Gillian Saunders
Special Advisor to South African Minister of Tourism

Gillian Saunders is Special Advisor to the Tourism Minister; Minister Hanekom.

Until recently she was Deputy CEO of Audit Tax and Advisory Firm, Grant Thornton in Johannesburg, and head of their Advisory Services in South Africa. Gillian has a long track record, of more than 30 years in her specialty: consulting to the hospitality, tourism and leisure industries.

In 2012 Gillian was appointed Global Sector Leader, Hotels and Tourism for Grant Thornton and she led a team of experts in various fields related to the industry from over 25 countries. Gillian has consulted extensively in all aspects of these industries for the public and private sector throughout Africa.

Prior to consulting she worked in the industry in Europe and South Africa, with stints with  EUREST (a contract catering subsidiary of Nestle and Wagon Lits), in France, and with Sheraton in Germany and Switzerland, before joining the Southern Sun Group in South Africa in 1982.

Gillian is the author of a number of articles and a regular commentator in the media, particularly on mega events.

She is a member (and previous chairperson) of the board of the University of Johannesburg’s Kerzner School of Tourism and Hospitality and is passionate about education and education in the Hospitality and Tourism sector.

Gillian was recently honoured with a President’s Award from the Chef’s Association of South Africa for making an incredible, far-reaching impact on South Africa’s culinary, hospitality and tourism industries over more than 25 years.