Executive Editor Imtiaz Muqbil
Imtiaz Muqbil is one of the longest serving travel-trade journalists in the Asia Pacific.
- Born in February 1956 in Mumbai, India, he studied at St Peter’s High, a boarding school in the scenic Indian hill-station of Panchgani.
- Holds a Diploma from the London School of Journalism.
- Started career in Kuwait with local English-language newspapers Kuwait Times, Arab Times and Daily News. Simultaneously, did freelance work as a stringer for Middle East Economic Digest, Reuters, Newsweek, McGraw-Hill World News, and PetroMoney Report (a Financial Times newsletter).
- Moved to Bangkok in November 1978, and joined the Bangkok Post, a local English-languge daily, as a sub-editor/writer.
- Began stringing for Travel Trade Gazette Asia in 1980 and joined full-time in 1981. Has covered the Asia-Pacific travel & tourism industry full-time since 1981, watching it go through numerous ups and downs from its fledgling start-up days to the giant it is today.
- Worked as Thailand Bureau Chief and Chief Correspondent, TTG Asia, PATA Travel News and associated publications (1981-1992)
- Edited Issues & Trends, the monthly publication of the Strategic Intelligence Centre, PATA, between 1998-2006.
- Wrote a weekly column, “Travel Monitor”, in the Bangkok Post between July 1992 – July 2012.
- Has covered dozens of global travel trade shows (ASEAN Tourism Forum, Mekong Tourism Forum, PATA Travel Mart, World Travel Market, ITB Berlin, Arabian Travel Mart, Travel Indonesia & Mart Expo, Australian Travel Exchange, etc).
- Has covered dozens of travel industry summits, annual general meetings and conferences (PATA, World Travel & Tourism Council, UN World Tourism Organisation, International Air Transport Association, International Hotels & Restaurants Association, United Federation of Travel Agents Associations, International Hotel Investment Forum)
- Is fluent in English, Urdu and Hindi and conversant to various levels in Thai and some Arabic.
- Now a naturalised Thai citizen. Married to Rosni Muqbil. Has two children, Mishari and Sana, and two grandchildren, Cyrus and Dilan.
- 1997 PATA award for “Journalistic Contributions to the Travel Industry”
- 2005 PATA Journalism award for coverage of the tsunami disaster
The only travel industry journalist to:
- Regularly cover high-level meetings at the Bangkok-based UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, World Social Forums, Asian Development Bank meetings;
- Broaden the depth and breadth of the industry debate to include “contrarian” perspectives, viz, the negative side of globalisation, the influence of geopolitics on travel trends, etc.
- Question party-lines, challenge conventional wisdoms, and raise inconvenient truths;
- First to launch an email newsletter, Travel Impact Newswire, in August 1998 when the era of email news delivery dawned.
- Cover the Thai tourism industry intensively in the 1980s, including such major events and developments as the Visit Thailand Year 1987, the outbreak of the AIDS pandemic, the formative years of ASEAN tourism, the aftermath of the Asian economic crisis, the rise and fall of PATA as an association.
- Cover the historic growth of the greater Mekong subregion since its heydays when tourism development first began to be financed and organised by groupings like the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, and the Asian Development Bank, PATA and the UNWTO.
- First Asian editor/researcher/writer of PATA’s Strategic Intelligence Centre publication Issues & Trends, (Jan 1998 – Sept 2006). This appointment followed PATA’s move from San Francisco to Bangkok in 1998, when it was felt that the story of Asia’s rise as a tourism force could best be told by an indigenous Asian travel industry journalist. That tenure saw the publication produce some cutting-edge research, including a number of “counter-trends” with forecasts that went against the grain in questioning conventional wisdom about the directions of travel & tourism.
- First to launch communicators courses for the Thai travel & tourism industry. In the 1980s, Imtiaz Muqbil initiated a training course to help the region’s public relations and communications professionals boost the quality of their media-relations material. The course was conducted in cooperation with the Thailand Convention Promotion Association (now known as the Thailand Incentive & Convention Association).
Imtiaz Muqbil is also the only Asian travel industry journalist to cover:
- The Fourth World Social Forum in Mumbai in January 2004 and the Sixth World Social Forum in Karachi in March 2006.
- Two Asian Media Summits in 2006 and 2007.
- Islamic tourism ministers conference in Baku, Azerbaijan, in September 2006.
- Indian International Film Academy Awards in Bangkok in June 2008.
- In March 2009, the ITB Convention, held alongside the ITB Berlin, held its first Indigenous Tourism Day, which was organised and moderated by Imtiaz Muqbil. The panel was designed to highlight the role of Indigenous Peoples in global tourism.
- In 2009, Imtiaz Muqbil became the first Asia-Pacific travel industry journalist to run dispatches highlighting the linkages between travel & tourism and the U.N. Millennium Development Goals. Sponsored by Amadeus, these were the first dispatches of their kind by any global travel publication.
- Imtiaz Muqbil is the only travel industry journalist to have covered the UN Climate Change Conference in Bali, December 2008, one of the subsequent rounds of negotiations in Bangkok in October 2009 and the final Climate Change summit in Copenhagen in December 2009.