Who Says You Can’t Go Home Again? Gerrit De Vos has joined AmericanTours International as vice president of business development. He left his position as vice president of business development for Bonotel Exclusive Travel, where he had served for 10 years. A veteran of nearly 20 years in the tour and travel industry, De Vos had previously served for companies such as Fexco Al Travel and AlliedTPro. Originally from Belgium, he began his career at ATI many years ago. He will report directly to Nick Hentschel, who has been promoted to chief operating officer.
Lauren Volcheff Atlass has been appointed the HotelBeds Group’s regional director of wholesale sales for the whole of the Americas, reporting directly to Sam Turner, the wholesale sales & sourcing director with global responsibility. In this role, she will be responsible for managing relationships and driving growth with wholesale clients, including tour operators, airlines, points redemption schemes, online travel agents, and re-sellers. Previously, Atlass had served for 10 years with Tourico Holidays, which was acquired by Hotelbeds last year.
HotelBeds has additionally confirmed the regional management positions that will report into Atlass: Deborah Kenton will be the regional manager for North America – East; Sevil Arnavutoglu Le will cover North America–West; Emmanuel Labstida has been appointed to Central Latin America; and Alexandre Vanzella for Latin America – South, all as regional managers.
Jane Chang has taken on the position of vice president West Coast, for Amerilink. She is responsible for the company’s Pasadena office. A well-known tour and travel industry veteran, “Mama Jane,” as she is known by her colleagues, previously served as global account director-Asian Market, for Millennium Hotels and Resorts. Chang’s resume also includes tenures as general manager of the Hartford Hotel in Rosemead, California and as a senior sales executive Best Western Hotels and Resorts.
The Travel Corporation and Destination America has announced that Richard Launder, who has served as president of TTC USA for the past 14 years, will pursue a new opportunity within The Travel Corporation as president and CEO of Destination America beginning this month. Destination America is a DMC in North, Central and South America that provides ground services for TTC brands Trafalgar, Insight Vacations, Luxury Gold and CostSaver. A 35-year veteran of the tour and travel industry Launder started his career travel in 1983 as a bartender at Contiki’s Chateau near Lyon, France. He eventually was promoted to head up Contiki USA for many years. In the late 1990s, he became president of Discover America for four years, and then was promoted again to become president of The Travel Corporation USA in 2005.
Jolanda Nazario has been named vice president of sales at Bonotel Exclusive Travel. She joins the company from the Mark Travel Corporation, where she had been director of business development. Previously, she held several senior management positions at GTA/Travel Bound.
Denise Trupe has been named vice-president of marketing at APEX Touring, a Lancaster, Pa.-based national tour company providing both Broadway productions and tour management across the U.S. and Canada. She joins APEX following a 31-year run with the Prather Entertainment Group, whose brands include the Dutch Apple Dinner Theatre in Lancaster, Pa. and the Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre in Fort Myers, Fla.
G Touring has announced two appointments for its Travelsphere and Just You brands—both sell North America product in the UK: Julius Mills has been named aviation director while Sharon McBride has taken on the role of people and culture partner. The company said in a statement that the appointments would support trade partners and travelers. Mills’ travel career started as resort rep before moving into UK flight operation with Crystal Holidays, Jetsave and Tui. He has since held aviation and commercial roles with the Cosmos Group, becoming head of commercial while retaining his aviation role. McBride joins from the John Lewis department store business.
Veteran travel and tourism pro Afra Davis has joined the Travel Brands team as business development Manager for British Columbia, taking over for Tracy Poole. Davis’s extensive career has included working directly with both the wholesale and retail travel sectors in Canada. She has worked for airlines and tour operators, including nine years with WestJet Vacations and more recently the Las Vegas Convention and Visitor Authority.
Avianca Brasil has announced that Thais Skitnevsky Grinberg has taken over as marketing director for the company. Grinberg, who will continue to lead the company’s business and marketing directorate of the Amigo Program, the company’s loyalty program, will be responsible for strengthening the synergy between the two brands, ensuring the strategic alignment and efficiency of operations. A veteran of 20 years in the tour and travel industry, Grinberg has held leadership positions in companies such as Credicard, Orbitall, Amcham, Citibank, Stelo and Banco Safra. Her areas of expertise include, mainly, commercial and sales, trade marketing, digital marketing and relationship with stakeholders.
In the UK, Yvonne Hobden (left) has been hired as the new Head of Marketing for Flight Centre, while Liz Cairns (right) has been promoted to the role of head of partnerships, where she will be responsible for the company’s relationships with partners and the primary point of contact for tourist boards, airlines and land suppliers. Hobden is an award-winning marketing leader with extensive experience across retail, tech and telco sectors—having previously worked for HP Inc. UK and EE. Cairns has been with Flight Centre for eight years and has 14 years’ experience in the tour and travel industry. Flight Centre has 80 stores in the UK and Ireland and 2,500 globally.
Simon Garrido has left Attraction World as head of sales, along with another two members of the attractions and entertainment ticket sales operation. The other two are national account manager Tracey Bartlam and key account manager Amanda Schofield. Schofield has become a key account manager role with Bedsonline. Attraction World embarked on a staffing review last month before entering into consultation (the stage before someone is formally laid off) with a number of employees.
Ben Briggs has been named senior marketing manager–distribution, for Abercrombie and Kent. Briggs, who joins the company from Wendy Wu, will manage a team of five, and have a variety of specialisms including PR, brand partnerships, social media and digital. Abercrombie and Kent has realigned various aspects of the business in 2018 to work more strategically, with the creation of specialist programs for each of its key divisions: tailor-made, escorted tours, villas, ski, beach and private clients.
Lucy Steffens for 35 years at the Sacramento Convention & Visitors Bureau
Shane Lauler for 22 years at Starr Tours
Laurel Bennett for 17 years at the Nashville Convention & Visitors Bureau
Yesenia Jimenez for 12 years at GTA
Gisel Vidals for 4 years at Big Bus Tours
Amir Eylon for 3 years at Longwoods International