Tony Williams is Senior Vice President - Resorts and Projects; overseeing the development and operations of Emirates' Hotels & Resorts division.
Joining Emirates in 1997, Tony was responsible for the development and on-schedule opening of Al Maha Desert Resort & Spa in 1999, along with the establishment of its surrounding wildlife reserve, introducing a new hospitality concept to the region.
Receiving its first international award in 2000 - Conde Nast Readers’ Travel Award as Best Hotel in Africa and Middle East, this property has since enjoyed sustained recognition for its services and hospitality, and in particular has become one of the worlds' most recognised sustainable development models and environmentally protective designs, with its adherence to architectural principles, and its enormous contribution to regional conservation.
Since 2004, then as Vice President, Tony set up the expansion of Emirates Hotels & Resorts, which now has an investment portfolio totalling nearly USD 500 million in Dubai, Australia and the Seychelles. Recently promoted to Senior Vice President, Tony is now responsible for new hotel designs and development, as well as the operations of the divisions' three Dubai properties.
Tony also serves on The Dubai Conservation Board, an independent governmental board under the Chairmanship of His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, overseeing the operations of the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve, the region’s first declared National Park, and one of the largest Protected Areas recognised by The United Nations Environment Programme.
A post-graduate in Sciences and Education, Tony moved into commercial tourism and hospitality in 1983, joining MalaMala Game Reserve in South Africa. He was subsequently promoted to manage other luxury lodges, where he met and hosted many leading personalities.
Working as an independent consultant from 1987-1990, Tony advised governments, national parks and tourism developers involved in setting up wildlife reserves, safari lodges and conservation areas in remote regions – most notably Botswana’s Okavango Delta, Namibia and South Africa, all recognised world players in the world of conservation, tourism and luxury lodge development.
After this period, Tony became Marketing and Sales Manager at Mashatu Game Reserve in Botswana, on its acquisition by MalaMala; and thereafter was appointed by the owners of Fancourt Hotel and Country Club, Tony set up sales offices and acted as General Manager of the hotel, taking over from Orient Express Hotels.
Tony’s last assignment in South Africa - as General Manager for Zululand Nyala – was the development of an ambitious commercial venture combining private commercial lodge developers, National Parks and Tribal Trust Lands.