Elif Balcı Fisunoğlu, Skålleague of the Month - January'22


Dr. Elif Balcı Fisunoğlu

Skålleague of the Month - January'22

Skål International Istanbul, Turkey

Congratulations to Dr. Elif Balci Fisunoğlu, on her election to represent TGA on the board of Directors of the Affiliate Members of the World Tourism Organization.

Elif’s career in the tourism, travel, hospitality, meetings, and destination marketing industry spans more than 25 years, specializing in tourism product development and destination and nation marketing.

A highly regarded advocate for the sustainable development of global tourism with an outstanding reputation, Elif has held a broad spectrum of senior positions in corporate brands, NGOs and DMOs in both Türkiye and Europe.

Since January 2020, she is appointed as the Vice General Manager – Tourism Operations & Development at the Türkiye Tourism Promotion and Development Agency (TGA).

Elif has held senior and managerial positions in diverse organizations across all aspects of the Turkish and European tourism spheres, including fourteen years at Istanbul Convention & Visitors Bureau (ICVB). First in senior sales and marketing positions before serving for four years as General Manager, Elif spearheaded the roll-out of ICVB’s innovative public-private partnership model, which resulted in Istanbul breaking into the top 10 congress destinations in 2010.

Elif also served for two years as Regional Director – Europe at the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) in Amsterdam, Netherlands, where she represented the region’s diverse membership of 580 organizations from 48 countries, from hotels to airlines to DMCs and beyond.

As Regional Director – Europe at ICCA, Elif played a core role in establishing the organization’s partnership with UNWTO, which saw the two entities launch a series of masterclasses to educate tourism professionals and government officials about the benefit of cultivating the national meetings industry. 

The partnership indicates that international intergovernmental organizations are formally recognizing how business events contribute to worldwide development.

In addition to her former positions, she has held several volunteer and board positions at international industry associations such as European Cities Marketing, ICCA, Global Destination Sustainability Advisory Board, MPI- Meeting Professional International and Skål International Istanbul.

Elif holds a PhD in Public Relations and Promotion from Istanbul University and has been awarded the 2019 Ace of MICE Outstanding Service Award in Türkiye and Conventa Ambassador Award in 2019 alongside a range of other industry accolades.

The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), a United Nations Agency and the leading international organization in the field of tourism, has completed appointments to its Board of Directors of Affiliate Members for the 2022-2025 period. Commissioned by UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili, the Türkiye Tourism Promotion and Development Agency (TGA) joins the Board of Directors of Affiliate Members and Dr. Elif Balcı Fisunoğlu will represent the TGA on the Board during the 2022-2025 period.

She is an active member of Skål International Istanbul since 2002 and served as Board Member from 2012-2018.