National Day Panelists Biographies – Panel 1

Mr. Ali Bilir graduated from Anadolu University, Department of Business Administration and completed his MBA in Business Administration. He completed his Master’s Degree in Applied Psychology at the Üsküdar University Institute of Social Sciences with a thesis on “Psychological Well-Being in Adults”. He started his career at the Ottoman Bank. He worked in the banking sector for ten years, in Sümerbank and Anadolubank respectively. He served as the Deputy Mayor of Beykoz and as a parliament member in the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality. His books titled as “Geçmişten Günümüze Görele (From Past to Present: Görele)”(2001), “Çeşmi Bülbüle Gizlenmiş Ab-ı Hayat Beykoz” (2008) in the field of urban history and “Başka Yerler Farklı Mekanlar Geziyorum (Traveling to Other Places, Different Spaces)” were published. Ali Bilir was shown among the Istanbul 100 authors in 2010, and his articles, primarily his travel memoirs are published in many magazines, newspapers and internet sites.  He served as a founding member, board member and chairman of various NGOs. Continuing his career in the tourism sector, Bilir has been serving as Executive Board Member at TÜRSAB (Association of Turkish Travel Agencies).

Ms. Funda Eratici completed her B.S. Degree in Tourism and Hotel Management at the Bilkent University. She started her career in hotels at Ankara Hilton in 1994. In 2005 Ms. Eratici continued her career as a sales manager for Conrad Istanbul, Hilton Istanbul and Hilton ParkSA collectively and promoted to become Director of Business Development in Hilton Warsaw. Later on in her career in 2009 ; Ms. Eratici became the Regional Director of Sales for Hilton Hotels in Eastern Europe, Russia, Israel and Turkey. Having 25 years of experience in creating and managing sales teams and sales strategies Funda Eratici currently holds the title of Regional Director of Sales Operations Turkey and Sales Operation Lead Focused Service – Europe, Middle East and Africa.


Mr. Erhan Kaya is an entrepreneur minded Business Development and Marketing professional with a passion for internet and technology. He builds market position by locating, developing, defining, negotiating, and closing business relationships. Plus he has experience in the company start-up from scratch, product management, online marketing, yield management, social media, SEO, SEM, blogging, building website, graphic design, multimedia production and sales. Currently, he is Vice President of Marketing and Business Development at Hotel Linkage. Hotel Linkage is a leading name within the hospitality industry based in the USA and its R&D office is located in Istanbul, Turkey. Hotel Linkage offers hoteliers a complete solution to maximise its revenue and increase direct bookings, In addition to this Hotel Linkage offer state of the art web design, cutting edge CMS, booking engine and channel manager software. Hotel Linkage’s offering has allowed many hoteliers to grow their business profitability and decrease overall distribution costs. He has built, develop and implemented many successful projects that increase company’s profitability and decrease their costs. In addition to this, he has attended many conferences as a speaker and shared his experience with young minds. Specialities: Market management, social media, SEO, SEM, building website, blogging, a start-up company, sales and marketing, hotel management.

Dr. Salih Kusluvan is Professor of Tourism Management and Head of the Tourism Management Department at Istanbul Medeniyet University, Turkey. He has graduated from Nevsehir Tourism and Hotel Management School, Erciyes University, Kayseri, Turkey. He completed his Ph.D. in Tourism Management at the Scottish Hotel School of Strathclyde University, Glasgow, United Kingdom. His articles have been published in such journals as Tourism Management, Cornell Hospitality Quarterly, International Journal of Tourism Research, Marketing World (in Turkish), Anatolia Tourism Research Journal (in Turkish), and Journal of Travel and Hospitality Management (in Turkish). His edited book titled “Managing Employee Attitudes and Behaviours in the Hospitality and Tourism Industry” has been published by Nova Science Publishers in New York, USA. He is on the editorial board of the International Journal of Hospitality Management and International Review of Management and Marketing. He has received several research awards from the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey. He serves as a panel reviewer and evaluator of projects for Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey. He was the head of the Service Sector Commission for the Turkish National Qualifications Framework for Higher Education. He is an external evaluator of Higher Education Institutions on the Board of the Higher Education Quality Council in Turkey. He also serves as an external expert for Turkish National Agency for Erasmus+ projects and he has some experience of managing Erasmus+ projects. He is one of the external experts for accreting tourism-related programs in higher education institutions in Turkey. His wide range research and teaching interests include marketing, tourism marketing, human resource management in tourism and development and tourism.

Mr. Murat Toktaş who is the general coordinator of North Point Hotels. He is founder/president of KATİD (Black Sea Association of Tourism Operators), founder/president of SKAL-Black Sea, founder/vice president of TUROYD (Tourism and Hotel Managers Society), board members of TUROFED (Turkey Hoteliers Federation). He also writes articles in many magazines and newspapers related to hospitality and tourism.