Rossi Ralenkotter has confirmed reports that he will be retiring as CEO of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. In making the confirmation, he gave no specific date. Ralenkotter has been with the CVA for nearly 45 years.
Eric Thomas, a long-time veteran of the receptive tour operator industry in the U.S. who most recently has operated his own tour company in New York, has joined Orlando-based GM Solution travel, a firm that specializes in groups and, in particular, the quinceañera market. Thomas, who will remain in the New York area, will be responsible for business development and industry relations as the company plans to grow its presence and expand into other U.S. destinations. Thomas was for many years a part of City Tours, a northern New Jersey RTO founded by his father and now headed by his brother Ray.
Marcela Andreta has announced that she is leaving Prime Consolidadora, where she worked for two years, to join the LTM Group in Alphaville. She notes that there are five companies under the umbrella of LTM, and that she will be in the marketing and products department of LTM Viagens.”
Rolf-Dieter Malzahn, managing director of DER Touristik-Marken in Cologne, has left the company at his own request in order to devote himself to new professional tasks. Maltzahn, a former TUI manager, spent a total of 10 years at DER Touristik, including four years in the company’s management. In 2014, he was appointed managing director of then-DER Touristik Köln, which last year—along with the branch in Frankfurt—became today’s DER Touristik Deutschland.
The tour operator FTI Voyages, a French subsidiary of FTI Group, has announced the appointment of Franck Gomes as group sales manager. His mission will be to double group sales next year. Formerly with MSC Cruises, Marsans, Look Voyages and Jet Tours, Gomes will report to Axel Mazerolles, general manager.
Bennish Brown, president and CEO of Travel Tacoma + Pierce County, has been named president and CEO of the Augusta CVB. He succeeds Barry White, who left the post earlier this year to head up the Chattanooga CVB. Before joining the Travel Tacoma + Pierce County, Brown was executive director of the Rock Hill/York County CVB in Rock Hill, South Carolina.
Bill Fitzgerald has been appointed vice president of marketing and communications for the Little Rock CVB. A 30-year veteran in the advertising and marketing industry, Fitzgerald’s resume includes tenures as creative director for Thoma Thoma in Little Rock; CJRW, where he worked on creative efforts for the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism; and Heifer International.
In Mexico, Sylvia Esquivel has been named to head up Viajes Palacio. She takes over from Gustavo Cantu, who had held the position for less than a year after he succeeded Luis Torres who had the position for 15 years. A veteran of more than 25 years in the tour and travel industry, Esquivel comes to the new post from Almundo.com, where she served as country manager of Mexico for just over three years.
Happy Work Anniversaries to:
John A. Cooper for 11 years at Yakima Valley Tourism
David Jackson for 11 years at the Pocono Mountains CVB
Greg Purdy for 4 years at the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway
Tony JIN for one year at CAISSA Touristic Group