Who’s Left at Visit Florida that knows Jack about Tourism Marketing?
It came out after the Florida legislature—called together in a special session by Gov. Rick Scott, who had earlier vetoed a bill that would have decimated the budget of Visit Florida—approved a $76 million measure funding the state tourism promotion agency at its current level for another year that two more senior officials had taken their leave of Visit Florida.
The latest and, possibly the last senior official to go was Alfredo Gonzalez, the organization’s vice president of global meetings and trade, who officially quit his job effective July 7. His $179,313 salary made him the highest-paid employee at the agency, which now has a number of strict budget control measures in place. Gonzalez, a former long-time official with the Greater Fort Lauderdale CVB, left the state in in 2013 for a brief stint of less than two years with Brand USA in Washington, D.C. as senior vice president of global partnership development before returning to Florida (and Visit Florida) in January 2015.
The announcement of the Gonzalez resignation followed by a few days that of International Marketing Program Director Shari Bailey, who worked for Gonzalez. It looks as if the departure of Gonzalez and Bailey should bring to a close an exodus of senior-level staff at Visit Florida that, depending on when the count started, numbers more than 15 individuals.
It all began with the forced resignation of Will Seccombe, who was ousted last December from his position as president and CEO of the public-private sector organization over an expired $1 million dollar contract with a globally known rapper, Pitbull, whose video on behalf of the state has generated 10.9 million YouTube views of a flashy performance celebrating the state’s beaches.
Seccombe was not the only December victim of the episode. Before he resigned, he had to terminate two senior agency officials—Vangie Fields, chief financial and operating officer; and Chief Marketing Officer Paul Phipps—who had the misfortune to be associated with the Pitbull contract and the organization’s refusal to make it public. Earlier in the day on which the three agency leaders were let go, state legislators had eliminated funding for the jobs of Phipps and Fields.
By mid-January, there was a new president and CEO of Visit Florida—Ken Lawson, a native Floridian who has no background in the travel and tourism industry, but whose resume has a tenure as U.S. Marine Corps Judge Advocate General, and who had spent 12 years in public service in numerous regulatory positions, including nearly six years as Secretary of the Florida’s Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR).
There followed for five months a highly publicized tug-of-war between Gov. Scott and state legislators, who wanted to cut the state budget by two-thirds from $76 million to $25 million. Scott vetoed the $25 million funding bill approved by state lawmakers and called them back into a special three-day session where he got a bill that restored the funding level to $76 million—but the measure contained a series of controls in its fine print.
Had Scott allowed the lower budget figure to remain intact, it would have resulted in the layoff of 60 of its 139 employees. As it turned out, nine employees resigned up to the last day of the special session, when legislators had agreed to provide the full $76 million the agency had requested. Six employees, including Gonzalez and Bailey, left after legislators signed the amended budget.
As if the budget drama and mass resignations were not enough, during a June 25 meeting of the Visit Florida board of directors, Nelson Mongiovi, acting chief marketing officer, said that a reorganization of the agency would take place in the next 45 days.
Find Qualified Receptives Who Speak Your Language
International tour operators looking for a receptive who speaks their language are able to contact them through Receptive Finder®—a feature of Touroperatorland.com—a Free portal sight which contains profiles of more than 100 top receptive tour operators that have been verified and vetted by the NAJ Group, which is the parent company that also publishes the INBOUND Report. Each receptive profile is updated annually and contains number of staff, years in business, regions they cover and types of products they sell.
“No one wants to negotiate with someone that doesn’t understand their language or culture,” said Jake Steinman,” Founder of NAJ Group, the parent company of the INBOUND Report and TOUROPERATORLAND.Com. “There’s just too much that can be lost in translation. The ReceptiveFinder® was created so users can easily search by languages spoken in offices, or by the region they serve.”
Searchable languages include: Chinese, Danish, Dutch, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Italian, Japanese, Norwegian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish and Swedish.
“Receptive operators are critical in the ecosystem that supplies inbound tourism and NAJ is dedicated to helping overseas operators find the right partners,” Steinman explained.
Launched at the recent IPW in Washington, D.C. in the print edition of the TourOperatorLand magazine, the online version is free for travel planners and is a cooperative of over 150 US destinations and suppliers who place their trade content on one site to save time and money for operators searching for product and itinerary ideas. TourOperatorLand also offers an inventory of some 2,000 high resolution photos—royalty free.
Don’t take our word for it: A number of international tour operators stopped by the TourOperatorLand booth at IPW to take a look at the website and its many features. Among them was Tony Carne, general manager, Urban Adventures.
Carne, who is based in Australia, had this to say: https://vimeo.com/221024447
Alibaba Relaunches Travel site as Fliggy to Compete with CTrip
When the Chinese retail giant, Alibaba, launched its online travel platform Alitrip (it grew out of Alibaba’s previously established Taobao travel service) in late 2014, it was taken as a signal that the Alibaba Group was serious about being a competitor in travel industry in China. But Alitrip, as did other, smaller travel start-ups in China, ran into the reality of Ctrip.
Ctrip, already the top online travel agency in China at the time, was in the midst of an expansion mode in which it was acquiring travel companies and making strategic investments—not only in China, but in Asia and elsewhere globally, including the United States. According to an item last July in ChinaMoneyNetwork.com, “Ctrip is now the absolute monopolistic force in online travel in China. One anonymous analyst jokingly describes it as holding a 100 percent market share.”
Against such a force, others have failed, but they did not have the backing of Jack Ma, founder of the Alibaba Group and the richest man in China. In May 2017, Forbes reported that Ma had a net worth of $31.1 billion.
Supported by such considerable resources and a seemingly determined Ma, the decision was made to scrap Alitrip and build a completely new brand with the Alitrip infrastructure—one developed through its own research that would “focus on the millennials raised in the digital age.”
The brand “Alitrip” was ditched and last November, “Fliggy” was launched. Fliggy (or “Feizhu” in Chinese) means “flying piggy”—as tnooz described the moniker, “a rather playful take on the idea of attracting Chinese to discover destinations in other countries.”
Since then, Fliggy officials have been on a mission to grow the brand and its market share. While revenues are steadily increasing, the brand has a way to go before it is as common as “Alibaba” is.
At a show of hands during a presentation by a Fliggy executive at last month’s Amadeus Airline Executive Summit in Dublin, only a small number indicated that they were familiar with the brand.
What Makes Fliggy Different: Wells Zheng, vice president, international air tickets at Fliggy, told the Dublin conference that Fliggy is different than other online travel agencies and metasearch sites because it is not simply a comparison site; rather, it provides “a direct connection between the airline and their customer.”
As reported by tnooz, Zheng said airlines can gather data directly from customers as well as expose their brand: i.e., while Fliggy is trying to “eliminate the information asymmetry,” OTAs “stand between brands and their customers,” Zheng added, explaining that Fliggy’s main–its flagship store—enables brands to operate their own shop but provides them with marketing and data analytics support.
The latter part is appealing to the airlines and other travel suppliers, as they have signed up with Fliggy in impressive numbers.
More about the Pig: How does one come up with a pig as one’s brand image? Labbrand,–it has offices in Shanghai, Singapore, Paris and New York—which describes itself as “the leading China-oriented global brand consultancy,” explains how on its website.
“We reinvented the brand identity of Alitrip and developed the lovable mascot ‘Fliggy’ as well as a comprehensive visual identity system.
“Travel Redefined: Fliggy (previously known as Alitrip) is the OTA brand of Alibaba with focus on the millennials raised in the digital age. By providing diverse, convenient and quality travel related services, Fliggy strives to become the go-to choice for the younger generation when they plan their travels, especially for overseas trips.
“Labbrand stood out in the pitch and was solicited to design the new brand identity for Fliggy. How do we create an impressive and unique brand image that can differentiate in the highly competitive OTA market in China? This was the main question that we asked ourselves.
“The ‘Piggy’ that Flies: ‘Travelling is just like being a pig- we eat, sleep and have fun.’—This is the interpretation of ‘travel’ by the Alibaba team. Based on this concept, our designers worked closely with Alibaba to create a distinct and lively image of ‘Fliggy’—the Flying Piggy.
“Without going the conventional route by giving the piggy wings, we designed the unique element of ‘flying hairs’ to paint a stylistic and dynamic picture of Fliggy flying against the wind. The hairs also create a shape of a lightning, symbolizing the speed and efficiency of Fliggy.
“The Colors of Travel: We identified yellow as the main color for Alibaba’s Fliggy. The Fliggy icon is outlined with a golden band, echoing the color of the lightening. At the same time, it evokes of an inspiring imagery that the travelers are always being embraced by the warm sunshine. The pink nose of Fliggy represents the flushed cheeks of the travelers. The white base is the result of the sunlight’s seven colors combined, pure and simple, just like every traveler’s passion towards the world.”
Hotelbeds Now Selling Big Bus Product—a Boon for Merlin Entertainments …
Hotelbeds Group, which now operates the world’s largest bedbank, has expanded its reach into the transfer and activity business (TAB) with the announcement last week that it is partnering with Big Bus Tours, the world’s largest privately owned operator of open-top sightseeing tours. Following its acquisition late last year by the London-based private equity firm Cinven and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, Hotelbeds has been in an expansion mode. Already the largest bedbank worldwide, five months ago Hotelbeds acquired Tourico Holidays, the world’s third largest bedbank. Then, in April, it purchased GTA, the second-largest. Both Tourico and GTA also have huge TAB inventories. The Hotelbeds-Big Bus announcement also underscores a strategic decision by Big Bus to partner with tour and travel entities in the entertainment and attractions sector. In February of last year, London-headquartered Merlin Entertainments—it is the second-largest theme park and attraction company in the world, behind only Disney—acquired a 15 percent stake in Big Bus, guaranteeing stronger cross-promotion of its products, such as Madame Tussauds and Legoland-related properties.
—Speaking of Madame Tussauds, with last year’s return of the hit movie Ghostbusters, Madame Tussauds New York has brought the cinematic experience to life like never before in a hyper-reality experience using a combination of virtual reality, real-time interactive effects, and a physical set. Clients can suit up and blast their way through a ghost-infested apartment complex with their own proton pack and gun. From the eerie underground tracks of the New York City subway to the basement of a haunted mansion to Ghostbusters Headquarters to the streets of Times Square, customers brace themselves for several spooks and even catch a ride on Ecto-2. For more information, visit: www.madametussauds.com.
—The Museum of the American Revolution, which opened in the heart of historic Philadelphia three months ago, explores the dynamic story of the American Revolution using its rich collection of Revolutionary-era weapons, personal items, letters, diaries, and works of art. Immersive galleries, theater experiences, and recreated historical environments bring to life the events, people, and ideals of our nation’s founding and engage people in the history and continuing relevance of the American Revolution. For more information, visit: www.amrevmuseum.org.
—The Blue Man Group has launching brand-new experiences that bring audiences of all ages deeper into the creative world of the show. Student and youth groups can enjoy new study guides and workshops focused on the music of Blue Man Group, as well as a dive into character and performance. And for corporate and adult groups, a new workshop will help them “think like a Blue Man” and take the ideas and themes from the show to foster creativity and problem-solving in the workplace (and everyday life!). For more information, contact: www.blueman.com/groupsales.
—Paddle the Florida Keys in the moonlight and experience the Florida Keys’ undersea wonders at night with Key West Paddleboard Tours’ Nightboarding™ excursions on standup paddleboards or in two-person, clear-bottom kayak utilizing I-Lumenate’s Night-Ops waterproof LED light bars to light up the water. The 3,000 lumens of white light Night-Ops light bars produce makes for some amazing sights and photos as the ocean floor comes alive at night with creatures you normally don’t see in the daytime. For more information, visit: www.keywestpaddle.com.
Several Receptive Operators Make Travel Weekly’s Top 25 Power List
Last year provided travel companies with enough reasons to report flat or weak performances: a U.S. Presidential election, the vote by Britons to pull the UK out of the European Union and terrorist attacks in different parts of the world, but they did not seem to have a dramatic impact on the companies that make up the new 2017 Travel Weekly Power List, the annual ranking of travel companies with travel sales of $100 million or more. The 2017 list’s rankings are based on 2016 business volume.
—Overall, the list suggests that the travel sector has performed better than the U.S. economy as a whole. For instance, the top three companies on the list of 59 travel companies (Expedia, Priceline Group and American Express Global Business Travel) increased the amount of business they conducted from 2015 to 2016 by 17 percent—from $146.3 billion to $171.6 billion.
—The blurring of the line between B2B, B2C, inbound and outbound is underscored by the prominence of three major U.S.-based agencies of large Japanese companies on the list: JTB Americas (No. 18); H.I.S. USA (No. 31); and Kintetsu International Express (No. 41). Together, these three Japanese companies did more than $2.07 billion in business in the U.S. due to the fact that they all sell outbound to Japan as well as service inbound through their parent companies.
Other observations about the list, as reported by Travel Weekly, include the following:
—While most companies reported year-on-year increases in business, some companies pointed to outside forces as causing declines. For instance, the Appointment Group, headquartered in the UK, reported its global turnover was “adjusted by $25 million due to Brexit, which resulted in significant fluctuations in currency exchange rates over our two largest markets.”
—For the most part, Power List companies signaled optimism through their extensive investments in technology, expansion and people. And to a certain extent, upheaval in global politics and market changes can have a positive impact on travel agencies: As travel gets more complicated, their expertise will be more valuable than ever.
—Both Expedia and Priceline grew without major acquisitions; other Power List entries did grow through acquisition. Corporate Travel Management completed the acquisition of two previous listees: Travizon Group and Montrose Travel. Direct Travel acquired Traveline, which has been on the list in the past.
—Travel Leaders Group made a significant investment in CruCon, which is becoming part of Travel Leaders (although it’s too early to determine how that might affect CruCon’s future on the list).
Smaller companies also grew through acquisition. For example, Christopherson Andavo Travel acquired three nonlisted agencies: Salt Lake Travel Service in Utah, Dynamic Travel in Colorado and CV Humanitarian Travel in Alabama.
—Rovia and Small World Travel are new listees, while Quality Reward Travel returns after a two-year absence.
—Some companies continue to do well by specializing. That includes a couple of agencies that are the subjects of separate profiles. Small World Vacations overwhelmingly sells one brand as its name suggests (that brand is Disney) while Creative Lodging Solutions handles lodging for its clients.
Travel Weekly Power List 2017
* Full time and part time employees
** Full time employees and hosted commission agents
† Travel agency employees (full-time equivalents)
†† Plus 830 independent contractors
ᴬ Plus 135 independent contractors
ᴮ More than 600 independent contractors
ᴰ Full-time employees/hosted agents
ᴱ Plus 276 hosted agents
ᴳ Plus 28 contracted service and support providers
ᴴ Plus 40 commissioned agents
ᴶ Plus 2,323 commissioned agents
ᴸ Plus four part-time employees
Travel Weekly’s Methodology
—To qualify for the Power List, a company had to have a minimum of $100 million in sales in 2016. For purposes of this survey, sales are defined as gross sales of travel products worldwide, whether to consumers or to corporate travelers; the company must be the merchant of record on the transaction from a supplier’s perspective. At least 15 percent of the sales volume must have been generated in the U.S.
—Early this year, the questionnaire was sent to roughly 70 companies that had appeared on the list in previous years; had been in the news because of acquisitions or had grown for other reasons; or had contacted Travel Weekly believing they qualified.
—As has been the case for years, Travel Weekly requested that gross sales volume be certified by a company’s owner, CEO or CFO. In a small number of cases, certification was made by an executive at the vice president level but with financial oversight.
—In one case, BCD Travel, sales totals are based on publicly disclosed information because the company did not respond to the survey.
—Several companies that may have qualified opted not to participate. They include Adtrav and Loyalty Travel; both have appeared on the list in the past.
—While all cooperating listees did certify sales (or made them public), it must be kept in mind that even those numbers are difficult to verify because the great majority of travel sellers are privately held and under no obligation to disclose financial data. Also, there is no commonly accepted standard for calculating sales volume, and there is no clearinghouse in the U.S. that tracks nonairline sales, as ARC does for airline sales.
—Where possible, Travel Weekly sought to confirm accuracy in the figures by referring to other data and to articles published in the past year. We also reviewed responses for consistency and used whatever resources we had at our disposal to ensure accuracy.
—The survey on which these rankings were based also included questions involving sales figures, ARC sales, travel-related subsidiaries, percentage of sales from business and leisure, corporate structure and others.
If you want to compare this year’s list with Travel Weekly’s 2016 Power List, click on:
NEW AIR SERVICE FOR NORTH AMERICA—Air Canada Launches New Mumbai-Toronto Route …
- On July 1, Air Canada launched flights between Toronto Pearson and Mumbai, and will be operating the service over the long route (7.760 miles) four times weekly on its fleet of 787-9s. The carrier already connects Toronto, as well as Vancouver, to Delhi. No other carrier currently links Mumbai to Canada. †
- Hong Kong Airlineslaunched its first route to North America on June 30th with daily service to Vancouver from Hong Kong. The route is already served flown 17 times weekly by Cathay Pacific Airways and daily by Air Canada. †
- LOT Polish Airlinesadded its only long-haul route from Krakowon July 3rd, by launching weekly service on Mondays year-round to Chicago O’Hare. It was a route that was last served in October 2010. T With this launch, it means that LOT Polish Airlines now offers six routes across the Atlantic on 38 weekly flights according to OAG schedules, with it also serving O’Hare, Los Angeles, New York’s JFK and Newark, plus Toronto Pearson from Warsaw. †
- On June 27, Xiamen Airlineslaunched its third USA service connecting its home base of Xiamen with Los Angeles (LAX). The carrier will operate the three times weekly, and it faces no direct competition. The carrier already links Shenzhen with Seattle-Tacoma and Fuzhou with New York JFK. All of these US routes are currently operated with three weekly flights. †
- Condorexpanded its long-haul network on June 21st with the addition of twice-weekly (Wednesdays and Saturdays) flights from Munich to Seattle-Tacoma. Two days later the airline launched another transatlantic route connecting Frankfurtand Pittsburgh. This marks the first time Pittsburgh and Germany have been connected with non-stop service since 2004. Service will be two-times-a-week service for both destinations. Condor faces no competition on either route. †
- Air Canadalaunched a new long-haul connection from Montreal to Tel Aviv on June 22nd. On the new route, Air Canada will go head-to-head with Air Transat, which started serving the sector on June 18th. †
- Next year, low-cost carrier Norwegian will be offering new low-fare transatlantic services to Austin and Chicago from London Gatwick. Austin, Texas will be served with three flights a week and Chicago by four a week from next spring. Single fares start at £239 ($309) to Austin and £179 ($232) to Chicago. The Chicago service starts on March 25, 2018 and Austin two days later.
A note: Air China (20.2 percent) and United Airlines (20.0 percent) have the greatest share of seats in the China-USA market. Chinese airlines currently account for just over 60% of seat capacity between the two countries. †
† Source: anna.aero
For UK Travelers Fear of Terrorism Trumps Trump
One third of Brits have changed their travel plans due to the fear of terrorism, according to a poll of 2,000 British holidaymakers. Released last week, the results of the survey research—it was conducted by World Travel Market—also show the following.
In a separate question, 58 percent of holidaymakers said they believe that there is still a distinct lack of travel advice on where is safe to go and don’t believe there is enough information available.
From Survey Two: Trump is not a factor in Brits’ choice of the most desired destination.
North America tops a list of overseas regions Britons most want to visit despite the “Trump factor.” Almost a quarter of people said that a trip to the U.S. would be their top travel destination if cost was not an issue, according to a new poll by the research and marketing firm Starcom. (The second most desired region was Oceania and Australia followed by Europe, Asia and South America.) Other survey findings:
—Flight delays emerged as the biggest holiday frustration, cited by 53 percent of people, followed by illness, insect bites, sunburn and accommodation transfers.
—The average person goes away twice a year at a cost of £1,347.33 ($1,747.55) representing around 5 percent of the average UK salary.
—But almost a third of consumers (29 percent) do not save up beforehand despite spending £137 billion ($177.7 billion) on holidays a year.
—Those from the UK’s West Midlands are the least daring travelers with almost a third (32 percent) preferring to visit somewhere they have been to before.
—The most adventurous British travelers come from the North East of England and Wales, with 74 percent and 73 percent, respectively, preferring to go somewhere new, followed by those living in Northern Ireland and London.
—At the other end of the scale a small number of respondents (3 percent) admitted they like to take breaks solely so that “they can show off on social media”.
—The research also found the average person has been to 10 countries, with nearly two thirds (63 percent) choosing to go somewhere new over a place previously visited.
—More than half of the 2,000 people surveyed said they go away on holiday to “escape day-to-day life and experience new cultures.”
What Types of Technology Do Travelers Want From Attractions?
A hard-to-top 97 percent of consumers in China want to use futuristic technology when they go shopping in theme parks—this according to research by Omnico, a marketing and research firm hedquartered in Basingstoke, about 50 miles southwest of London.
Other findings from the second Omnico Theme Park Barometer, surveying the expectations of 2,000 consumers from China, Malaysia and Japan who have visited a park within the last two years, include the following:
—More than half (54 percent) of Chinese travelers want to use virtual reality headsets so they can see how they might look wearing clothing or other accessories.
—Thirty-six percent want to use augmented reality software to bring products to life on their smartphones.
—Just 16 percent of Japanese visitors and 31 percent of Malaysians are interested in using Virtual Reality to see what they look like in clothing or merchandise.
—Only 13 percent of Japanese and 16 percent of Malaysians said they wanted to want to use augmented reality software to bring products to life on their smartphones.
—The futuristic retail technology most appealing to Japanese visitors was self-scan kiosks (33 percent), while
—Digital signage was most popular with Malaysians (38 percent).
—When asked what would make visits more convenient, 89 percent of Chinese, 75 percent of Japanese and 61 percent of Malaysian visitors said a personalized smartphone app itinerary was the answer,
—Meanwhile, 71 percent of Chinese, 62 percent of Japanese and 55 percent of Malaysians said that being able to pre-pay for food would make visits more convenient.
—Queuing for rides emerged as the biggest annoyance among all three nationalities (an average 54 percent).
—When they were asked how they want to receive real-time updates and make bookings for rides (or restaurants), 70 percent of Japanese respondents, 66 percent of Chinese and 58 percent of Malaysians said they want to use a park app on their own phone or tablet, reflecting a desire to use technology to avoid queues.
HODGE PODGE: Shifts, Shakeups and Occasional Shaftings in the Tour and Travel Industry
Michael Jacobson has been promoted to the post of senior director, industry relations and political engagement –it is a new position—at the U.S. Travel Association. Previously, he was director, Industry relations and political engagement. Jacobsen has been with US Travel since 2010, joining the organization as manager, political action committee and grassroots advocacy.
Jonathan Sloan has stepped down as chairman of Visit USA for the UK after more than three years.
He made the move is to avoid any perceived conflict of interest following the appointment of Hills Balfour as UK and Ireland representative of Brand USA. Sloan is managing director Hills Balfour.
British Airways head of consumer sales Chris Rankin has become interim chairman while a permanent appointment is sought. Visit USA (UK) is reviewing its current rules governing the qualification criteria to hold a director role, with the aim of discussing these rules before the next annual general meeting on September 28.
Stephanie Nowack, president and CEO of the Tempe Tourism Office is retiring at the end of 2017. Nowack has headed up the organization for more than 18 years. Nowack plans on teaching a sports tourism class at Arizona State University. Before joining the Tempe Tourism Office, she had served tenures for organizations such as the Arizona Bank, Valley of the Sun United Way and Motorola.
In Brazil, the tour operator Visual Turismo has announced that Leandro Horta is its new manager of the company’s Rio de Janeiro branch. He replaces Tiago Barrucho. Previously, Horta worked for eight years for Copa Airlines, where he held the position of sales coordinator in Rio de Janeiro. He has also worked for the Receptive League in southern Brazil and as a commercial manager of Multidestinos, focused on international destinations. Horta will coordinate the Visual sales team in the Rio de Janeiro market.
Ashley Kingman has been promoted to the post of tourism manager at Travel Portland. She had been tourism coordinator for the organization.
Agaxtur Viagens, a Brazilian operator that sells a fair amount of USA product, has a appointed a new sales management professional for as it expands its services in Argentina. With more than 30 years of experience in the local market, Carlos Nuñez will be responsible for the expansion plan of the Leone family company in Argentina.
Marco Guaramonti has joined JacTravel as sales manager for France and Benelux. Previously, he worked for 12 years at Albatravel, where he held the positions of commercial director and then general manager.
Carlson Wagonlit Travel has appointed Vishal Sinha as the new CEO of Carlson Wagonlit Travel India, and will be based in the firm’s head office in Gurgaon. Reporting to Kai Chan, CWT’s president for Asia Pacific, Sinha will be a member of CWT’s Asia Pacific leadership team. He takes over from Geeta Jain, who has moved into a new global role at CWT as strategic program vice president, responsible for driving innovation and business transformation. Sinha has more than 20 years of experience in the travel industry. Most recently, he was the chief operating officer of TUI India.