VISIT FLORIDA has announced the appointment of Dana Young as its new president and CEO. Young has served in both the Florida House of Representatives and State Senate, but lost a bid for re-election to the State Senate last November. She succeeds Ken Lawson, who was appointed by the state’s new governor, Ron DeSantis, to be executive director of Florida’s Department of Economic Opportunity.
Antonio Carlos Carbone, a long-time veteran of the tour and travel industry in both Florida and Brazil, has left his position as executive director of Abracorp (Brazil Business Travel Association) after just several months. Carbone took over the post in November 2018, following the departure of Jahy Carvalho. During his career, Carbone has headed his own tour operator company and worked for ten years at Varig. He also served as manager for IATA’s Americas., as well as leading US companies in Brazil.
Paul Nakamoto has been promoted to the position of vice president, guest experiences at Aquarium of the Bay in San Francisco. Previously, he was director of strategic promotions. Before joining the Aquarium of the Bay, Nakamoto was executive vice president of Gray Line of San Francisco, San Jose & Monterey.
Roxanne Ward has been appointed director of client services for the New York City-based Nederlander Producing Company of America, which operates theatre and entertainment venues throughout the U.S. Wood joins the company from the National Geographic Encounter in New York City. Prior to that, she was trade and group sales manager for Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Times Square.
Margarita Peloso has been named sales manager for Ottawa, Montreal, Central and Eastern Ontario for Trafalgar. Peloso has been working in the travel industry for over 20 years and has worked to promote both mass market and niche and luxury cruise products across the country. Most recently, she was a GroupEx instructor for GoodLife Fitness in Ottawa.
Kathryn Coles, has left her post as a Tauck UK country manager and joined Simpson Travel as head of trade sales at the specialist luxury operator. She had been at Tauck since 2014, having previously worked for Kirker Holidays and Club Med.
Dean Burke has been named president and CEO of the combined Travel Tacoma + Pierce County and the Tacoma South Sound Sports Commission. Burke has been with the sports commission for seven years, serving as executive director for the last five. In his new capacity, he takes over the top tourism post for the destination from Bennish Brown, who resigned last June from the Travel Tacoma + Pierce County organization to take over as president and CEO of the August (Georgia) CVB.
Robin Dunn has been named to the newly-created position of regional manager, Western Ontario, Leisure Travel for Vision Travel Solutions. In her new role, Dunn will responsible for the overall operation and performance of 12 locations in western and south-central Ontario, which number some 90 staff in total. Previously, Dunn was with Goliger’s Travel Plus and, prior to that, was group and marketing manager for Total World Travel and Cruises.
Gonzalo Schames is the new American Airlines regional manager for the Southern Cone countries of Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay. A veteran of more than 25 years with American, Schames began his career in passenger services at American in 1993. Since 2017, the destinations of Chile and Uruguay have been added to his management responsibilities. The appointment follows American’s recent launch of a new flight from Los Angeles to Buenos Aires.
Johanne Belanger has announced that she is leaving her post as president and CEO of Tourism Toronto. Belanger, who has held the job since September 2015, will be moving to Chicago and starting a new position with Marriott International in March. Previously, Belanger was the president of Freeman Audio Visual Canada for 10 years.
Meg Winchester has been appointed as the new president and CEO of Visit Spokane. She joins the organization from the Galveston Island CVB, where she has been the director for more than a decade. Winchester replaces Cheryl Kilday, who had led Visit Spokane for eight years before leaving last October to become CEO of the North Myrtle Beach Chamber of Commerce and Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Karen Feld for 39 years at Capital Connections
Catherine Prather for 25 years at National Tour Association
James Weaver for 21 years at Academic Travel Services
Ghislain Charles Sirelles for 20 years at Cachet Travel
Leona Reed for 19 years at Visit California
Jay Judal for 16 years at San Diego Zoo/San Diego Zoo Safari Park
Nguyen Khanh/Kaie for 11 years at VTA and Ann Tours