UK: Will this Year’s Summer of Discontent Mean Trouble in 2019?
Reviewing the basic numbers and trends that are fundamental in measuring the strength or weakness of the inbound market from the UK—it is still the number one overseas source market for the United States—one gets the feeling that the tour and travel industry is sliding down a slippery slope just as it approaches that time of the year when brochures are prepared and prices are set for the summer of 2019. In the past two-and-a-half months, the UK travel trade has had to endure five major challenging developments:
- A continued decline in value of the pound sterling against a strong U.S. dollar that has resulted in a nearly 10 percent drop in the past six months. Right now, as we near the end of August, the pound sterling is at or near its lowest point this year vs. the U.S. dollar and the euro. Keep in mind, as you review the following tables, that, three years ago, in August 2015, the pound was trading at or near $1.55 vs. the U.S. dollar and €1.40 vs. the euro.
- A sharp decline in all international travel by Brits during soccer’s month-long (June 14-July 15) World Cup in Russia kept huge numbers of Brits home to watch the competition on TV. What made it certain that Brits would be watching was the presence of England’s team up to the semi-final round before it was eliminated. And then it competed in the playoff for third place on July 14th. The UK holiday season was, in effect, cut short by a month.
- A near disappearance of the “lates”—that is, late or last-minute holiday bookers, who have helped to keep August the number one month in UK outbound travel to North America. The importance of “lates” to the overall outbound travel by Britons to North America (about 90 percent of the traffic goes to the USA) is evident in the table below. During the beginning of this summer, the travel trade in both the UK and Germany, travel sellers were told not to worry—that the “lates” were coming in August. But they did not come.
What is happening to the “lates”? Welcome to the “earlies.” “Lates” are gone, according to one veteran British tour operator, Noel Josephides, chairman of Sunvil, which sells Mediterranean product. In an interview with TTG, Josephides said, “to put it bluntly, there is just too much out there – too much choice, too many flights, too much accommodation – and the public is making full use of the opportunities.
“The no-frills carriers launch with some very low seat rates, and the public now realizes seats can be bought – even in the peak – for very little, so the numbers now booking overseas holidays in this way have increased dramatically.
“We are therefore about to witness the coming of the age of the earlies market, and we all need to understand how to capture it and avoid losing it to the public’s appetite for self-packaging. This despite the total lack of financial protection, or of anyone taking responsibility for serious accidents in-destination, which could cost the holidaymaker dear.
“The entry of the generally unregulated, non-tax-paying American giants like Airbnb, booking.com, Expedia and TripAdvisor into the UK market has enabled the public to self-package to a degree the traditional industry never thought possible.
“If it wasn’t for the cruise market and the growing appetite of the middle classes for long-haul, tailor-made holidays booked well in advance, there would be far more travel agents in financial difficulty.”
- A searing heat wave that kept many Brits home where they visited their own beaches. Most overseas travel by Britons is to short-haul destinations such as Spain, Greece and Cyprus, and involves spending a good deal of their time lying in the sun or splashing in the waters of the Mediterranean. In the UK, it has been the hottest summer in more than 40 years. And so, a significant number of Brits have stayed home and hit the beaches of Britain.
- Intensified anxiety over the formal arrival of Brexit on March 29, 2019. So little progress has been made in reaching agreement with the European Union—the UK voted in June 2016 to exit the EU—on trade and transport issues that there are fears that the UK government will go for a “do nothing” option. This could create havoc at airports in the Eurozone and in the UK. It’s unclear, for instance, if travelers who originated their trip in continental Europe will face delays when connecting in London to the USA (or some other long-haul destination) and/or are unable to get European Commission safety certification to take off.
Reports earlier this month indicate that, by the end of August, the UK government is to release detailed guidance to businesses on how to deal with a “do nothing” option. In the meantime, financial markets are likely to become more skittish in investing in a UK that is no longer a part of a 28-nation trade compact.
To be continued …
People We Love: Fourth in a Series
INBOUND’s editor-in-chief, Jake Steinman, recently had the opportunity to speak with Enzo Perretta, CEO of Teamamerica, one of the largest privately-held receptive tour operators in the eastern United States; it specializes in North American and Caribbean product. Perretta founded the company 21 years ago and jointly operated until not long ago with long-time business partner Veronique Hubert. Following is an excerpt from their conversation. Known for its upscale tours and a multilingual staff (Perretta graduated from the University of Naples with a degree in Oriental Language and Literature, with an emphasis on Arabic), Teamamerica also has a reputation for highly personalized customer service. Following are excerpts from the conversation between Steinman and Perretta.
INBOUND: You recently bought out Veronique Hubert, your longtime partner. What drove that sale?
Perretta: We have been great friends and partners for over 20 years; however, our lives took different courses, Veronique started a new life recently—got married and had a wonderful baby—so, she decided that was time to dedicate her life to her new family. I treasured the years we spent together and the “American Dream” that we lived over these years, she is family to me.
Before Teamamerica, I had already started about two years prior a transportation and sightseeing company, VOLATOUR, that that proved to be very successful and definitely the leader in the Italian market. Now, owning solely both companies allowed me to have an even better synergy between the two resulting in offering great unique perks to our clients.
INBOUND: In these uncertain times, how is your business this year?
Perretta: We’ve invested a lot of time diversifying our base. Italy was our largest market, now is about 25 percent of our market. For the past years we joined over 25 trade shows picking up new clients and presenting our different lines of business: Our “Elite” tariff program is very strong. Our Escorted Tour programs running about 80 tours all over the U.S. and Canada in Italian, Spanish and German almost doubled for 2018. Group business is also up but FIT, which represent the largest part of our business, is suffering a bit for a variety of reasons, so, overall, 2018 will be slightly down but, looking at 2019, we are extremely positive as the potential is humongous and numbers too good to tell!
Meanwhile, Volatour is up double digit and services are more and more in demand with request from new markets as well. While we were conceived to supply land services for non-English speaking countries (Italy and Spain), our largest clients now come from the UK, simply because our clients really want someone on site to take care of them regardless of language barriers. We offer unique services in our New York office, conveniently located minutes away from Times Square and open seven days a week. In our private conference room we organize meetings each morning in several languages where we even offer light breakfast, coffee or tea and even personalize the welcome reception according to client nationality or to the specific request of each Tour Operator that may want to create his own experience for his clients while traveling to New York.
INBOUND: What are you finding at the various trade shows you are attending?
Perretta: Well, as I said, we participate in several trade shows all over the globe—always looking for the new emerging market; this year we started to explore Africa and we are getting already decent results. We try to add a certain amount of new accounts from new markets every year, I am extremely focused on diversification. In traditional markets where we have been for two decades—like Fitur in Spain, or TTG in Italy—we host dinners and roundtables events that functioned as Town Hall-style meetings where I moderate a debate in either Spanish or Italian over tourism from that region to the USA. These meetings are usually attended by some of our leading tour operators, as well as partner hotels from U.S. airlines and software houses, so we have all the components of the “package” available to our clients to enable a well-educated discussion.
We always invite the local trade press and, all together, we can debate all the issues and get answers from the professionals all in one spot. When in Milan and Rome, I immediately brought up the biggest elephant in the room by asking their thoughts about our new president. Although they commented that he was “different” and hated his arrogant approach we had a lively discussion that went both ways and I answered a lot of questions. I told them he is a businessman and he does a have huge personal interest in tourism, so we should just focus to bring business to America and to be patient and open minded and, as a matter of fact, results are coming in already. After all, Italians endured Silvio Berlusconi as Prime Minister for nine years and Spain went for years with no government.
INBOUND What, if any, impact is Trump having?
Perretta: Some people are requesting Trump properties out of curiosity. They think they might see him or his family there. At an event at a hotel in Dubai, they’re serving an Ivanka salad on the menu. The reaction is quite different from country to country—I noticed a bit more resistance from north Europe while south Europe is quite intrigued.
China International Travel Monitor 2018 Sees Millennials Driving Market Changes & Preferences
Over the past seven years, the economic and social changes in China have been dramatic. Every year more and more Chinese residents travel overseas. In 2017, there were 130 million outbound tourists, 7 per cent more than in 2016 and 85 per cent more than in 2011, when Hotels.com first published its China International Travel Monitor (CITM).
In the latest 2018 edition of CITM, Hotels.com tells us Chinese travelers have benefited this year from a rebound in the Chinese economy and strong results from stock markets in mainland China and Hong Kong, putting more money in the pockets of Chinese travelers through increases in both salary and non-salary income.
In addition to having more to spend, travelers have increased the amount they spend on travel by 40 per cent this year, compared with last year. The increasingly influential millennials are spending unprecedented amounts on travel, with those born after 1990 increasing their travel spend by 80 per cent this year.
(In analyzing their responses, the researchers who prepared CITM divided travelers into four age categories, those born after 1960, 1970, 1980 and 1990, to provide further insight into the choices and preferences of different generations. Those born after 1980 and 1990 are referred to as millennials throughout the report.)
This year’s CITM reveals the far-reaching influence of the younger generation of Chinese travelers: Their growing sophistication and affluence is inspiring them to learn more about other cultures and to travel widely, leaving their footprint across the globe, from Latin America to Oceania and Europe to the Middle East. It is a trend with powerful momentum and next year will see millennials traveling even further afield. Some notes:
—These younger Chinese travelers are also inspiring their parents and other travelers born post 1960 and 1970 to do the same. The number of travelers wanting to travel independently instead of in group tours continues to rise, as does the demand for edgier, boutique styles of accommodation.
—The change over the past decade has been massive, with the per capita disposable income of Chinese urban households increasing by 164 per cent between 2007 and 2017. In the past year, there has been a rise of 8.3 per cent compared with the previous year. This follows a rise of 7.8 per cent in 2016 compared with 2015
—Overall income of the survey’s participants, the majority of whom (86 percent) come from Tier 1 and 2 cities, increased by 30 per cent this year compared with the previous year.
—The income of post 90s travelers in the survey increased by 73 per cent compared with the previous year. This is likely due to many of them entering the workforce upon completing their studies or moving up the pay scale after being in the workforce for several years. These travelers have used their increased income to travel further from home and stay abroad for longer.
—This year travelers extended their trips by an average of one to two extra days compared with the previous year.
—The trend towards long-haul destinations that emerged last year, has grown even stronger this year. Europe, North America, Latin America and Australia were favorite destinations over the past 12 months.
—In the next 12 months, only 49 per cent of travelers plan to travel to Asia. Instead, 60 per cent of Chinese travelers intend to travel to a country they haven’t yet visited.
—North America will continue to be a hot favorite, and Latin America is also emerging as a popular choice, with 26 and 13 per cent of travelers planning a first-time visit to these destinations in the next year, respectively.
Where Markets Could Do Better: The increase in education and income of Chinese travelers means greater demand for more authentic experiences in accommodation, services and activities.
CITM has identified key areas where services could be improved. A standout area where Chinese travelers would like better service is payment methods such as payment by mobile phone and QR scan via WeChat.
Spending Power or Power Spending? The data show that:
—Chinese travelers are big spenders. In the past 12 months, Chinese travelers increased their spending by 40 per cent and next year the majority (60%) intend to spend even more.
—Millennials are driving this trend, spending big, seeking novelty, adventure and local flavor wherever they go, and influencing their parents to do the same.
—Millennials have upped their travel spend dramatically, by 73 per cent for those born post 90s and 50 per cent for post 80s. They also spent a larger proportion of their income on travel than other age groups—more than one third (36 percent) for post 90s compared with around a quarter (28 percent for Chinese travelers overall.
—Post 80s millennials spent 5 per cent more of their income on travel compared with last year. They also spent the most each day when traveling –$346 (¥2204) per day vs $320 (¥2038) for Chinese travelers overall.
Loving Local: When it comes to spending choice, Chinese travelers want local flavor and colorful experiences. Gone are the days when most Chinese focused on their own cuisine when traveling. Tasting local delicacies was a favorite pastime for 69 percent of travelers in the last 12 months, followed by visiting local landmarks (65 percent). Shopping for authentic local items was also popular (43 percent).
The Quest for New Experiences: Chinese travelers want new experiences, not more of the old. They are traveling further afield, staying away longer and spending more money. This trend emerged last year and became even stronger over the past 12 months. Europe, North America and Australia were favorite destinations.
USA Shrinks in Popularity: Six of the top 10 countries where Chinese travelers feel most welcome are in Asia. Japan tops the list, moving up from the number two spot in 2017. Australia comes in fifth, slipping from third place last year. New Zealand in tenth place makes the top 10 for the first time.
Big on Bleisure: Bleisure—combining business travel with leisure—has also become more popular, with 80 per cent of travelers saying they would stay an extra four days after a business trip. This is particularly strong in long‑haul destinations such as Australia and the United States.
—The USA is the most common destination for bleisure.
—The common denominator is novelty. While Chinese travelers still want to visit Asia for the local cuisine (56 percent) and shopping (52 percent), there was a 6 percent decline in the amount visiting Asian destinations. When traveling to Asia they like to visit new cities.
“Out-of-the-Box” is the New Kid on the Block: Chinese travelers are not only looking for more out-of-the-box travel experiences, they are also broadening their accommodation choices. When asked what makes a great travel experience, 56 per cent of travelers said “living in atypical accommodation.”
Over the past 12 months, 68 per cent stayed in a hotel and 48 per cent stayed in a serviced apartment.
—The number of trips this year was 3.9, unchanged from last year but travelers are staying abroad longer. Millennials traveled slightly more, with 4 trips for post 90s and 4.2 for post 80s.
—Traveling further from home means longer trips. This year travelers increased the number of days per trip to 8-9 days, 1-2 days more than the previous year. They visited three cities per trip on average – one city more than last year.
—How long travelers stay is particularly influenced by the amount of annual leave they have (62 percent), the season (50 percent) and what sort of activity they are seeking (50 percent).
New and Improved: New and distant locations are also on the agenda for the next year. Asia is no longer the preferred destination, with only 49 per cent planning to travel there next year. Instead, 60 per cent of Chinese travelers intend to travel to a country they haven’t yet visited.
While new destinations are definitely the focus, more than one third (37 percent) of travelers still intend to visit countries they’ve been to before but will go to different cities. Key locations in Asia are top of the list for these travelers. Japan is the standout, with 46 per cent planning to revisit but traveling to different cities there. South Korea, Taiwan and Thailand are also high on the list.
Digital Dominates as Agencies Decline: Travelers continue to move away from traditional booking methods, preferring digital booking. The most popular booking method for accommodation is through the mobile website of an online travel agency, using a smart phone or tablet (43 percent). More than half of 90s millennials (51 percent) prefer this option versus 36 per cent for post 60s travelers. This is a slight increase on last year. Only 11 per cent of travelers prefer to use a desktop computer to book online.
Using mobile apps of online travel agencies is preferred by 13 per cent, while only 1 per cent book via social media platforms such as WeChat. Visiting a nearby travel agency is a thing of the past, with only 4 per cent of travelers choosing this option.
Notes on Methodology: The report is based on research involving Chinese international travelers, combined with proprietary data from Hotels.com and other research.
Hotels.com engaged Ipsos, a world leader in market research, to conduct interviews during May 2018 with 3,047 Chinese residents, aged 18-58 years, who had traveled overseas in the past 12 months. A computer-assisted web interviewing technology was used for the different-tiered cities.
Chinese cities are classified into different tiers based on population, economic size and political ranking. Tier 1 includes cities such as Beijing and Shanghai, Tier 2 provincial capitals such as Chengdu, Tier 3 medium-sized cities such as Zhuhai and Tier 4 smaller-sized cities.
Travelers were asked about their spending patterns, travel preferences, booking methods, accommodation choices and future plans, along with many other aspects of their travel.
Unless otherwise indicated, the ¥/$ exchange rate used in this survey is $1 = ¥ 6.37, the rate on 20 May 2018, the mid-point of the field research.
USA’s Inbound Traffic Hurt by Trump’s Trade War with China
According to the latest findings from the research firm ForwardKeys, which predicts future travel patterns by analyzing 17 million booking transactions a day, U.S. President Donald Trump’s tit-for-tat trade war with China appears to have caused a significant slump in Chinese visitors to the United States that could cost the American tourism sector this year.
Key findings in a brief report issued by ForwardKeys include the following:
—Weekly bookings from China to the US were up 2 percent from the last week of February (after the Chinese New Year holiday) to March 23 when the first tariffs took effect.
—Since March 23, ForwardKeys’ data shows the year-on-year figure to August is down by 8.4 percent, falling further as new rounds of tariffs have been announced. Beijing about US travel security risks, have likely further influenced the trend.
—The negative impact on the Chinese currency, which has fallen 7.5 percent against the U.S. dollar since tariffs were introduced – meaning tourists’ money buys less – and warnings from and warnings from Beijing about US travel security risks, have likely further influenced the trend.
ForwardKeys’ data reveals that for the rest of the year, Chinese outbound bookings to the US are 9.6% behind where they were at the same time last year, whereas Chinese outbound bookings worldwide are ahead by 5.5 percent. This pattern of growth worldwide but slowdown to the U.S. is consistent in every month except October. A general setback in October is due to this year’s mid-autumn festival falling at the end of September, which draws departures at the start of the busy National Day Golden Week holiday into September from October.
—The biggest impact has been on bookings for group travel (six or more passengers) from China to the US, currently behind for the rest of 2018 by 34.4 percent compared to last year.
Bookings by FIT travelers are behind 3.9 percent, with leisure travel being worse affected than travel or business or travel to visit friends and relatives.
By way of a benchmark, Chinese bookings for travel to Canada were up 4.8 percent to the end of July and are currently ahead 8.0 percent for August to December.
ForwardKeys CEO and co-founder, Olivier Jager, said: “Our findings strongly suggest that President Trump’s trade war has had a significant impact on Chinese tourism to the US. Looking at the year to date, we see a setback in Chinese tourism arrivals of just under 5 percent. If that continues to the end of the year, we estimate that the cost to the US economy will be north of a half-billion dollars in 2018. Chinese spending in this sector is significant – it amounts to the largest category of US services exports to China. It is unquestionable that the Chinese appetite for visiting the USA is diminishing, and that is bound to worry the U.S. travel industry.”
Near-Term Outlook for Japan Improves
It took about a month longer than it usually does for the Japan Association of Travel Agents (JATA) to process the results of its quarterly of Survey of Travel Market Trends for the travel trade in the country. But the wait might have been worth it for U.S. travel suppliers as the country’s travel agents and tour operators indicated that they are confident that travel to the United States will be better in the current quarter (July through September) and the final quarter (October through December) of 2018 compared to a year ago. In fact, the increase in survey’s Diffusion Index, or DI (See Note on Methodology below) was more than 25 percent for the final quarter.
This marks a significant increase in the JATA survey regarding outbound travel to the U.S., a measure which has been flat to negative for some three years.
In its own language, the JATA survey analysis said, “The overseas travel DI has improved steadily since the level of two years ago. The DI which was at standstill for two consecutive quarters has grown as Europe gained 12 points, South Korea 11 points, the USA & Canada 8 points, and China 6 points.” In reviewing specific market segments, JATA anticipates a boost in honeymoon travel, female officer worker travel and education travel through the end of 2018.
Before You Review the Tables: It is important to understand the methodology behind the compilation and preparation of the Survey of Travel Market Trends. JATA asks all member companies to register as survey monitors. It conducts the quarterly Survey of Travel Market Trends that involves more than 600 registered companies and publishes the results. The Survey of Travel Market Trends is designed to grasp trends in the travel market based on responses to questions on current conditions and those anticipated over the next three months. The survey asks participating companies to rate their sales results for each destination and customer segment by choosing from three categories: “good,” “average,” and “poor.” For items outside their business scope, respondents select “do not handle.” Each share of “good,” “average,” and “poor” is then divided respectively by the denominator, which is equal to the total number of responses minus the “do not handle” (including “no reply”) responses. Finally, each share is processed into a Diffusion Index (DI) by subtracting the percentage of “poor” from the percentage of “good.” The highest possible index figure is +100, and the lowest is -100.
NOTE: The Internet survey that produced the above results was conducted from May 2, 2018 to June 8, 2018. The number of registered companies that received the survey was 632. The number of responding companies was 299, for a response rate of 47.3 percent.
DFW Airport to Change Pick-Up and Drop-Off Rules at Terminals
Active Loading and Unloading Designation to Improve Customer Service and Safety: Dallas Fort Worth (DFW) International Airport is changing curbside areas at all five terminals to active loading and unloading zones, part of a comprehensive program designed to improve the flow of traffic and enhance safety and security for customers, employees and business partners. DFW has added nearly 1,200 one-hour parking spaces and will encourage customers to use the terminal parking garages at no extra cost when picking up or dropping off passengers. Full enforcement of active loading and unloading zones will begin Sept. 8.
“There are more vehicles than ever at the Airport, and we want to keep traffic moving, while providing safer access to our terminals,” said Sean Donohue, CEO of Dallas Fort Worth International Airport. “These necessary changes will improve the overall customer experience as it relates to traffic flow, efficiencies and ease of navigation.”
Signs indicating the new policy will be posted at the terminal curbsides in July, designating the areas for active loading and unloading only. Previously, customers could idle in attended vehicles along the curbside, while waiting for arriving passengers. DFW Department of Public Safety and Parking teams will inform customers of the change throughout July and August, directing parked or standing vehicles to nearby terminal garages with 1-hour and 2-hour parking zones.
Comparing September 2015 to February 2018, vehicle traffic for the month increased by more than 245,000 visits at DFW. At peak times, there can be congestion along the curbs at all terminals, impeding the flow of traffic. The changes reduce the number of vehicles on the upper level and will bring DFW in line with other large airports which have not allowed curbside parking since 2001, including Dallas Love Field.
Featured Partner of the Week—Alabama Tourism Department
The USA South is known for its music and Alabama is in the center of it all. Its American Music Tour itinerary highlights the music aspect of Alabama; but it is also a great way to experience food, history and outdoors. Come hear gospel in its churches and sing Sweet Home Alabama in its music halls.
New Air Service
—On Aug. 1, Avianca, the flag carrier of Colombia, started services from Lima, Peru to Orlando and on Aug. 2 from Guatemala City and San Salvador, El Salvador to Orlando.
—WestJet’s low-cost Swoop airlines is entering the U.S. market, announcing flights from Canada to Las Vegas, Mesa (Phoenix), Tampa Bay, Orlando and Fort Lauderdale. The schedule includes routes from Edmonton to Las Vegas and Mesa; Hamilton to Las Vegas, Fort Lauderdale, Orlando and Tampa Bay; and Abbotsford B.C. to Las Vegas. Flights are available for booking from Oct. 11, 2018 to April 27, 2019. Sample prices include $99 flights from Edmonton to Las Vegas (one-way), as well as $99 flights between Hamilton and Orlando.
—Korean Air is launching a non-stop route between Boston and Seoul Incheon airport next year. Beginning April 12, 2019, the airline will operate five flights a week on its new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft. The flights are part of a new joint-venture between Korean and Delta Air Lines.
The Boston route is second Seoul route added by the airlines since their joint venture partnership launched in May. The two carriers have already confirmed plans for flights between Seoul and Minneapolis/St. Paul next year.
—JetBlue has announced new and expanded Mexico City service with daily nonstop flights from both New York City and Boston. Service between New York JFK and Mexico City, as well as service between Boston and Mexico City beginning Oct. 25, 2018. JetBlue is offering fares starting at $150 one way from New York and $153 one way from Boston. JetBlue currently operates two daily flights between Mexico City and both Fort Lauderdale and Orlando. JetBlue first landed in Mexico City in 2015 and by this October will operate more than forty weekly flights between the U.S. and Mexico’s capital city.
—American Airlines has launched its latest international route from Philadelphia with daily service to Mexico City. The Mexico from Philadelphia, with it already operating to Cancún 15 times weekly this summer. American already serves Mexico City from Charlotte Douglas, Dallas/Fort Worth, Los Angeles, Phoenix and Miami.
—United Airlines is again strengthening its Washington Dulles hub network with a new international route to Tel Aviv starting next May 22nd. It becomes the third direct service to Israel after Newark Liberty and San Francisco. The Washington Dulles-Tel Aviv service will connect easily with more than 70 domestic routes in the United network.
At a Glance: Ithaca, NY
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HODGE PODGE: Shifts, Shakeups and Occasional Shaftings in the Tour and Travel Industry
Gisel Vidals has been promoted to the position of head of global sales at Big Bus Tours. Previously, she served as head of global sales, Americas. Vidals joined Big Bus four years ago. Prior to that, she held senior sales positions for several different New York City-based tour and travel companies, including Skyline Sightseeing, Super Shuttle and Liberty Helicopters.
The board of directors of Visit KC has selected industry veteran Jason Fulvi as its new president and CEO. He succeeds Ronnie Burt, who resigned following the settlement last January of a lawsuit that alleged harassing and bullying behavior toward female employees on Burt’s part. A veteran of more than three decades in the tour and travel industry, Fulvi comes to Kansas City from VisitPITTSBURGH, where he has served for 16 years and most recently as the organization’s executive vice president. Fulvi starts his new job at Visit KC on Sept. 12.
Deana Ivey has been promoted by the Nashville Convention and Visitors Corp. (CVC) to the post of executive vice president. A veteran of 21 years at the CVC, she was most recently chief marketing officer.
Timothy Zahner has left his post as chief operating officer at Sonoma County Tourism to join the Sonoma Valley Visitors Bureau, now known as Experience Sonoma County, as its new executive director. Zahner had been with Sonoma County Tourism since December 2006. Prior to that he was public relations media manager at San Francisco Travel.
Sarah Schaffer has been named chief marketing officer for Visit Baltimore. A tour and travel industry professional for more than 20 years, Schaffer succeeds Sam Rogers, who left the post last January to become interim president and CEO of Visit Norfolk. She comes to the organization from her post as managing director of HZDG, a communications and marketing agency with offices in Washington, D.C., New York, Los Angeles and Baltimore. Previously, she was chief of marketing and communications at The Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C.
Wendy Haase has been promoted to the position of senior director for Destination Irvine in Orange County, California. Previously, she was director of tourism marketing. In her new role, Haase, who has been with the chamber since 2010, will be responsible for the organization’s destination sales and marketing divisions.
CVB veteran Monica Smith has been named the new president and CEO of the 12-state Southeast Tourism Society (STS). She is only the third chief executive in the 35-year history of STS. Smith took over the upon the retirement of Bill Hardman after his 21-year tenure in the position. Smith, who has more than 26 years’ experience in the hospitality and tourism industry, most recently was vice president of sales and services for Visit Jacksonville. She previously was president and CEO of the Macon-Bibb County CVB in Macon, Ga. She also has worked at the Pasadena CVB and the Newport Beach CVB in California and for Destination Cleveland in Ohio. Smith has also served on the STS board of directors through her positions in Jacksonville and Macon.
Terry Dale has signed a new three-year contract extending his role as president and CEO of the U.S. Tour Operators Association through 2021. Dale began as president in 2011 and assumed the additional role of chief executive officer in fall 2012. Prior to Dale’s appointment, the late Bob Whitley served as USTOA’s president and CEO from 1978 to 2010.
Sara Otte Coleman of the North Dakota Tourism Division has been named national State Tourism Director of the Year for 2018. Coleman was announced as the honoree at the U.S. Travel Association’s recent ESTO conference, held this year in Phoenix. Candidates for State Tourism Director of the Year are nominated by a panel of state and territory tourism directors. A slate of three finalists is presented for selection by ballot.
As of September 30, Christoph Führer, managing director of the business travel division of DER Touristik, is leaving the company at his own request. Führer has been a member of the management team since 2010. He was first spokesman for the management of Derpart Reisevertrieb. Since November 2016, Führer has been managing director of DER, where he is responsible for the business travel division, DER Business Travel. Führer’s responsibilities in the management of DER Deutsches Reisebüro will be taken over by interim managing director Mark Tantz in addition to his duties as managing director of DER Touristik Deutschland.
Marcelo Kaiser is the new manager of Aviareps, the global tour and travel PR and representation company, for all of Latin America. In parallel, Kaiser will take care of the operation in Brazil in the next five months and a new director for the national market should be announced. The company has offices in Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Panama, Peru and Mexico.
Fanato Incentive, a Brazilian corporate-focused brand from tour operator Fanato, has just announced that it has hired Barbara Fertonani to be part of its incentive travel team. Fertonani comes to her new job with 15 years of experience in the M.I.C.E. segment. She can be reached at [email protected]
Specialist tour operator Hotelplan’s Simon McIntyre is leaving the company and joining online travel agency Iglu. The group head of sales for Inghams, Ski Total & Esprit, McIntyre will leave after nine years at the company and join Iglu’s operations board in the newly created role of general manager, ski, overseeing sales, marketing and commercial teams.
Kelli Hilliard for 17 years at Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks & Tourism
Sarah Willoughby for 14 years at Greater Wilmington Convention & Visitors Bureau
Oswaldo Freitas for 3 years at JTB Americas Ltd