In a unanimous vote of its directors, the Nebraska Tourism Commission fired Kathy McKillip as the state’s tourism director at a May 26th meeting; the move followed the suspension of McKillip earlier in the month. The dismissal of McKillip, who had headed the commission since 2011, came in the wake of a harshly critical state audit which found the commission had failed in its oversight of financial and accountability procedures. The audit found that, under McKillip, the state agency had overspent its ad contract by $4.4 million over three years; paid a speaker $44,000 for an appearance at a tourism conference for just 150 people; and paid $18,000 to move a tourism employee 200 miles.
Maria Whiteman has been appointed managing director for Saga Holidays. She joins the company from Amadeus Consulting, where she served as commercial director. A 25-year veteran of the travel and tourism industry, Whiteman’s resumé includes tenures at Tui UK, Hayes & Jarvis and Stella Travel Services UK.
Edison Rivas has joined JacTravel as a contract manager. He is based in New York City. Rivas, who has 15 years of experience in contract and product management working for U.S.-based receptive tour operators, has worked at AlliedTPro and Tourico Holidays and, just prior to his new position, at GTA.
Zena Hill is stepping down from her post as chairman of TIPTO (Truly Independent Professional Travel Organization) at the end of August. Under Hill’s four-year tenure, the British group has increased its membership from 12 to 20 supplier members, introduced four Supershows and four training days to its range of events, which include road shows for independent travel agents. Tipto has yet to appoint a successor to Hill.
The Maui Visitors and Convention Bureau appointed Carol Clark as its new director of public relations. In her new role, Clark will be responsible for promoting and sustaining Maui as a leisure and business travel destination. She most recently served as communications director for the Maui Region of the Hawaiʻi Health Systems Corporation at the Maui Memorial Medical Center.
Shawn Buckley has been named vice president of marketing, communications and tourism at the Albuquerque CVB. He joins the bureau from SkyTrail Sales & Marketing, where he served eight years. Prior to that, he was executive director of the Sheridan (Wyo.) Bureau of Travel & Tourism.