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Changes affecting cultural exchange: Where the industry was challenged and what solutions it foundi

Fazil Mammadov – StudyZONE | Doug Waxman – International TEFL Academy | Michael Roberge – RM Consulting | Joanna Burnet – Visitoz | Annabelle Franco – CareMed International Travel Insurance
WETM-IAC 2018 Seville
2017 brought changes to different segments, destinations and markets within cultural exchange and 2018 will surely bring more. Could the industry have been better prepared for surprises like the shut down of US embassies in Turkey or changes to working holiday visa regulations in Australia? Join your industry peers to learn how they dealt with some of the challenges of 2017 and how their learnings have informed their 2018 strategies. Panellists will also discuss current issues, such as how operational standards will be affected by the EU’s new data protection policies and how providers are altering their strategies and practices amidst a challenging political climate.


Fazil Mammadov

Fazil Mammadov, Business Development Director at StudyZONE, is originally from Azerbaijan, and has personally experienced cultural exchange programmes in the US, first as a High School Year student in the state of Iowa, and then twice as a Summer Work and Travel participant.

To continue his international experience, he moved to Turkey to complete his university studies, and has been working with the cultural exchange and study abroad programmes for over 10 years.

He is currently a Business Development Director at StudyZONE which sends over 800 participants every year on summer work and travel programmes only.

Doug Waxman

Doug Waxman is the Director of Business Development at International TEFL Academy, one of the world’s largest TEFL/TESOL training schools for teaching English abroad.  A specialist in the field of TEFL/TESOL Certification, Doug has more than 8 years of experience in international education and he has personally assisted more than 3,000 TEFL students teach professionally in over 80 countries worldwide. Working in sales, marketing, student advising, and training for teaching abroad, Doug is extremely passionate about enabling people from walks of life to experience the world through international education. A Marketing Major at Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business, Doug has also studied International Marketing at the University of Sydney School of Economics and Business and has he has lived, travelled and/or worked on five continents.

Joanna Burnet

Joanna co-founded Visitoz in 1991 on their farm in SE Queensland with her husband Dan. They moved to Australia after his full career as a British Army officer and Diplomat and after 5 years sheep farming in the highlands of Scotland. Joanna has organised opportunities for young people all her life, particularly with pony clubs and snow skiing. Visitoz started soon after they arrived in Australia and has been growing ever since. Dan died in 2013. Joanna continues to be very active in all aspects of running and marketing Visitoz. Joanna is well known throughout the working holiday industry. She has served on a number of advisory boards and committees including Adventure Queensland and BYTAP – the Backpacker Youth Tourism Advisory Panel. ​

Annabelle Franco

After a few years’ experience in the education area as a teacher and in the pharmacy industry as a Marketing Manager for Belgium, France, Germany, Portugal and Spain, Annabelle Franco integrated the insurance world working for Mondial Assistance (Allianz Global Assistance) and as European Project Manager and Sales Director Germany, before she successfully combined education and insurance joining CareMed International Insurance for Educational Travel 8 years ago. She likes mentioning her intercultural background and feels as a world citizen. She has written a few articles about programmes and insurance for specific magazines related to youth travel and literature. She is also illustrator of two children’s books and co-design of the CareMed animation videos.