSCALE & ECONOMY, ACCOR

Patrick Mendes graduated from INSEAD and holds an MBA in Management and Marketing from IAE Aix-en-Provence, and a Master in Management from the University of Chambery after studying at the “Hospitality Management School” in Bordeaux. After an experience in real estate development, Patrick started working for Edenred (Payment & Loyalty solutions) in 1994 supporting business development and moved from Paris to Lisbon in 2000 to run Edenred Spain and Portugal. In 2005, he joined Accor, to lead an international team as Senior VP Global Sales & Distribution. In 2011, he moved to Latin America – one of the Group’s key markets as COO Luxury and Midscale brands, based in Sao Paulo. In 2015, he became CEO Latin America and a member of the Group’s Executive Committee. In October 2020, he took over a global responsibility as Group Chief Commercial Officer (CCO) in charge of Sales, Marketing, Distribution, Digital, and Loyalty. In January 2023, Patrick joined Accor’s Premium, Midscale & Economy Executive Committee as the division’s CEO Europe & North Africa. French-born and citizen of the world, a father of 3, Patrick has worked in many geographies (Europe, Asia Pacific, USA, Latin America…) and has extensive global experience from the field to top management positions. In all his roles, Patrick strongly contributed to business performance whilst being a strong advocate of CSR and a Diversity Champion.

Giovanni Valentini

CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, APEX ALLIANCE HOTEL MANAGEMENT

Award-winning hotelier, experienced, innovative, and unique Chief Executive Officer deeply passionate about the Hospitality Industry, Giovanni possesses a distinctive leadership style and exceptional decision-making skills. He consistently achieves outstanding company results, inspiring and directing teams with his passionate personality. Giovanni advocates for the use of emotional intelligence, adept at identifying, understanding, and managing emotions positively, facilitating stress relief, effective communication, empathy, overcoming challenges, and resolving conflicts. With an unwavering love for his work, Giovanni approaches each day with ever-increasing passion. He manages a portfolio of 15 operating hotels (expanding to 19 this year) and has garnered numerous awards within individual hotels and across renowned hospitality brands such as Hilton, IHG, Marriott, and Radissons. Prior to his current role, Giovanni successfully opened and consulted on over 30 establishments across the UK, USA, and the United Arab Emirates. Giovanni’s knowledge, ambition, and charm are the ideal recipe for a fast-growing hotel management company, penetrating new markets, and embracing new Hotel takeover models. His dynamic operational excellence and operating model experience are the perfect combination to adopt in this dynamic hotelier world. Operating in 5 countries with 3 global brands already and working with a wide diverse range of investment partners, based on hotel management agreements, owned and managed, co-investment, and leases, Giovanni’s vision will be to explore all the market dynamic operating business models, overseeing select service to full service, while reviewing boutique, luxury, independent opportunities throughout. Given his current team expertise, extended stay and service apartments could also come into our radar.

Juan Gallardo

DIRECTOR OF HOTEL INTELLIGENCE - RESORTS AND SOUTHERN EUROPE, HOTSTATS

Juan is Director of Hotel Intelligence – Resorts and Southern Europe – at HotStats. HotStats provides monthly P&L benchmarking & market Insight for the hotel industry. Collecting monthly detailed financial data from over 12,000 hotels worldwide from over 100 brands and independent hotels, HotStats provides over 550 different KPIs covering all operating revenues, payroll, expenses, cost of sales and ultimately departmental and total hotel profitability. Juan is a finance professional with over 15 years of experience in hotels, real estate and financial products, and have a passion for performance and profitability optimization. Prior to joining HotStats in May 2021, Juan worked at Accor corporate office in Bangkok.

Marina Begletsova

AREA MANAGER, BOOKING.COM

As Area Manager in Booking.com I am managing several teams in the Local Partner Services department that are responsible for commercial support of our accommodation partners in Romania, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. At Booking.com our mission is to make it easier for everyone to experience the world. We do so by empowering partners on how to use the system, tools and available products of Booking.com BV with the goal of optimizing their performance on the platform and creating an amazing experience for Booking.com’s customers.

Alex Robinson

DIRECTOR, INDUSTRY PARTNERS, STR

Alex leads STR’s AM:PM platform and is focused on scaling the product across STR’s global supply and pipeline databases. He began his career in New York, gaining experience in fixed income with Lazard, Merrill Lynch, and Scotia Capital. He then moved into the hospitality industry when he joined Expedia’s sales and development team, working in both their New York and San Francisco offices.  Alex subsequently moved to London for HotelTonight, with responsibility of managing partnerships with global brands and industry organizations.  He joined STR in August 2016.

David Jenkins

VICE PRESIDENT BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT, RADISSON HOTEL GROUP

In the region since 1995, David Jenkins joined the Radisson Hotel Group in 2015 as Vice President Business Development and now covers Balkans, Baltics and CAC (Central Asia & Caucuses). This followed on from a 10-year period as one of the most respected hotel consultants in the Russian market with JLL, Cushman & Wakefield, DTZ and Horwath. Prior to consulting, David spent 8 years with Interstate in Moscow working in operations for the 3 Marriott/Interstate properties. David has a degree in Hospitality Management and now has over 30 years of experience in the industry from operations, consulting and development. In recent years David has signed multiple hotel agreements in Romania, Serbia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, Kosovo, Montenegro, Georgia, Ukraine, Russia, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania amongst others.

Takuya Aoyama

VICE PRESIDENT FOR DEVELOPMENT, HYATT INTERNATIONAL (EAME) LLC

Takuya Aoyama is Vice President for Development with Hyatt International (EAME) LLC, responsible for expanding Hyatt’s portfolio of brands in the markets of Central & Eastern Europe, the Balkans, and the CIS. Takuya has been working in the field of real estate and hotel development since early ‘90’s and held positions with companies including European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Holiday Inn Worldwide, Andersen and Starwood Hotels & Resorts.  Since joining Hyatt, Takuya has successfully negotiated and closed over 30 management and franchise deals, including Andaz Prague, Parisi Udvar Budapest, Hyatt Regency Kotor Bay, Hyatt Regency Zadar, Hyatt Regency Novi Sad, Hyatt Regency Sofia and Hyatt all-inclusive collection properties in Bulgaria. Hyatt Hotels Corporation, headquartered in Chicago, is a leading global hospitality company with a portfolio of premier brands. As of September 30, 2022, the Company’s portfolio included more than 1,200 hotel, all-inclusive, and wellness resort properties in 72 countries across six continents.

Riad Haidar

PARTNER HOTEL DIVISION, ONE UNITED PROPERTIES

Lebanese born, holding an MBA in hospitality management from Cesar Ritz University in Switzerland. Riad combines his operational expertise with commercial, financial, and strategic acumen to drive business transformations. Internationally experienced Executive Director of Operations who has operated with the Middle East more than 18 years, he is currently with One united property managing the hospitality portfolio . One United Properties rapidly emerged as the leading force in mixed-use development in Romania. The company’s purpose is to create thriving, sustainable communities by developing state-of-the-art, energy-efficient buildings and to drive enduring value growth for our stakeholders. In Doha with Power International Holding. He is responsible for the hospitality investment & expansion portfolio, managing the strategic priorities, maximizing owners returns, and leading general managers to deliver revenue growth and operational excellence. As an executive Director, he is heading the hospitality expansion, has been fully accountable for the operating hotels as well pre-opening activities of 10 hotels in various international brands. for example, the well-known Waldorf Astoria Ithaafushi Maldives ultra-luxury to many other Hilton operating and preopening projects in Doha, Oman, Egypt, Bodrum, Caribbean & Maldives. Part of my responsibilities is to protect and strategize owner benefits, supports the end-to-end pre-opening lifecycle from initiation to project management through to final launch/opening, and monitoring CAPEX and OPEX budgets to safeguard delivery within tight deadlines. Riad has embraced the local culture and aligned himself with prestigious brands such as EMAAR Hospitality Group, progressing from Food & Beverage Director up to complex General Manager. He led many projects such as delivering operation excellence and financials returns, as well participating in corporate strategies. He held the position of Complex General Manager of Address Boulevard & Address Dubai Mall Hotel, and before, General Manager of Address Dubai Marina Hotel.  As a GM of Vida Hotels and Resorts the newly launched brand of Emaar Hospitality Group, he oversaw the latest brand’s flagship boutique Hotel, Manzil Downtown Dubai. As for the future, Riad is known for being someone who delivers results and shape innovative business structures for multi business unit. As a business leader he provides insight for future growth and ensure organization to thrive and succeed. 

Adam Konieczny

INTERNATIONAL HOSPITALITY DIRECTOR, INDOTEK GROUP

Vassilis Themelidis

REGIONAL DIRECTOR SOUTH & EAST EUROPE, WYNDHAM HOTELS & RESORTS

Vassilis is the Regional Director for South & East Europe with Wyndham Hotels & Resorts based out of Athens, Greece. He is responsible for driving the expansion opportunities in the region and managing the relationships in a portfolio of 81 hotels, under 9 different brands, in 16 countries. Vassilis has been active in the hospitality industry for 25 years, joined Wyndham in 1998 and before his current role he gained valuable experience in the management and development of various touristic-real estate projects in a diverse region that spanned from the Nordics, Central and Southeast Europe to the CIS and the Middle East. Vassilis holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Tourism and an MSc Postgraduate Degree in Tourism Management from the University of Surrey.

Christophe Chamboncel

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, NIRO INVESTMENT GROUP

Christophe has been with Niro Investment Group since 2021 as Head of Hospitality Department leading the Company’s Operations’ teams across its hospitality portfolio providing support and expertise.
He has more than 25 years of experience in the hospitality industry, primarily focusing on Operations & Development efforts and growing brands across Africa and Eastern Europe. Prior to joining NIRO Investment SA, he served as Vice-President Operations Management for South Eastern Europe within Accor Group. During this time, Christophe was responsible for all Operations in Romania and in the SEE and led above 50 hotels for operations excellence & profitability. In his new leadership position, Christophe will be leading the implementation of our expansion business strategy in order to attain the investment and development goals of the board and shareholders. His responsibilities include driving the development of our current hospitality projects which encompass Corinthia Grand Hotel du Boulevard, Swissotel, Corinthia Maldives Resort, and future international or local investment projects.

Ivan Kiseev

SENIOR DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR EE & CIS, MARRIOTT INTERNATIONAL

Ivan is responsible for development of Marriott International in CIS countries and Eastern Europe. Prior to joining Marriott International development team in 2015 Ivan held the position of Vice President at Jones Lang Lasalle.

Brigita Aleksandraviciute

DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR, APEX ALLIANCE HOTEL MANAGEMENT

Brigita has got a vast experience in hospitality business. With a proven success at creating business development strategies and promoting data-driven decision making, she currently holds a position of Development Director at Apex Alliance Hotel Management. She is skilled in leadership of strategic thinking, environmental analysis (competition, macro and micro economic), business case development, marketing alignment and financial modeling and is now responsible for business development of Apex Alliance Hotel Management services in Europe. In the past she worked as Development Projects Manager for Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia at Orbis Hotel Group/ACCOR, executing rebranding, development, and acquisition of hotel projects in the region. Brigita has successfully graduated Vilnius University Economy Faculty bachelor and International Business Master Degree. She has successfully obtained postgraduate degree on Hotel and Restaurant Management at Swiss Hotel Management School. She had her internship at a 5* Beau Rivage Palace, Lausanne, Switzerland, and two years managerial training at the Thompson Hotel Chicago (ex-Sutton Place Hotel Chicago), United States. Vast majority of her operational experience came from a long-term work experience holding different executive positions at Novotel Vilnius Center Hotel, Vilnius, Lithuania.

Malgorzata Morek

SENIOR DIRECTOR DEVELOPMENT CENTRAL & EASTERN EUROPE, HILTON

Małgorzata Morek is an accomplished professional in the hotel industry with extensive experience spanning over 30 years. She has held various roles in operations, sales, and development within renowned hotel chains. She has been associated with the Hilton network since 2017. During her tenure, she has contributed significantly to the company’s growth and development. Initially, she served as the Director of Poland & Eastern Europe at Hilton. Recently she was promoted to the position of Senior Director Development Central & Eastern Europe. She gained valuable experience working also with Intercontinental Hotels in the USA and Accor/Orbis in Poland and Eastern Europe. Her journey exemplifies dedication and achievement in the dynamic world of hospitality.

Calin Ile

SENIOR PARTNER, PREMIER HOSPITALITY

Hotelier since 1995, Calin Ile is very involved in promoting tourism in Romania, with the aim of making tourism a priority industry of the national economy. Calin Ile graduated from the Faculty of Tourism in ASE in 1995, also attending various international tourism courses such as Hotel School den Hague or Course for International Hotel Managers by EHMI. In 2011, HTB Hospitality Forum awarded Calin Ile the title of “Hotelier of the Year”. From 2015, until 2023, Calin held the position of President of FIHR – Romanian Hotel Industry Federation, and is currently Honorary President of FIHR. During its mandate, FIHR supported several campaigns to promote tourism, as well as campaigns to support the education of the tourism workforce. In 2020, FIHR initiated the establishment of the APT Tourism Alliance, an initiative aimed at uniting the hospitality industry in Romania. In May 2020, APT produced the SOS Romanian Tourism document, with 10 short-term solutions and 50 medium and long-term solutions for the Hospitality industry. Calin is also Vice-President of the Confederation of Employers – Concordia, one of the most important employers organizations in the social dialogue. In his professional activity, Calin stood out as one of the most active hoteliers in the country, working for more than 20 years as a manager of 3, 4 and 5 star hotels in Bucharest, Brasov, Constanta, Timisoara, Sibiu. Currently, he is a Senior Partner at the Premier Hospitality company, one of the important companies in tourism consulting and hotel management. He is an active supporter of responsible tourism, being responsible for the CSR part of the Accor hotel group in Romania for 3 years. In this position, he had the opportunity to support important causes such as the Plant for the Planet project through which over 3 million trees were planted in the forests of Transylvania.

Adrian Craioveanu

EMEA CONCEPT SALES COORDINATOR, EPTA GROUP

In 1994, Adrian Craioveanu started working as an HORECA sales agent in an industry for which there was no school at the time, learning along with the industry. From 1994 to 2003, he was involved in HORECA projects, and since 2003, he has been coordinating sales teams and marketing activities at DAAS. In 2017, he also took on the task of developing the Concept Design and Architecture department. With DAAS’s acquisition by Epta Group in 2018, the CDA department became a reference in the group, and since 2020, he has been leading the Concept & Design department at Epta EMEA. Adrian is an economist, has a degree in Tourism and Commercial Management, is a Professional Project Manager, and has a Diploma in Management from the Open University Business School.

Nina Moldovan

GENERAL MANAGER & PRESIDENT OF THE BOARD, RADISSON BLU CLUJ

Nina Moldovan is General Manager and President of the Board at Winners First SA, ongoing investment: Radisson BLU Cluj. In the past, she held positions such as: CEO of Liberty Technology Park, President of the Board at Spherik Accelerator and General Manager at City Hotels. Experienced manager and strong business development professional with a demonstrated history of working also in the non-profit organization that focuses in supporting entrepreneurship in Romania. She has an extensive experience in new business development and a thorough understanding of the challenges and opportunities faced by the start-ups, because she always had the opportunity to be involved in all the Projects from very early stages. In the past 19 years she led the development of several business and projects in areas such as tourism, real estate and hotels.

Maria Dragulin

DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR – ENA DEVELOPMENT SOUTH EAST EUROPE, ACCOR PREMIUM, MIDSCALE & ECONOMY BRANDS

Maria Dragulin is an hospitality professional, with over 25 years of experience in the industry. She has a proven track record of successfully managing teams and exceeding customer expectations. Maria is known for her strong leadership skills and ability to adapt to different environments, making her a valuable asset to any organization. Since 2021, is the Development Director of Accor, where she oversees the growth and expansion of the company’s portfolio. Maria’s strategic vision and innovative approach have been instrumental in driving the company’s success in a competitive market. Maria’s passion for excellence and dedication to delivering exceptional guest experiences continue to drive the company forward.

Andreea Balaj

DIRECTOR GENERAL, TRANSILVANIA TREK

Andreea Balaj has over 15 years of experience in the hotel field, both in Romania and internationally, being a graduate of the London Business School and the Lausanne Hotel School. “Work hard, laugh harder!” is what she stands by every day. Passionate about hospitality, Andreea believes in the opportunity to develop this industry professionally in Romania and Central & Eastern Europe. Since January 2017 she is General Manager at Transilvania Trek, a local start-up focusing on opening and managing hotels, both affiliated and non-affiliated with international brands. Founded in 2014 in Cluj, Transilvania Trek is a company specialized in hotel management.

Mircea Draghici

MANAGING PARTNER, EST HOSPITALITY CONSULTING

Simona Constantinescu

PRESIDENT, FIHR - ROMANIAN HOTEL INDUSTRY FEDERATION

Simona Constantinescu is CEO of ANA Hotels and President of FIHR – Hotel Industry Federation in Romania. She is an experienced Executive Director with a demonstrated working history of over 26 years in Finance & Hospitality services, skilled in Business Planning, Crises Management, Hospitality, Investment Banking, Wealth Management, Capital Markets and Securities. Holding an EMBA with University of Washington in Seattle and a Postgraduate Diploma in Board Practice & Governance with Henley Business School, she appreciates that any executive must look for continuous education, upskilling, networking with high quality professionals in order to better adapt and respond to challenges and opportunities of nowadays business environment. ANA Hotels is the biggest Romanian hotel chain by turnover 2019-2022, owning 6 hotels and 4 SPAs. The portfolio spreads in Bucharest – 2 city hotels InterContinental Athénée Palace & Crowne Plaza, and in resort destinations – mountain in Poiana Brasov (with 3 hotels) and Black Sea side in Eforie Nord – Hotel Europa. Each property has a SPA, part of ANA SPA collection, 3 of them being wellness SPAs in Poiana Brasov and in Bucharest and one being Health, Wellness and Antiaging Spa on the seaside. Also, the group owns businesses in real estate market of Bucharest – commercial and office building and the ski-lift company of the resort Poiana Brasov.

Elena Dragu

SENIOR PARTNER, CUMULUS

Florin Suciu

SALES EXECUTIVE, TECHNOGYM ROMANIA

Florin Suciu has more than 15 years of experience in sales, and is a graduate of the National Academy of Physical Education and Sports. He is specialized in the hotel industry, being responsible for many successful projects in Romania. With a degree in sports management and more than 10 years of industry experience in both the consulting and development fields, Florin has a proven track record of driving revenue growth and implementing effective strategies. 

Alexandra Dumoulin

DIRECTOR, HVS

Alexandra is a Director at the London office of HVS, the leading global specialist hotel valuation, consulting, asset management and brokerage firm. She joined HVS at the end of 2023 from Hilton, where as a Senior Manager in the Feasibility Department she performed numerous projections for all brands in Hilton’s portfolio and across countries mainly in Europe, acting primarily as an internal consultant for one of the largest international hotel operators. Originally from Belgium, Alexandra holds a Bachelors degree in Law from The Universite Libre de Bruxelles, a MBA from IMHI and is a graduate from the Chaire Immobilier at ESSEC Business School, France. Since joining HVS, she has advised on hotel investment projects and related assignments throughout the EMEA region.

Alina Vladulescu

CO-FOUNDER, WIN ADVISORS, PRE-OPENING OPERATIONS AND HOTEL MANAGEMENT SPECIALIST

Alina is as a reliable, passionate and dynamic hospitality professional, enthusiastic to share her know-how and to contribute to the success of her projects. With a proven track record of effectively leading and managing all aspects of a hotel, Alina’s work has been recognized over the years by all stakeholders. The past years of her career have given her the 360° view of a hotel investment, assisting owners in hotel operator selection and contract negotiation, building up business plan scenarios to challenge the hotel chains, working on pre-opening budgets, OS&E simulations, recruitment scenarios and all other facets of such a business. Alina’s commitment with WIN ADVISORS is to share relevant expertise and assist clients and business partners initiate, develop and conduct valuable projects within hospitality area while positioning them at the peak of their segment. 

Miguel Martins

HEAD OF DEVELOPMENT, NORTHERN EUROPE IHG HOTELS & RESORTS

Miguel Martins is the Head of Development for Northern Europe at IHG, one of the world’s leading hotel companies. He is responsible for leading and developing IHG’s brand portfolio across Northern Europe, covering 17 countries, and identifying new business opportunities. Miguel and his team work collaboratively with development partners to deliver value for both franchised and managed hotels across luxury, upscale and mainstream brands. In his tenure with IHG, he has since signed over 45 new deals across the Northern Europe region. With extensive international experience in hotel development and hotel operations, he has been involved in over 20 projects in Europe, including Portugal, Spain and Poland. Prior to joining IHG in 2015, Miguel co-founded Polish Hotel Company, a strategic growth Partner, responsible for the roll out of some of IHG’s most well-known brands in Poland, such as Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express, Hotel Indigo and Crowne Plaza. Miguel also worked as a Senior Consultant at an international hotel & asset management company based in Portugal where he was involved on various projects under local and international brands and experienced several functions in hotel operations. 

Calin Calimaneanu 

PROJECT BUSINESS DEVELOPER, DAIKIN ROMANIA

Calin Calimaneanu is a skilled HVAC engineer with a background in Construction Project Management. With two decades of experience in HVAC and more than 10 years of activity with Daikin Romania, Calin has made significant contributions to the development of HVAC solutions for several notable projects in Romania, such as hotels, office buildings, industrial plants, and residential complexes. 

Robert Esanu

DIRECTOR OF DEVELOPMENT ROMANIA & MOLDOVA, MOGOTEL

Robert Esanu has over 20 years of experience in different areas of the real estate market is highly specialized in finding the right opportunities, optimizing real estate properties and adding value to projects. He has developed 5 hotels in Romania with brands from the international Hilton and Marriott networks, and since 2023 he has joined the largest hotel operator in the Baltic countries, Mogotel as development director and now covers Romania, Moldova and Bulgaria. Mogotel currently operates 23 hotels and is present in 9 countries: Latvia, Estonia, Ukraine, Germany, Poland, Slovenia, Hungary, Slovakia, Sweden and has a strong pipeline for the coming years. The business models they offer to investors/developers are management or lease agreements with international brands or own brands. In Romania, Mogotel aims to develop in the next 5 years about 20 hotels in Bucharest and in the main cities of the country. So far this year, the brand has signed 4 commercial agreements and they are in advanced discussions to sign further commercial agreements by the end of this year. The main objective is to integrate into the hospitality ecosystem of next generation quality hotels with stable growth in turnover, profit and positive feedback from their guests.

Tsvetelina Nikolova

MANAGING DIRECTOR KATARZYNA ESTATE & PLATINUM BRANDS (BULGARIA)

Tsvetelina Nikolova has undergone extensive professional training in the Wine Marketing Training Program at the University of California, Davis (USA). She has completed Executive Education in “Marketing in the Digital Era” at Harvard Business School. One of Tsvetelina Nikolova’s priorities is to enhance the image of Bulgarian wines worldwide. She has initiated and led various projects related to promoting Bulgaria as a producer of quality wines, both domestically and internationally. She authored the richly illustrated book “Wines of Bulgaria,” a unique guide to the world of winemaking in Bulgaria, which received widespread acclaim and high praise at the national level. Among Tsvetelina Nikolova’s recent projects is the creation of La Maison de Katarzyna, a unique wine house combined with a shop, exhibition, and tasting area. The main idea behind this project is to have direct interaction with customers, allowing them to firsthand experience Katarzyna’s wines, the variety of grape varieties and brands produced by the winery, and the different processes involved in their production. La Maison de Katarzyna hosts various wine events and tastings with the aim of enhancing the wine culture among Bulgarians. Tsvetelina Nikolova’s current significant project, through the newly built five-star boutique hotel L’Ambassade de Katarzyna, is to establish Bulgaria as the next exotic destination on the world map of wine tourism. Her idea is to offer hotel guests an interesting opportunity to explore the local terroir, wines, culture, cuisine, and uniqueness of our land.

Andre Kaufmann

SENIOR DIRECTOR BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT, TRUSTYOU

With over 20 years of experience in the Hospitality industry, André specializes in empowering hotels and hospitality groups to streamline their operations, enhance guest experiences, and achieve strategic goals through our cutting-edge platform.

Denisa Voiculescu

HEAD OF SALES FOR BUSINESS CLIENTS, ENGIE Romania

Denisa Voiculescu joined the ENGIE team in 2017, and since then she has been active in several areas of activity, thus having the opportunity to permanently develop her skills and knowledge. She started in the area of energy management and trading, and today she is responsible for the activity of selling electricity, energy solutions and natural gas to B2B customers. Over time, she has demonstrated very good communication skills, interacting effectively with colleagues and motivating her teams to achieve their goals. Her experience in developing and managing relationships with clients and business partners is a solid one, building lasting partnerships based on trust and mutual understanding, with outstanding results in achieving goals. With a deep understanding of the energy market and the competitive environment, Denisa is involved in various strategic projects of the company, being recognized for her ability to come up with innovative solutions to complex problems.

Attila Joos

CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER & GENERAL MANAGER, ARO PALACE

As CEO and GM at Aro Palace SA, with an experience close to 20 years in the industry of hospitality, Attila, who graduated with an MBA in Management from the University of Sheffield, is currently enrolled in his second MBA in Hospitality Management at the École Hôtelière de Lausanne, currently being involved in two major development projects: Mercure Brasov City Center and Hyatt Regency Aro Palace Brasov. Attila is a seasoned executive in the hospitality industry, specializing in the management of luxury and exclusive hotels. Attila’s career in hospitality spans several key leadership positions, where he has demonstrated his ability to lead and motivate teams, manage large-scale operations, and ensure exceptional customer service across various properties. His expertise includes overseeing operations that encompass up to 3000 beds. He has a deep understanding of the luxury market, which he has complemented with strong operational skills. His proficiency in conceptualizing and supervising medium-large operations has played a pivotal role in his successes. Attila’s leadership style is characterized by a positive, proactive approach, excellent communication skills, and a structured method in planning and executing business strategies. In addition to his operational expertise, Attila is known for his analytical approach and his rigorous project management skills, having initiated, managed, and finalized numerous projects that have significantly enhanced business performance. As a leader, he has been instrumental in driving changes and re-engineering business processes to foster growth and improve operational efficiency. His global perspective, underpinned by his work in diverse cultural settings, adds to his effectiveness in multi-property management and contributes to his holistic approach to hospitality management. Attila continues to influence the hospitality industry through his dedication to excellence, commitment to continuous improvement, and advocacy for effective management practices.

Ivaylo Kozhuharov

CEO, HOTEL EXPERTS INTELLIGENT HOSPITALITY SOLUTIONS (BULGARIA)

Ivaylo Kozhuharov is hospitality professional with 15+ years of managerial experience, driven to boost company profitability through innovative techniques. In the past, he held the positions of Мanaging Director of domestic hotel chain, General Manager of leisure and business hotels – both part of international hotel and resort brands. Ivaylo is currently providing Business Development & Operations Management, People Management, empowering hospitality ecosystems with intelligent hospitality solutions for his partners in the CEE Region.

Dayana Kanazireva

DEVELOPMENT, MARKETING & SALES DIRECTOR OF OKOL LAKE PARK AND MANAGING DIRECTOR, D.TRUST LTD. (BULGARIA)

Dayana Kanazireva is part of the Board of Directors of OKOL Lake Park, a new and modern living place, the largest Golf & Residential Community in Bulgaria. The project covers an area of 3,000 decares combining an 18-hole Championship golf course (managed by IMG), 5* Pullman Resort (managed by Accor), Center with many additional elements and amenities, more than 650 family homes and holiday properties. Dayana is responsible for the Development, Marketing & Sales as well as the Pre-opening of the Golf Course and the Resort. Further to that Dayana is Member of the Board of Novotel Sofia (4* business hotel in Sofia, managed by Accor) and of the American English Academy (Internationalschool, 3 KG – 12 Grade, in Sofia). Outside Markan Holding she is a member of the Advisory Board of the Bulgarian Green Building Council.

Alexandra Marcu

PARTNER, ROMANIAN ROMANCE

Alexandra-Elena Marcu is a journalist, communication and public relations specialist, travel curator and co-founder of Romanian Romance project, a complex project that presents and promotes the traditional premium tourism in Romania, its successful stories, the good practices examples and the authentic Romanian travel experiences. Alexandra travels with her partner across Romania, experiences every travel destination personally and having objective and detailed criteria, shares all the Romanian stories on www.romanian-romance.com, on the Romanian Romance social media platforms and inside the travel guides “Dreamy weekends across Romania” and “Travelers in our own country” published in the last years. Alexandra has organized and moderated numerous events in different fields, such as tourism, medicine and public policies. In the present she is also promoting Romania’s premium travel destinations on Romanian TV channels.

Lior Bebera

COMPLEX GENERAL MANAGER, RADISSON HOTEL GROUP

Lior is an accomplished manager with 25 years of international experience in the hospitality sector and a natural born leader. He started his career in the hotel industry in Germany in 1998, acquiring expertise in various areas of activity of the hotel business – Sales and Business Development, Food and beverage Management, Hotel Management, and Global Corporate Roles – in ten different countries, on four continents with dominance experience in five-star brands. Since 2016, he has held the roles of General Manager, Cluster General Manager, Managing Director, and Group Director of Operations working for international hotel chains achieving notable performances. His most recent role was that of Cluster General Manager in Malta for Meliá Hotels International, overseeing the activity of four hotels with 12 food and beverage outlets in the pre-opening and opening phase, efficiently structuring and setting up operations of Mercury Towers in St. Julian’s, Malta, a 33-storey residential tower with a luxury 5-star ME by Meliã, a hotel brand of Meliã Hotels International

Corina Lovering

CORPORATE COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR, ALEXANDRION GROUP

Corina Lovering is Corporate Communications Director for Alexandrion Group, the leading spirits & sparkling wine producer in Romania, with a large global distribution network. She is a public relations and marketing professional, with a strong track record of success in developing and implementing strategic corporate and brand communication programmes in Romania and internationally. Corina is a strong advocate for a 360-communication approach for companies and brands encompassing long-term strategic planning that provides consistency and coherence to communication and businesses.

Anna Bozhkova

GENERAL MANAGER, ARTE SPA & PARK HOTEL, KASHMIR WELLNESS & SPA HOTEL (BULGARIA)

Anna Bozhkova, with more than 10 years of experience in hospitality, is the General Manager of two award-winning 5-star hotels in Velingrad, Bulgaria. Her hotels include Arte Spa&Park Hotel, which has been named ‘Best Spa Hotel in Bulgaria’ seven times in a row, and the only year-round Spa&Wellness Adults-only hotel, Kashmir Wellness&Spa. She graduated in Bulgaria in the field of International Economic Relations, as well as International Tourism.

Iulia Szabo

INVESTMENT PROPERTIES CONSULTANT & HOSPITALITY BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT, CBRE ROMANIA

Iulia Szabo is an experienced Consultant in the Capital Markets department at CBRE Romania, with a wealth of experience in the hospitality sector. Graduating from Hotelschool The Hague, she seamlessly transitioned into real estate while working at CBRE Hotels in London. Since 2022, Iulia has been a key asset to the local CBRE team, focusing on Investment Properties and contributing to the closure of significant deals. Her deep-rooted connections in the regional Capital Markets network provide her with invaluable insights into the hotel market and its evolving trends, further enhancing the department’s expertise in hotel investments and transactions. Currently, she is closing the loop on her expertise by pursuing a Master’s in Real Estate Investment Finance at Oxford Brookes University.

Alexandra Bogatu-Pavel

FOUNDER & CEO, EUFORIA RETREAT & SPA

Ivelina Gatseva

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR AND MEMBER OF THE MANAGEMENT BOARD, FESTA HOTELS (BULGARIA)

Ivelina has been in the Executive Director position and a member of the Management Board of Festa Hotels Group since 2015. Since 2008, she has been part of Festa Hotels team responsible for the Sales and Marketing department. Ivelina has 20 years of experience in tourism and hospitality, in which she was personally responsible for a variety of investments, organizational projects, marketing, and communications strategy implementation. Ivelina is constantly working to update and develop her management and leadership knowledge and competence, and she truly believes that leadership is a lifetime devotion and the key resource for any company’s growth.

Ionut Nicolescu

MANAGING PARTNER, GRAND DEVELOPMENT

Paula Dobrescu

OWNER, BUSINESS TRAVEL

Lucian Boronea

CEO, ACCENT TRAVEL GROUP

Lucian Boronea, the CEO of Accent Travel & Events (ATE), has been a driving force in Romania’s travel and events industry for over 25 years. His strategic vision and tireless dedication have transformed ATE into a powerhouse, serving both corporate clients and leisure travelers. Today, that vision has blossomed into a thriving enterprise, the company caters both to corporate clients, offering comprehensive business travel solutions, and also curating unforgettable leisure experiences within Romania and in top destinations around the world. Over the years, under his leadership, ATE has forged strategic partnerships with global giants like Egencia – American Express GBT in 2009 and HotelBeds in 2022. These alliances amplify ATE’s reach, ensuring that clients benefit from a wealth of options and seamless experiences. In 2023, Lucian’s vision to broaden the company’s horizons led to the inception of Accent DMC, a pioneering business line serving as a comprehensive hotel content aggregator. Currently, it features a curated selection of top hotels from Romania, Serbia, and Georgia. With sustainability, innovation, and client satisfaction as guiding principles, Lucian continues to shape the future of travel and events management. Beyond his contributions to ATE, Lucian holds influential positions in the National Association of Travel Agencies in Romania (ANAT), serving as Vice President and a member of the Board of Directors. Additionally, he leads as the Executive President of the Bucharest Tourism Board, further showcasing his leadership and commitment to the industry.

Razvan Pirjol

CEO, TURISM FELIX

Vessela Valtcheva-McGee

DIRECTOR OF MARKET DEVELOPMENT EE, GBCI EUROPE

Vessela Valtcheva-McGee has extensive experience with green building certification and sustainable development in both practice and education. With 20+ years of experience in green building certification, Vessela has both practical hands-on experience with international certification tools LEED, BREEAM and EDGE, and deep theoretical knowledge of sustainability, professional education and policy development, and sustainability leadership. While consulting the real estate sector in green building certification and sustainable development, Vessela has also been actively involved in change leadership through the international NGO green building council network and working closely with multilateral development banks. Serving as a founder and President of a chapter of the US Green Building Council in the United States, Vessela had the opportunity to be involved in the evolution of early green building council development as well as various aspects of the LEED rating system. Vessela was honored as a LEED Fellow in 2015 – the highest level of professional recognition awarded for certification technical expertise, practical experience, education development and advocacy. From 2008 to 2023 Vessela served as Managing Partner International Projects for Triple Green Building Group – a full service sustainability consulting, certification and education, company. Vessela is also a founding member of the Bulgarian Green Building Council where she was President for two terms. Over the past 15 years she worked on sustainable policy development, voluntary certification initiatives, and sat on task forces at the World Green Building Council’s Europe Regional Network, a coalition of organizations working together to facilitate industry leadership and drive the transition to a low-carbon, circular economy. Due to her dedication and experience with pioneering certification in new markets, as of 2024 Vessela joined GBCI Europe serving as Director of Market Development for Eastern Europe. 

Dragos Anastasiu

PRESIDENT, EUROLINES GROUP ROMANIA

Dragos Anastasiu is President of Eurolines Group in Romania, founder of AdWise, serial entrepreneur and business angel. Today, Eurolines Group is specializes in hospitality, hotel consultancy (www.themakers.ro) – Green Village Resort in the Danube Delta 4*, Valea Verde Retreat in Transylvania, Orizont Predeal hotel), and car rental services and consultancy. Under his leadership, Eurolines Romania Group has been continuously developing. Dragos was also President of the Romanian-German Chamber of Commerce and a member of the Advisory Board of Romanian Business Leaders Foundation for almost 10 years. He is president of the Rethink Romania Association (www.rethinkromania.ro), a member of the FIHR board and a spokesman for the Tourism Alliance. In his 28 years of entrepreneurship in Romania, he has gone all the way from a small company with a few employees to a group of companies with a turnover of 150 million euros and 800 employees. He grew up with companies, sold, bought, merged, developed an organizational culture based on services of excellence and realized that his mindset and the mindset of his collaborators can actually change for the better. That is why he decided to give back to Romanian entrepreneurship through AdWise (www.ad-wise.ro) – a cluster of consulting, support services and training for small and medium-sized entrepreneurial companies.

Ion Biris

OWNER, LOFT RESTAURANTS

Adam Ambrus

MANAGER AND CO-OWNER, NERVIA & AMERA

Adam Ambrus, is a new entry in the hotel field after having accumulated a vast experience in the development of industrial parks and in the office industry. He is the owner of Amera Group and manages operations in Romania of the Nervia investment fund from Spain.

Aurelian Marin

OWNER, PARADIS HOTELS & RESORTS

Lorand Szarvadi

MANAGING DIRECTOR, BALVANYOS RESORT

Monica Dobrutchi

GENERAL MANAGER ROMANIA, MOLDOVA & BULGARIA, LUFTHANSA GROUP

Anca Cristea

GENERAL MANAGER, RADISSON BLU AURUM BRASOV

Anca Cristea is an experienced hotel general manager with extensive background in hotel management and operations, spanning over a decade. She is specialized in pre-opening strategies and execution, trendspotting and adaptation in the ever-changing hospitality landscape, and played a pivotal role in the pre-opening of renowned hotel brands as K+ K Hotels, Accor, Hilton and Radisson both nationally and internationally. Proficient in team leadership, customer service excellence, and revenue optimization she is currently serving as Pre-Opening and General Manager at Radisson Blu Aurum Brasov since 2021.

Darius Pripon

CHIEF WINEMAKER, CRAMA JELNA (BISTRITA-NASAUD)

Romulus Andrei

DIRECTOR, BANCA TRANSILVANIA

Romulus Andrei works as Director at Banca Transilvania and has three decades of experience in the Romanian banking sector, with a strong exposure to the real estate sector. After graduating from the Bucharest Academy of Economic Studies in 1992, he joined Eximbank, and then moved to ABN Amro Romania, learning banking successively as Senior Dealer in the Treasury Department, then as Branch Manager, and as Head of Unit in Corporate. In 2007, he was named Director of the Mid Corporate Division at Millennium Bank. Next, he was named Corporate Director at Austrian Volksbank Romania, the bank which was taken over by Banca Transilvania in 2015. Following the acquisition, Romulus transferred the Structured Finance concept that includes Project Finance, Syndication Loans and Public Sector Financing.

Silvija Lovreta

VICE PRESIDENT DEVELOPMENT CENTRAL AND SOUTH EASTERN EUROPE, MARRIOTT INTERNATIONAL

Lyudmyla Honcharova

SOURCING INITIATIVES LEAD, HBX GROUP

Lyudmyla Honcharova is a Sourcing Initiatives Lead in HBX Group. She is coordinating teams responsible for commercial relationship with accommodation suppliers within North and Central Europe. She has 15 years of experience, Master Degree in tourism and is a graduate of EHL Swiss School of Tourism and Hospitality. Lyudmyla joined Hotelbeds in 2012. 2023 was marked to be the beginning of HBX Group – group brand that brings together Hotelbeds, Bedsonline, Roiback and Travelstack under a unified umbrella. HBX Group is the leading B2B ecosystem player in the TravelTech space, connecting and empowering businesses in the ever-evolving world of travel.

Horia Balan

PARTNER, NORMA (SWISSÔTEL POIANA BRASOV - OPENING PROJECT)

In the more than 10 years of activity in real estate, Horia Balan has directly coordinated infrastructure and architecture investments of over 25 million Eur. The projects developed by him have been awarded years in a row with the Grand Prize at the Architecture Annuals and Biennials. In 2019, Horia Balan was designated “Developer of the Year” by the Romanian Order of Architects. Currently, Horia holds the position of Partner at Norrma (Swissôtel Poiana Brasov) and is also Co-founder & CEO of the start-up Dwellii – producer of modular houses that combines quality design with impeccable execution.

Ioana Dancanet

GENERAL MANAGER, MATCA TRANSYLVANIAN SANCTUARY HOTEL

Ioana Dancanet, the General Manager of Matca Hotel, brings over 12 years of distinguished experience within Romania’s hospitality industry. With a solid educational background in law, including a Master’s Degree in European Law, Ioana’s expertise spans across business administration, management, and development, reflecting her profound knowledge and skill in these areas. With demonstrated proficiency in project management within the tourism, spa, and hotel sectors, Ioana has successfully overseen the rehabilitation of a historical monument, transforming it into a successful spa destination in Sibiu, Romania. Subsequently, her vision led to the inception of MATCA, situated in the heart of Transylvania. Approaching each day with genuine passion for her work and people, Ioana consistently embraces new challenges with enthusiasm. Her exceptional ability to form strong and sustainable teams is the visible proof to her emotional intelligence and dedication to fostering positive relationships and love for people. Ioana’s goal for MATCA is to offer to every guest an authentic experience encompassing guided tours, accommodation, fine dining cuisine and spa facilities.

Farah Chahine

BRAND ADVISOR GCC, ONE UNITED PROPERTIES

Farah Chahine, Owner and Founder of Upscale Business is a seasoned entrepreneur with over 20 years of international experience in brand development and marketing strategy, particularly within the GCC region. Having collaborated with prestigious organizations such as Abu Dhabi Media, PIH, and Ipsos, Farah has a proven track record of creating and developing brands across the GCC, including collaborations with renowned clients like EMAAR and Mubadala. Recently relocating to Romania, Farah aims to introduce Romania and its investment opportunities to investors in the GCC region through a trusted partner, One United Properties. Collaborating with One United Properties, a leading real estate developer in Romania, Farah seeks to increase awareness about One United Properties as a trusted brand and generate valuable leads from the GCC region. Leveraging her extensive international network and innovative marketing strategies, Farah is committed to fostering business growth and innovation worldwide.

Constantin Viscu

CEO, CONSGRUP S.A. (REPUBLICA MOLDOVA)

Constantin Viscu is CEO of Consgrup S.A., a business consulting joint stock company, established in 2004. Constantin is an expert in implementing and development of corporate business strategies for international investors launching in the Republic of Moldova, with valuable experience of over 30 years in professional education, hospitality and real estate industry. Successfully certified by the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development in the field of strategy and development Project Management & consulting. Since 2010, he is an official partner of Accor Services (Edenred) and Accor Hotels in the Republic of Moldova. He is an official representative of Sommet Education and Swiss Education Group – global leaders in hospitality management education.

Catalina Toma (Rosu)

CO-FOUNDER, WIN ADVISORS, DEVELOPMENT AND INVESTMENT SPECIALIST

With a genuine passion for hospitality, Catalina has always put all her efforts into her projects, thus creating long-term and valuable relations. As a customer-centric and solution-oriented professional, she always looks to deliver her promise, for which she has gained the trust and respect of all stakeholders she has interacted with. Catalina started her career 15 years ago in what is today Edenred – the leader in prepaid vouchers and the inventor of Ticket Restaurant – where during 7 years she gained diverse expertise from sales, marketing, corporate affairs, internal communication, and event organization. In 2016, she joined the hospitality division in Accor Group, where she contributed to numerous strategic investment projects and asset light agreements while overseeing several markets in Eastern Europe, focusing in the last years on Romania, Bulgaria, Republic of Moldavia, and Czech Republic. At the same time, for almost 2 years, she was acting as an Advisor part of a group committee inside the organization, shadowing the Board of Directors with different projects. In the last 8 years of hotel development, Catalina negotiated and signed more than 50 asset light agreements(franchise and management) adding on the market investments of more than 300 mil euros. Her aim with WIN ADVISORS is to share her experience with all the interested parties to invest in the Romanian hospitality, assisting hoteliers to optimize their hotel business and development strategy. In a nutshell, pinning Romania on the map of international markets, as a highly professional hotel environment, increasing the appetite of both international investors but also assisting in raising awareness among local authorities to support private efforts in a country with enormous touristic potential like in Romania.

Alina Toie

MANAGING PARTNER, SPARK HOSPITALITY (TRESOR LE PALAIS CURIO COLLECTION BY HILTON - OPENING PROJECT)

With over 20 years of leadership experience in various industries and hospitality, both in local and international markets, Alina’s expertise encompasses every aspect of tourism and hospitality, from destination management to hotel operations and commercial services. Her diverse background, combined with profound insights into market dynamics and a passion for innovation and emerging trends, positions her as a knowledgeable and forward-thinking partner within the hospitality and tourism sectors. Before founding Spark Hospitality, Alina served as General Manager for the Oradea Destination Management Organization (Visit Oradea) and held roles as Commercial Manager and Director of Sales at hotels within the Hilton and Ramada chains. Spark Hospitality is a company that provides consulting and management services for the hospitality industry, specializing in comprehensive commercial services including sales, marketing, online distribution, pricing strategies and revenue management for hotels of all sizes, with the goal of optimizing business performance. The mission of the company is to be the trusted partner in the hospitality industry, offering deep market knowledge with focused commercial expertise, tailored solutions, and best practices that deliver top returns to its owners on a consistent basis, while ensuring excellent service.

Christine Schillings

CEO, WINSEDSWISS ROMANIA

Silviu Savin

PARTNER, ASCENTA MANAGEMENT

Marius Bazavan

MANAGING PARTNER & COO, BACOLUX HOTELS

Marius Bazavan is Managing Partner and COO of Bacolux Hotels Romania, member of the FIHR Steering Committee and Coordinator of the FIHR Education Working Group. Oriented towards development and innovation, his most visible results have been achieved in Bacolux locations in Herculane, which have brought with them a revitalization of the resort after a long period of decline. The company’s investments include a new spa treatment water source, an international award-winning spa, and its newest investment is Bacolux Koralio, a new hotel in Eforie Nord, opening in 2022. But the biggest resource he is constantly investing in is building and developing the Bacolux Hotels Romania team, believing that people will always remain the company’s most valuable asset.

Dorin Ivascu

PRESIDENT, ROMANIAN ASSOCIATION OF PRIVATE AVIATION OPERATORS

Laura Marin

GM, IBIS STYLES VENUS

Maria Necsulescu

OWNER CASTELUL BETHLEN-HALLER & CEO JIDVEI

Laurent Clavilier

VP DESIGN & TECHNICAL SERVICE EASTERN EUROPE, GREECE & MALTA, ACCOR

Gogolak Margit

CEO MULTINVEST GROUP & OWNER HAMPTON BY HILTON TARGU MURES

Margit Gogolak Hrubecz is a licensed civil, industrial, and agricultural construction engineer with over 30 years of experience in the construction industry.  She is a project manager, procurement expert, civil and structural monument site manager, and energy auditor. Being the Co-Founder and Co-Owner of Multinvest Group, she is serving as its CEO. Multinvest Group is a well-established company with a proven track record in construction projects. Recognized for her significant contributions to the development of Targu Mures, Mrs. Gogolak Hrubecz Margit is a prominent figure in the business and investment community. Her investment in the Hampton by Hilton Targu Mures hotel exemplifies her vision and commitment to supporting the city’s business environment. This project is a key component of the development strategy for “ORIGO,” the new alternative center and business hub of Targu Mures, by providing high-quality accommodation facilities.

Matt Ian David

CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER & ACCOUNTABLE MANAGER, DAN AIR

Victor Bostan

CEO, GRUPUL PURCARI

Victor Bostan, founder of Purcari Wineries Group, has revolutionized Moldova’s winemaking since reviving Château Purcari in 2002 and establishing Bostavan Winery in 2003. With a degree in Wine Technology from the Technical University of Moldova, he brings over 40 years of experience in viticulture and enology. His innovative approach blends traditional techniques with modern technologies, preserving Moldovan wine’s character and introducing it to international markets. Under his leadership, Purcari Wineries Group has grown, with a strategic stock exchange listing enhancing financial transparency. The group now operates in Romania, Bulgaria, and Moldova, leveraging unique climatic conditions to produce distinctive wines. He also promotes wine tourism, transforming Château Purcari into a top tourist destination with lush vineyards, expert-led tastings, and luxurious hospitality. Victor Bostan’s commitment to excellence and innovation has elevated Purcari Wineries Group and Moldovan wines globally. His visionary leadership inspires future winemakers and entrepreneurs.

Marinela Ardelean

FOUNDER OF WINES OF ROMANIA & CO-FOUNDER OF RO-WINE FESTIVAL

Recently awarded The Jury’s Grand Prize and the Expert Opinion Award in the Wine&Food Influencer category at the Wine Travel Awards, Marinela Ardelean is the founder of the WinesOfRomania.com platform, co-founder of the international wine festival RO-Wine, Horeca market consultant, wine critic, author, business consultant, international competition judge, and ambassador of the Deschidem Vinul Romanesc / We Open the Romanian program. Marinela Ardelean has authored three volumes of her landmark work, The Wine Book of Romania, in which she thoroughly inventories Romania’s and Bulgaria’s best wines and Wineries. Marinela Ardelean is a dedicated advocate for Romanian wine, tirelessly promoting it both domestically and abroad. Her academic journey, which includes studies in Law and Psychology, an Executive MBA, and a PhD in wine marketing, has equipped her with a comprehensive understanding of the industry. Marinela Ardelean’s journey in the world of wine began almost two decades ago, during which she has delved into every aspect of this complex industry. Her wealth of experience is encapsulated in her books, including ‘TheWine Book of Romania’, ’50 de vinuri romanesti intalnesc 50 de preparate culinare italiene’ (50 Romanian Wines Meet 50 Italian Culinary Dishes), and ‘The Country and the Wine. A heterodox approach to the relationship between the country brand and the Romanian wines brand’.

Stefan Balaur

COO, CONTINENTAL HOTELS

Claudiu Necsulescu

OWNER, JIDVEI GROUP

For 25 years, Claudiu Necsulescu has been one of the most influential voices in the Romanian wine sector. With a bold business vision and perseverance, he has transformed the Jidvei Group into a family-run business built as a legacy for the future, now involving three generations of the Necsulescu family. He embarked on this journey with the desire to make Jidvei a fully integrated company, from vine to wine, using plant material from its own Vine Nursery, the first private vine nursery of its kind in the country, and grapes exclusively from its own vineyards. This courageous decision was driven by the ambition to create wines that authentically reflect the local terroir, now known as D.O.C. Jidvei. Covering an area of 2,500 hectares, Jidvei is today the largest single-owned vineyard in Europe and the largest producer of wines with Protected Designation of Origin in Romania. Due to his concern for local cultural heritage, Claudiu Necsulescu initiated the restoration of Bethlen-Haller Castle, which, after a complex process of restoration and renovation, has become a 5-star emblem of wine tourism in Romania, integrating the farm-to-table concept in its restaurants. Additionally, he initiated the restoration of Bethlen Castle in Sanmiclaus, where Jidvei, together with Babes-Bolyai University, founded the Institute of Science and Technology in Circular Bioeconomy. Claudiu Necsulescu is the president of ONIV, the first interprofessional organization in vitiviniculture in Romania recognized by the European Commission, which he has led with dedication for nearly 20 years. Claudiu Necsulescu is actively involved in working groups within the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development for drafting and promoting legislation within the industry. Alongside ONIV, his most significant activity has been the ongoing concern for establishing support measures implemented with community support.

Decebal – Traian Robu

CIO & GROWTH MANAGER, AMFITEATRUL TRANSILVANIA BRASOV, ROMANIA

Alin Ratoi

VICE PRESIDENT BOARD & CFO, ANIMAWINGS

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