Government Warns Chinese to Beware of Travel to the U.S.
The reaction to a June 28 advisory posted by the Chinese Embassy in Washington, D.C., warning Chinese visitors to the U.S. of the peril of traveling to America—the danger of robberies, shootings, searches and seizures by U.S. customs agents, natural disasters and telecommunications fraud—caused a considerable amount of hand wringing among members of the tour and travel industry who have steadily ramped up their Chinese marketing efforts over the past 10 years.
Said the advisory: “Public security in the United States is not good. Cases of shootings, robberies, and theft are frequent … travelers in the United States should be alert to their surroundings and suspicious individuals, and avoid going out alone at night.”
While governments routinely post advisories for its citizens traveling abroad—and the Chinese government has issued at least three such cautionary advisories in the past—the timing of the announcement, which came at the same time that the opening shots were fired by the Administration of President Donald Trump in a trade war with China, made it seem as though the travel warning could be interpreted as an “official” governmental travel ban by the travel industry.
As an example of what steps China can take, those who work the market point to last year, when the Chinese government punished South Korea for its decision to continue to go ahead with installation of its U.S.-developed Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD), an anti-ballistic missile defense system by contacting the country’s major travel agencies and giving them verbal instructions to suspend sales of all travel packages, both online and offline, to South Korea. As a result, Chinese travel to South Korea plummeted 40 percent immediately, but has been steadily rebounding despite the fact that major online travel companies such as CTrip, Lvmama and Tuniu still do not offer any South Korean packages. However, the pent up demand by young Chinese shoppers (click here )has resulted in a growing increase. For instance, the number of Chinese travelers visiting South Korea was 428,000 in March, up 16.5 percent from a month earlier, according to the Ministry of Justice. It was up 13 percent from a year ago. It marked the first time in 13 months that the figure topped 400,000. It had peaked at 614,000 in February 2017, just before the sudden decline.
However, according to a survey of the 24 top tour operators and travel agencies conducted by East West Marketing, one of the most prominent representation agencies in China, four days after the alert was issued, none had received any communications from the Chinese governmental agencies. However, nearly all believe that the visa rejection rate will increase for the remainder of 2018. See tables below.
Respondent companies were from four major areas of China: (Beijing) Beijing CITS, Utour, Beijing China Travel, Fancy Tour, Caissa Touristic; (Shanghai) Shanghai Jinjiang Travel, Galaxy Tour Shanghai (two offices), Beijing Fancy Tour Shanghai Office, Shanghai Wanda Travel, Shanghai Spring Travel, Shanghai Ctrip; (Guangzhou) Dista Group, Shenzhen Kingsway Travel, Shenzhen CITS, Guangzhou China Travel, Nanhu International Travel; (Chengdu) Dista Group Chengdu Office, Chongqing Grand Express, Sichuan Shanglv Travel, Champion Holiday, Diamond Travel Alliance.
What Can the Industry Do? Already, some DMOs with in-country representation or offices in China are sending messages—along with research reporting about the relative safety of their destinations—that they are open for business and they welcome everyone. Following, here are some points to be aware in the wake of the Chinese government’s travel advisory:
- Suppliers and destinations should be allaying fears by having their CEOs send out letters to the trade about how safe their destinations (with back up statistics) and how welcoming they are.
- Remember to maintain constant lines of communication and offers for assistance.
- Follow the alerts, news releases and weekly travel reports of the U.S. Travel Association (www.ustravel.org) for information that may not appear in the general news media channels of distribution, but are important to the U.S. travel industry. The same advice stands for information from Brand USA (www.thebrandusa.com), which also has resource material to help the industry fashion its messages for distribution abroad. Both US Travel and Brand USA have data that are useful in your messaging.
- The visa rejection issue is, in some ways, being addressed by Brand USA, which had announced an initiative to train travel companies to help clients complete visa applications; and while a considerable number have been issued 10-year visas, which requires them to update their personal data online every two years.
It’s been INBOUND’s experience that those that have maintained relationships through inbound arrival declines during previous crises such as 9/11, SARS, and the Global Financial Crisis of 2008-09, experienced a profound surge in business driven by pent-up demand, once situations returned to normal.
Big Majority of Canadians May Forego Travel to U.S. Because of Trade War
A new survey reveals that 74 per cent of Canadians are likely to stop traveling to the United States in response to a de facto trade war between launched by U.S. President Donald Trump in the form of trade tariffs and his disdain for NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement.).This and other results of the survey conducted by Nanos Research and commissioned by Canada’s CTV News and The Globe and Mail, came out last week, just as the 2018 peak summer travel season was in full throttle.
Numbers differ when broken down across the country:
—More than 82 per cent of the residents of Quebec say they’ll likely reduce their travel to the United States.
—In the Prairies (the provinces of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta), 58 per cent may change their plans, while 37 per cent are not likely to change their plans.
—What real-time data there are sparse. Before the talk of a trade war developed, Destination Canada reported that Canadian travel to the U.S. was actually up 5.7 percent for the first four months of 2018—to 1.9 million vs. an estimated 18.5 million in 2017. And according to a more recent report from Statistics Canada, Canadian travel to the United States has risen in the first half of 2018, and is now 8.7 per cent higher than it was a year ago. (The first-half increase was a welcome development to tour and travel industry officials in the United States, as preliminary data from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Travel and Tourism Office (NTTO) indicated that the total had crept back up to 20.3 million last year after falling from 23 million in 1914 to 19.3 million in 2016.)
The results came from a Nanos omnibus survey of 1,000 Canadians, taken between June 26 and 28, 2018. Participants were recruited by phone and administered an online survey. The margin of error for a random survey of 1,000 Canadians is +/- 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.
PROFILE: Pat Moscaritolo
Pat Moscaritolo, CEO of the Boston Convention and Visitors Bureau, to Leave after 28 Years—It was Beginning to Look Like a Steady Job: When Patrick Moscaritolo announced recently that he will retire from his post as president and CEO of the Boston Convention and Visitors Bureau on Valentine’s Day next year, completing 28 years to the day on the job, it prompted many of us who’ve observed the Boston brand reach a place of pre-eminence under his tenure: Was there ever anyone else who held the job that represents and sells and markets the brand?
Indeed, among famous Boston brands, Moscaritolo has held his job as president and CEO of the Boston brand longer than Boston’s late Mayor Thomas Menino held his job (1993-2014); longer than the tenures of Boston Celtics NBA Hall of Famers Bill Russell (13 years) and Larry Bird (13 years); longer than the run the legendary Bobby Orr had with the Boston Bruins (10—he also spent two years with another team that will not be named); longer than Tom Brady has been with the NFL’s New England Patriots (17 years); and longer than the World Wide Web has formally existed.
And while Moscaritolo has led his team for a generation, he can’t really be classified as part of an era, or of a specific demographic group. For, a major reason that he has survived—indeed, prospered—as the head of one of the USA’s marquee CVBs, is what he told us near the end of a lengthy interview recently: “About every eight to ten years, Boston re-invents itself.” This means, roughly speaking, that the Boston bureau has experienced nearly three-and-a-half iterations under his leadership.
What follows is INBOUND’s attempt to make coherent the main points that Moscaritolo stressed during our lengthy discussion; through the uploading and review of annual reports, board presentations and numerous e-mail messages that were more briefings than messages; and digressions that ranged from how Richard Branson became a personal friend to jokes about what an economist is, to how he got two baseball legends, Joe Dimaggio and Ted Williams, to autograph the same baseball.
- On Being a Quintessentially Bostonian: Most of the tourism professionals who head up the larger DMOs across the nation are likely professionals who’ve served several destinations. Rare is the bureau CEO who is a true “local.” Moscaritolo is an authentic local.
Born and raised in East Boston, a part of the city that welcomed immigrants from Europe for years, Moscaritolo is from a family with deep roots in the community in which he grew up, including, up the street from the late Tony Conigliaro and his brother Billy—the former was considered a sure bet to set major league home run records until he was hit in the face with a pitch that effectively cut short his career, while Billy went on to win a World Series Championship rings with the Oakland Athletics.
The Moscaritolo family operated a restaurant for some 70 years and a liquor-wine-beer retail store for more than 50 years. Pat earned his way into the prestigious Boston Latin School—founded in 1635, it is older than Harvard— graduating with honors. He then went on to Boston College, where he was a magna cum laude graduate, and then on to the London School of Economics, where he received his Master’s Degree in economics. His professional resume is impressive from the start
He went on to teach for two years at the State University of New York in Albany, then from 1968-1970 and then returned to Boston and worked for Gov. Francis Sargent’s Economic Development Office. He was later part of a consultant team working on economic redevelopment projects. “Probably the simplest way to say it was that I taught political and economic development and political economy at the university level and then went out and did it for six years.” Near the end of the 1970s, Moscaritolo joined the Administration of Gov. Michael Dukakis, and heading up his Federal State Relations Office in Washington, D.C. “The common thread,” he explains, is “economic development teaching, preaching, implementing it at the city level and then at the state level.” So, despite a few short-term tenures elsewhere, he told us, “I’ve been tethered to Boston.”
- It’s always been about economic development: During his time in Washington, D.C., Moscaritolo developed a reputation as an economic data wonk—one who specialized in studying the latest proposal for securing funding for a government grant or project, and translating it into hard numbers. INBOUND’s editor, who first met and crossed paths with Moscaritolo during this period, remembers him as the type of guy who, during day-long meetings where lunch was brought in, took notes on napkins, making funny tables and graphs with arrows going in all sorts of directions—then easily translating them to a roomful of policy wonks.
While still in D.C., he ended up spending time dealing with the U.S. Department of Transportation and the old Civil Aeronautics Board in order to help Logan International Airport get back its London-Boston routes. (This was before there was an Open Skies agreement between the U.S. and the UK; instead, there had been a bilateral treaty which changed that. Boston’s Congressional delegation, which included the then-Speaker of the House, Tip O’Neill, worked to reverse the treaty.)
He then joined The Massachusetts Port Authority, or Massport, as director of Logan International Airport, where he was able to convince different constituencies in Boston of the economic importance of international inbound travel by telling them, “Every time those planes land at Logan, the cash register goes off and the port authority makes lots of money from it.” He was also able to show that the per capita spend of international visitors was higher than domestic travelers.
That message resonated with the Boston Convention and Visitors Bureau when its board of directors went looking in 1990 for someone to succeed its first and only president and CEO—the departing Bob Cumings, who had held the job since 1975.
When board members at the CVB suggested to Moscaritolo that he apply for the job, he eagerly seized the opportunity, for he saw in the move a chance to be the president of a business, albeit in the non-profit sense of the word: “Massport was fabulous. I liked it … but the fact that I could come to the bureau and ‘run my own company’—that’s what it was. It was my desire to run a company that, while not a not for-profit … I could do this, and I saw it as kind of an extension of what I was doing at Logan.”
Because of his success at Logan Airport, making the move to the bureau, he told INBOUND, “was more like a business decision.” To him, “it seemed kind of natural because I had the experience in the aviation world, and in developing the air routes, I think that’s what interested the CVB board in convincing me to apply (for the job) and in selecting me.”
- The rest is history—partially. Here, INBOUND spares you the complete list of accomplishments longer than the Roman Catholic Litany of Saints in which the Boston CVB, under Moscaritolo’s more than two-and-a-half-decades tenure at the top, has led, helped with or promoted. In studying the list, it seems that the two most significant are the expansion of international routes to and from Logan International Airport, now a key reason for the fact that China is now the city’s top overseas source market; and approval and construction of the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center (BCEC). As Moscaritolo puts it, “The BCEC positioned us a top ten city as a convention and meetings destination and changed the image of Boston as a very nice but limited city for conventions and meetings. We went from being viewed as a ‘boutique convention center city’ to being a major player in the convention and tradeshow world.” (Authorized in 1997 and opened in 2004, Trade Showmagazine puts the BCEC in its Top 25 of the largest convention centers in the U.S.)
- Besides economic development, it’s about collaboration. Asked what advice he would give to his successor, Moscaritolo said he would tell that person that it is most important to collaborate and cooperate—within the tourism community and outside of it, and within Boston and outside of it.
One way in which he fosters such collaboration is that he answers his own phone—no third party, no voice prompted message, no recorded menu options. Everyone can (and does) contact him at any time and in any place. This is a daunting challenge at times, as there are more than 60 people on the Boston CVB’s board of directors, and they represent every conceivable sector and sub-sector of the industry—from hotels and restaurants to ground tour operators, the Boston Red Sox, and some of Boston’s universities and industry suppliers.
But it has also enabled Boston’s heterogeneous tourism community to connect those who want to tap into the growing Chinese market through programs that interact with the 21,000 Chinese students who go to school in Boston and elsewhere in the state (“I want every one of them to be a sales person for Boston.”). Moscaritolo’s focus on China, by the way, is another example of how his ability to translate its potential into economic development terms—buttressed by fact-based economic models—is working to re-prioritize overseas marketing emphasis to attract more Chinese visitors who, the spend data tells him, makes it a lucrative market for Boston’s tourism community. As a result, China is now the city’s top overseas market—its number of visitors to Boston has gone from 31,000 in 2007 to 265,000 in 2017, on track to reach Moscaritolo’s goal of 500,000 by 2021.
Similarly, the tourism community realizes that the Boston Red Sox don’t mean just baseball games. The brand and its location also mean special events, tours, tour stops and locations for television and movies that bring visitors.
Collaboration with competitors, too? Of course. Twenty years ago, not long after Mike Gallagher and Mike Morey launched their CityPASS discounted multiple attractions program in San Francisco and Seattle, Moscaritolo got a call from John Marks (from 1987 to 2005, he was president and CEO of the San Francisco CVB—now the San Francisco Travel Association) who told him how great the CityPASS concept was working in San Francisco and Seattle, and how the company would be looking for an East Coast destination in which to launch the product. The result was that Boston was able to get into the program quickly and, along with other early CityPASS destinations, began developing co-op programs that would not have been possible before.
- And most important, it’s about family. For someone who leads the DMO for Boston, Moscaritolo and his wife spend a lot of time in Denver. That’s because they have a son and daughter-in-law and three grandchildren there. Pat and his wife also have a residence in Denver, so they plan on spending even more time in Colorado once Pat exits the CVB. But even if he’s in Denver, he’ll still be tethered to Boston. After all, someone has to be available to explain all those economic models that serve as the basis for so many of the city’s tourism programs.
Hawaii Tourism Authority Says “Aloha” (Translation: “Your Fired”) to its CEO
The Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) has announced that it is terminating its contract with president and CEO George Szigeti. The announcement was made June 28, during an HTA board meeting. A spokesman for the authority said that Szigeti’s contract, which was supposed to last until June 2020, was terminated without cause. Szigeti’s last day will be Oct. 31, after which he will receive a severance package worth of six months of pay.
Apparently, the decision did not exactly come as a surprise to Szigeti, who told news outlets, “I’ve been in discussion with the board and that’s why we mutually agreed upon a termination without cause, and they made a decision today that they want to take another direction, and I respect the board.” he said.
He added, “It’s been a good three-year run with record arrivals, record spending, record tax revenue back to the state, record access back to the state with the seats going from 10.5 to 12 million with new airlines coming in, and the most important thing is record job creation for our local people.”
Another Side of the Story: Although the public statements of both Szigeti and the HTA board members were polite and civil, news accounts brought up the fact that a state audit had criticized spending by HTA executives. And last December, the state Ethics Commission fined several of the authority’s executives, including Szigeti, for failing to report free travel upgrades. He was fined $1,750 for getting courtesy upgrades to business class on Japan Airlines.
The tenure of Szigeti, who took over as head of HTA in May 2015, was filled with some bumpy spots. Within seven months, five positions were eliminated to meet a $1.3 million administrative cap and a brand manager resigned. He also fired the popular Keli’i Wilson, a native Hawaiian, from her position as director of cultural affairs. Wilson had been in the post for nearly 10 years.
Before joining HTA, Szigeti had served as president and CEO of the Hawaiian Lodging and Tourism Association. Previously, he was president and CEO of Hawaii-based Better Brands.
While the record-making outbound travel numbers to the United States over the past decade by Chinese travelers have overshadowed those of neighboring India, the latter has grown steadily and strongly, establishing itself as the Number 9 overseas source market for inbound travel to the USA. Interestingly, the market has been able to achieve this status even though less than 10 percent of air service to the United States from India is non-stop.
This and more information is contained in the most recent report from Brand USA on India Market Trends is rich in detail with facts and figures for U.S. travel suppliers interested in selling product to India, as well as a handy tool for companies already in the market seeking to know more. The INBOUND Report has condensed
India’s Growth Potential—Some Key Numbers:
- 1.3 billion population
- There are more than 60 cities with a million+ population
- It has the fastest growing economy in the world
- It will have the third-largest economy by 2025
- It has the youngest population globally; there are more than 700 million people under the age of 32
- There is regional diversity (North/South/East/West India)
- It has 22 official languages, and English widely spoken
- It has growing middle and affluent classes
Source(s): Brand USA India research; CIA World Fact
Indian Traveler Profile:
- Honeymoon & Couples
- Outdoor / Adventure
- Special Interest – Solo Travel/Culinary/Events
Main Holiday Seasons:
April – July:
- Summer Holidays
- School Vacations
October – November:
- Christmas/New Year
- Winter Holidays
- India’s outbound market estimated to be 50 million by 2020
- Growth in all segments– FIT, special interest & MICE with FIT growing the fastest
- High spenders / growth in affluence
- Millennials– adventure, self drives, sports, events and entertainment
- Baby boomers / solo travelers
Source(s): B2C/B2B surveys in collaboration with travel trade media partners/tour operators/pan India travel trade database; UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO)
Consumer Trends 2:
- Websites & social media rank high as travel influencers
- Shorter duration trips, and willingness to extend duration of a holiday
- Growing demand for free & easy itineraries
- Local experiential
Source(s): B2C/B2B surveys in collaboration with travel trade media partners/ tour operators/pan India travel trade database
- Facebok has largest penetration, with 250 million active users
- Twitter has 40 million users, with 70 percent of them accessing it on mobile
- LinkedIn has passed 42 million-user level, a growth of 40 percent over last two years
- Instagram has 52 million active users
Source : Internet & Mobile Association of India (IAMAI)
Increasing Airline Lift—Only 8.6% from India is non-stop
Most of the traffic between India and the U.S. travels via an intermediate hub— only 8.6 percent of India-U.S. traffic is non-stop.
British Airways (49 Weekly Flights, 26 U.S. cities)
- Lufthansa Airlines (48 Weekly Flights, 18 U.S. cities)
- Jet Airways (147 Weekly Flights, Amsterdam, Paris , London, Abu Dhabi→Delta/ Etihad)
- Virgin Atlantic (7 Weekly Flights, 13 U.S. cities)
- Alitalia (7 Weekly Flights, 5 U.S. Cities)
Directly to USA:
- Air India (33 Weekly Flights, 5 U.S. cities in the USA)
- United Airlines (14 Weekly Flights—Newark)
Source: Booking.com research
Increasing Airline Lift—No. 2
At the Indian end, 50 percent or origin and destination traffic is ticketed to/from Delhi or Mumbai.
Cathay Pacific (48 Weekly Flights, 6 U.S. cities)
Singapore Airlines (99 Weekly Flights, 4 U.S. cities)
Source: Booking.com research
Emirates Airlines (176 Weekly Flights, 11 U.S. cities)
Etihad Airways (172 Weekly Flights, 11 U.S. cities)
Qatar Airways (102 Weekly Flights, 10 U.S. cities)
Turkish Airlines (98 Weekly Flights, 9 U.S. cities)
Source: Booking.com research
- New York
- Washington, D.C.
- San Francisco
- Los Angeles
Source(s): Brand USA India Research
Industry Overview—Distribution System Players:
- Tour Operators who are Pan-India
- Regional Tour Operators
- Online Travel Agencies
- Retail Agents
- Others (TMCs, B2B Agencies)
Working with the Travel Trade:
- It’s an unorganized sector– no licenses required
- Regional companies– aggressive in marketing and advertising
- Major companies– pan India presence, trendsetters
- They prefer working through land operators / DMCs
- Decision makers– senior management / owners for most regional / mid-size companies
- They require multiple quotations
- Limited destination knowledge
- They expect extraordinary requests
- Be prepared to change set program
- There is a diversity of ethnic, linguistic, regional, economic, religious, class and caste groups
- Change in family structure
- They are relationship focused
- They engage in shopping for friends and family
- Ranking in society is important
- Dietary requirements–not all travelers are vegetarian; some enjoy pork or beef
The Market’s Potential:
- It is one of the fastest growing outbound markets
- It has huge depth and potential
- There is an ease in the visa process
- It is culturally similar to USA
- India is the world’s largest democracy– similar ideology, way of working and empathy with the USA
- It is experiencing rising affluence, urbanization and age demographics– there will be a constant mix of first-time and repeat travelers for long-haul traffic
Hip Hop Hooray—Rapper Drake responsible for 5.5% of Toronto’s $8.8 Billion Tourism Economy
Canadian rapper Drake (born Aubrey Drake Graham) is singlehandedly changing the media channels of distribution priorities by which a major destination, Toronto, promotes itself. And in doing so, one study says, he has become responsible for generating about $440 million of the city’s $8.8 billion in annual tourism revenues.
The Toronto-born Drake, who is also a singer, songwriter, record producer, actor, and entrepreneur, initially gained recognition as an actor on the teen drama television series “Degrassi: The Next Generation” in the early 2000s.
His growing audience and popularity has reached the point that, last year, his “More Life” album generated more than a billion streams in a month—from within the United States alone.
In a recent Vice News report, marketing and branding consultant Gordon Hendren said that Drake’s influence is responsible for about 5 percent of the Toronto’s $8.8 billion total annual tourism income. This translates into some $440 million coming into the city, due to the way he serves as a representative for the city, its Toronto Raptors NBA team and various restaurants and clubs around the city.
Said Hendren: “He’s helped to rebrand the city … He’s kind of made himself the same as Toronto.”
For more, click on the link to this Billboard video news report on the subject: https://www.billboard.com/articles/columns/hip-hop/8464298/drake-5-percent-toronto-tourism-economy-expert
At a Glance: Birmingham, Alabama
HODGE PODGE: Shifts, Shakeups and Occasional Shaftings in the Tour and Travel Industry
The resignation of Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens and transition to new Gov. Mike Parson has also resulted in the appointment of Parson’s chief of staff, Ward Franz as the state’s new tourism director. He succeeds Dan Lennon. Franz was executive director of the Ozarks Medical Center Foundation in West Plains from 2012-17 and was previously a state representative from 2004-12.
Eric Garvey, who has headed the Florida’s Space Coast Office of Tourism for 3½ years, is resigning to “pursue new opportunities in the private sector.” Garvey has been executive director of the Space Coast Office of Tourism since November 2014. His resignation takes effect July 31. Before joining the organization, Garvey had served for 14 years at the Jekyll Island Authority in Georgia, lastly as chief communications officer.
Elliott Ferguson, president and CEO of Destination DC, has been nominated to be the next chair of the board of directors of the U.S. Travel Association. Ferguson, currently first vice-chair, will succeed Geof Ballotti, president and CEO of the Wyndham Hotel Group, when the US Travel board of directors votes on the selection at it next spring meeting . Ferguson has served with Destination DC since 2001, first as senior vice president of convention sales and services. He became president and CEO in 2009.
Jay Santos has been named station manager Orlando for the Brazilian airline, GOL Linhas Aéreas Inteligentes. A veteran of more than 25 years in the tour and travel industry, Santos was once vice president, global travel industry sales and marketing, for Visit Orlando, and has served tenures in senior positions with such companies as Hotelbeds, Access USA, ACC Tours and the Trend Group.
Barbara Bowman, tourism division director for Grand Junction, Colorado, has retired. She has been with the organization for 27 years. “On the road and a new path after 27 years with Grand Junction. It was a monumental ride,” she told friends on a Facebook post.
From Brazil, Suncoast USA has announced the hiring of Josy Ribeiro as sales manager. She will be responsible for capturing new business and strategizing with travel agents, helping agents maximize their bottom line and expand their business. A 25-year veteran of the tour and travel industry, Ribeiro holds an MBA in sales management from Universidade Paulista, and accumulates 25 years of experience in sales in the hospitality industry.
Jerry Varnes has joined G2 Travel as destination manager for Florida and the Southeastern region of the U.S. Jerry previously held contracting positions at Hotelbeds, Destinations of the World and American Ring Travel. G2 Travel is a dynamic worldwide wholesale tour operator, specializing in group-only land operations for the B2B travel industry. G2 Travel continues to increase their presence in North America with the opening of their third office located in Toronto, Canada.
In the UK, Gold Medal and Travel 2 has promoted Tricia Birmingham to become the group’s new product and commercial director. Birmingham will take the lead on the companies (both are dnata Travel brands) product and commercial strategy and manage the product and pricing teams across the Gold Medal and Travel 2 offices.
Congratulations to Alfredo Gonzalez, who in June celebrated one year since he struck out on his own to form AG Hospitality Group, a consultation and creative marketing company. Gonzalez was formerly VP Global Meetings and Trade for Visit Florida and Sr. V.P. Global Partnership Development for Brand USA.
He can be reached through: https://www.facebook.com/aghospitality/
Carlson Wagonlit Travel has appointed Niklas Andréen as executive vice president and chief of the Travelers Experience office. He will start in September and will be based in London. He will be responsible for overseeing the worldwide operation of the Traveler Services brand, which will be called Traveler Experience.
Happy Work Anniversaries to:
Judith Harrisfor 27 years with the U.S. Travel Association
JoAnn Petersonfor 13 years at Mountaineer Country Tours
Hanny Flut for 9 years at Target Travel Marketing
Mary Lewis for 3 years at Heart of Virginia Tours and Receptive Services
Z.J. Tong for 2 years at China Pro Marketing Partners