Best Western Hotels & Resorts has appointed Venushe Wickramarathne as regional director of commercial – Asia. Based in Best Western’s regional head office in Bangkok, Wickramarathne will oversee the sales and marketing activities for the group’s entire collection of hotels and resorts in South-east Asia and Japan, encompassing all 16 of the company’s brands.
Wickramarathne earned his work experience through several key roles in Europe and Asia, rising from night manager at an AccorHotels property in Zurich to deputy head of sales – events & banqueting for the Cinnamon Grand hotel in Colombo, Sri Lanka.
In 2017, Wickramarathne joined Centara Hotels & Resorts, initially as area director of sales & marketing for Colombo, before moving to Thailand in January 2018 to become the company’s area director of sales and marketing for Krabi.
Sofitel Mumbai BKC, the flagship property of Sofitel Hotels & Resorts of the Accor Group, has announced the appointment of their new general manager Vikas Kapai. Having led prominent hotels in the country, Kapai comes with over three decades of hospitality experience.
Kapai’s past experience includes work with stellar brands such as Hilton, Hyatt, Marriott, Oakwood Asia Pacific and similar where he has often played a key leadership role, turning around the properties on significant performance metrics. Vikas Kapai currently lives in Mumbai.
Priyanku Mahanta has been appointed director of sales with Courtyard by Marriot, Siliguri. In his earlier stints, he worked with Novotel Kolkata Hotel and Residences, Le Meridien Jaipur, Country Inn & Suites by Radisson Mysuru, Radisson Blu Hotel Guwahati, ITC Windsor, Bengaluru and Hotel Royal Orchid, Bengaluru.
Vikas Kumar has been appointed general manager of The Westin Pushkar Resort and Spa, Westin Hotel’s first resort property in India. Kumar has assumed the responsibility to oversee the hotel operations and ensuring highest standards of guest service.
With over 18 years of experience in the hospitality industry including a decade with Marriott, Kumar has also worked with Aloft Bengaluru Cessna Business Park, Courtyard by Marriott Kochi Airport, JW Marriott Chandigarh, Sheraton Bangalore Brigade Gateway and The Westin Hyderabad Mindspace.
The Japan National Tourism Organisation (JNTO) has appointed Yusuke Yamamoto as the new executive director of tourism for the India market. Yamamoto will oversee the Indian market while managing the development of policies and strategies to strengthen Japan’s reputation as a world class tourism and travel destination.
With an education in political science, Yamamoto started his career by working for the Kanagawa Prefectural Government. He was also the director of South Asia market for Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO), for which he was based in Singapore for three years. After working in key positions in several government sectors, he joined JNTO in 2017 as a deputy manager in the corporate planning department.
Vinita Khar has been appointed as the director of sales and marketing at Grand Hyatt Mumbai. Khar has been associated with the hospitality industry for more than a decade. In her new role at Grand Hyatt Mumbai, she will be heading the sales, marketing and events team. Vinita has been a part of the Hyatt family since 2007 as director of revenue management at Grand Hyatt Mumbai, then director of sales and marketing at Hyatt Regency Pune and at Park Hyatt Goa Resort and Spa.
Radisson Hotel Group has appointed Hannes Bos as its vice-president commercial for Asia Pacific. An experienced hotel professional and revenue leader, Hannes was educated in the Netherlands and Sweden before embarking on his hospitality career with AMS Hotel Group in Amsterdam. Specialising in revenue management, he also held senior management positions with Concorde Hotels in Paris and Millennium & Copthorne in London and Singapore.
Hannes joined InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) in 2008 and following spells with HotelBeds in Singapore and RateGain in India, Hannes joined Wyndham Hotels & Resorts in Dubai. Most recently, he worked for VinGroup, Vietnam’s leading tourism and hospitality conglomerate.
Hannes now brings 18 years of global hospitality experience to Radisson Hotel Group. Based at Radisson Hotel Group’s regional head office in Singapore, Hannes will sit on the group’s Asia Pacific executive committee.
Sandeep Sahdev has been appointed director of sales and marketing at Bengaluru Marriott Hotel Whitefield. Prior to joining Bengaluru Marriott Hotel Whitefield, Sahdev has worked with reputed brands like The Den Bengaluru, Duet India Hotels, Four Points by Sheraton Pune, Sheraton Udaipur Palace Resort & Spa, The Oberoi Group and Carlson Hotels.
Fairmont Jaipur has announced the appointment of its new general manager, Rajiv Kapoor, who will helm the operations of the flagship property of Fairmont in the Pink City. Rajiv comes with a varied range of experience and an innate understanding of the hospitality and deluxe segment, nationally and in global markets.
Rajiv comes to this luxury property with 19 years of experience. He began his career as an operational trainee at Grand Hyatt and subsequently climbed the ladder with various renowned hospitality brands such as The Westin Sohna Gurgaon Resort and Spa, Le Meridien Mumbai and Sheraton Surabaya Hotel & Towers, Indonesia. Prior to joining Fairmont Jaipur, he was the general manager of The Westin Langkawi Resort & Spa and also Langkawi International Convention Center (LICC).
Hilton Bangalore Embassy Golf Links has appointed Rishi Tiwari as the new cluster director of human resource. Rishi will be responsible for providing consultation to management on strategic staffing plans, training and development, budget and labour relations for both Hilton Bangalore Embassy Golf Links and Double Tree Suites by Hilton Bangalore.
Prior to joining the Hilton Embassy GolfLinks, Rishi was working with Hyatt Regency Delhi as the Associate Director of Human Resources.
After pursuing his double post graduate with full time MBA in human resources and a Masters Degree in Labour Laws, Rishi started his career with The Lalit New Delhi and Best Western in different capacities in HR functions. He is a certified HR Auditor from XLRI Jamshedpur and holds a certificate in Advanced Human Resource Management from the Indian Institute of Management in Ahmedabad.
Israel Ministry of Tourism has appointed Sammy Yahia as the new director of tourism for India & Philippines markets. Yahia will be responsible the tourism board’s initiatives in India while overseeing the development of policies and strategies to strengthen Israel’s reputation as a tourism and travel destination. Prior to his appointment to India, Yahia was the director of marketing & communications for the Israel Ministry of Tourism. During his tenure there, he was awarded ‘Employee of the Year – Civil Service Commission’ and a certificate of appreciation from the Minister of Tourism and the Director General for his valuable contributions.
With an MBA in marketing and communication from the University of Derby, Yahia also completed his BA in Social Sciences, Sociology and Anthropology from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
Prahlad Singh Patel has been named as the Minister of State (Independent Charge) of the Ministry of Tourism. Patel is a Member of Parliament from Damoh in Madhya Pradesh. He holds BSc, LLB, MA (Philosophy) degrees. A four-time elected Member of Parliament, Patel was a member of several committees in the previous Narendra Modi government like the Committee on Public Undertakings, the Committee on Government Assurances Member, Standing Committee on Rural Development Member. He was also a member of the Executive Council of V V Giri National Labour Institute and a member of the Consultative Committee in the Ministry of Labour and Employment.