TO PROVIDE delegates an informative update on the developments in the Asean tourism and opportunities for North Luzon, the Pampanga Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc. (PamCham) has invited world-renowned Malaysian businessman Tan Sri Tony Fernandes as one of the notable speakers for the upcoming 27th North Luzon Area Business Conference (NLABC) to commence this May 17 at the LausGroup Event Centre in City Of San Fernando.
Fernandes is the co-founder of AirAsia, a pioneering low-cost airline in the region with the tagline "Now everyone can fly.” He rose to prominence by turning the fledgling government-linked commercial airline into a highly successful public-listed company.
He grew the domestic Malaysian carrier into Asia's largest, most successful airline group, with established operations based in Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines as well as India and Japan, servicing a network stretching across Asia, Australia and New Zealand, the Middle East and the US.
Born in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Fernandes, who is part Goan and part Malaccan Portuguese, is the son of the late Dr. Stephen Edward Fernandes, and businesswoman Ena Dorothy Fernandez.
Educated at Epsom College from 1977 to 1983 and then graduated from the London School of Economics in 1987, he worked very briefly with Virgin Atlantic as an auditor, subsequently becoming the financial controller for Richard Branson's Virgin Records in London from 1987 to 1989.
Tony was admitted as Associate Member of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) in 1991 and became Fellow Member in 1996. Upon his return to Malaysia, he became the youngest-ever managing director of Warner Music (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd.
He subsequently became Warner Music Group’s Vice President for Southeast Asia from 1992-2001 before venturing into the airline business.
Fernandes left to pursue his dream of starting a budget no-frills airline, with his vision to democratize air travel and enable everyone to fly.
It inspired him to replicate one of the world's most successful no-frills carriers, Ryanair out of Ireland (which in turn is modelled after Southwest Airlines in the United States). Fernandes reckons that about 50 percent of the travelers on Asia’s budget airlines are first-time flyers. Before AirAsia, he estimates that only six per cent of Malaysians had ever travelled in a plane.
In 2007, the innovative business prime mover has again created a "first" in Asia by starting a hotel chain, Tune Hotels, which is based on the no-frills concept. The first Tune Hotel was opened at the intersection of Jalan Sultan Ismail and JalanTuanku Abdul Rahman in the heart of Kuala Lumpur. Expansions are in the works as more hotels will be opened up throughout Malaysia.
Over the course of his career, Fernandes received numerous awards and accolades. These include the Honor of the Commander of the Order of the British Empire, conferred by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in 2011, and the Commander of the Legion d' Honneur, awarded by the French government for his outstanding contributions towards the economy of France through the aviation industry.
He has also received several awards like the International Herald Tribune Award for the "Visionaries & Leadership Series" for his outstanding work in AirAsia and "Malaysian CEO of the Year 2003" in December 2003,a highly acclaimed recognition by American Express and Business Times, so far awarded to only nine other recipients in the country. The award was an initiative to recognize entrepreneurial and managerial expertise and performance among leaders of Malaysian corporations.
Fernandes was also named “Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year" in the Ernst & Young "Entrepreneur Of The Year Awards" in 2003; Made the list of Business Week's "25 Stars of Asia" in 2005; "Malaysian Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2006”.
During the conference, the business leader recognized as one of TIME Magazine’s “100 Most Influential People in the World” in 2015, is expected to focus on talks highlighting tourism as a major catalyst to countryside economic progress.
He will also highlight tourism’s major benefit to micro and small enterprises in a major way, as he aims to broaden the participants’ perspective of the impact of tourism at the local, regional, and global level and their accompanying challenges and opportunities.
Fernandes will be joined by other resource speakers namely Department of Public Works and Highways USec. Dr. Maria Catalina Cabral, PhD, top Filipino economist Dr. Bernie Villegas, BLGD-DILG Director Anna Liza Bonagua, PPP Specialist lawyer Jesus Doqu IV, DA RED Engr. Roy Abaya, Agriman Enterprise Co. Inc. President Danilo Sanchez, The AsiaFood Group’s Richard Sanz, Philfoodex president Roberto Amores, and DOST’s Chief of Investment and Business Operations Engr. Jovito Gonzales during the three-day event.