|April 24, 2013|
andBeyond Strengthens Global Leadership Through New Appointment
|&Beyond is excited to announce the appointment of Mark Wheeler as Regional Managing Director -- East Africa and South Asia from 1st May 2013 based in our Nairobi office to help us accelerate the growth of &Beyond's business, presence and capabilities in these regions. After a lengthy period of consolidation and detailed planning, we are now ready to grow &Beyond East Africa and South Asia to their full potential across both lodging and touring. Mark will be working with the excellent teams in Kenya, Tanzania, India, Bhutan and Sri Lanka to fulfil the ambitious growth objectives laid out in our three year strategic plan.|
Mark brings with him 20 years of international tourism experience across two continents and nine countries starting his career as a wildlife and volcano guide in Ecuador and working his way up to senior management roles covering both tour operator and lodge/ship management. Following University in the UK and his work as a guide, Mark joined Abercrombie & Kent as a management trainee, learning all facets of the business during his time at A&K Egypt, before taking on various projects for A&K Uganda, and Tanzania. This was his introduction to the life changing experience of an East African safari - where he handled all operational aspects of many guests from VIPs to large groups. After three years in East Africa he was promoted to General Manager -- Western Cape in South Africa between 1998-2000, before being asked to open a (then) new continent for A&K in terms of the South American Destination Management division. Arriving in Lima with one suitcase in March 2000, Mark oversaw the growth of the DMC business for a decade between 2000 - 2010, opening offices in Peru in 2000, Chile in 2001, Ecuador in 2004 and Argentina in 2005, as well as structuring and then serving as Vice President of the Galapagos Joint Venture from 2006--10, covering the operation of the 48 passenger ship the Eclipse.
Despite a fulfilling and exciting time in South America, the 'call of the wild' was too much to resist, and Mark returned to East Africa in March 2010 as Managing Director of A&K's flagship operations in Kenya and Uganda, overseeing both A&K and Sanctuary Retreats brands in these countries, as well as the extensive vehicle fleet and Sanctuary mobile camping divisions based out of A&K's Nairobi office.
Mark left A&K in late 2012 and embarked on some travels including an overland trip through East and Southern Africa with his wife and two young children. An unashamed 'expert' in family travel following the trip, he was undecided on the new direction his career would take, but his strong track record in the luxury travel industry and his love of fascinating destinations drew him instinctively back into experiential travel.
"Once I had made the decision to return to tourism, out of the many options I was lucky enough to be presented with, I was drawn to &Beyond because I felt it could offer me the personal challenge I was looking for and where I felt my experience could be best utilised. It was the strong service ethic, the over-riding conviction in conservation, and the unrivalled lodge and camp offering across East Africa which attracted me to &Beyond. It also presents me with an opportunity to promote and bring my service vision to new, exciting destinations (for me) such as India, Sri Lanka and Bhutan. &Beyond's guest and guide focused ethos, coupled with the vision and leadership of Joss Kent were an unbeatable combination, and I am both honoured to have the opportunity to work at such an inspiring company as &Beyond, as well as excited to return to the wonderful world of tourism after an extended break. I will be at Indaba in South Africa this coming month, and look forward to seeing you there."