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