Karen Shiers has been appointed vice president of sales, North America for Merlin Entertainments PLC. Shiers joined Merlin in 2011 as part of the company’s management trainee program and since then has worked across the world in various sales positions, from Madame Tussauds New York to New Openings EMEA to LEGOLAND Japan. She will be moving to Orlando from her current role as head of sales and revenue management for LEGOLAND California Resort.
Keiko Matsudo Orrall has been named executive director of the Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism (MOTT). Prior to her appointment Orrall served in the Massachusetts Legislature for four terms as a Representative for the 12th Bristol district. Orrall lost in her bid for a seat in the State Senate to incumbent Democrat Deb Goldberg last November in the general election. She succeeds Francois-Laurent Nivaud, a management consultant and former hotelier who held the job for three years.
Mike Waterman has been let go from his position as president and CEO of Visit Houston. He held the post since May 2015 and also served as chief sales and marketing officer for Houston First. The decision not to renew his contract was made by Brenda Bazan, president and CEO of Houston First. Visit Houston (formerly the Houston CVB) was structurally aligned within Houston First five years ago and the employees became employees of Houston First. However, the bureau and Houston First remain separate entities. Waterman came to Visit Houston in 2015 following more than 20 years in senior sales and marketing positions from Renaissance Hotels and Resorts, and then Marriott International.
Transat has announced the appointment of Monique Lalonde to the position of director, [email protected], for Transat Distribution Canada. She will be dedicated to the development and the maturation of Transat Distribution Canada’s [email protected] program, to make it the best outside sales agent program in Canada. Monique reports to Susan Bowman, vice president, marketing.
Donna Hanson has been named director of fun at US Integrity Touring, a Maine-based operator that plans and operates student performance group tours. She joins the company from The Maine Tour Collection in South Portland, Maine, where she served for nearly 19 years, lastly as vice president of fun.
Ian Ross has been promoted to the position of executive vice president at Travel Spike, a travel technology and digital marketing company. Ross, who has been with the company for nearly six years, was previously vice president.
The Greater Fort Lauderdale CVB has announced the appointment of Tracy Vaughan as its new senior vice president of tourism & travel industry sales. Starting on April 22, Vaughan will be responsible for the strategic leadership of the bureau’s domestic and international transient sales efforts.
Prior to joining the Greater Fort Lauderdale CVB, Vaughan served as director of global market development for the tourism division at the Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD) for four and a half years. Prior to that, she was director of international sales and marketing at VISIT FLORIDA, where she served more than 22 years.
Anna Laestadius has been appointed chief creative officer of TUI Group. In her new role she will oversee the global development of the TUI brand. Formerly Nordic marketing chief, she replaces Barbara Haase, who left TUI earlier this year. Laestadius has been with TUI since 2015 and was responsible for the launch of the brand name TUI in Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Finland. Before joining TUI she was global vice president brand and marketing for Electrolux Grand Cuisine.
WestJet has appointed Charles (Chuck) Crowder as vice-president, sales and distribution, reporting to Arved von zur Muehlen, chief commercial officer, effective April 29, 2019. Crowder has nearly 30 years as a sales leader in the global travel and aviation industry. He joins WestJet most recently from Avis Budget Group where he served as vice president, global accounts and cross border sales, in charge of developing the global sales strategy with large corporate and travel management companies. Prior to that, Chuck held various sales leadership and general management positions with United Airlines and Continental Airlines in the United States and Europe.
Scott Towers has been named manager of tours at Boston’s Boch Center, which is home to three theatre and a popular venue for the performing arts as well as special events. Towers comes to the job from Major League Baseball’s Boston Red Sox, were he worked for nine years, lastly as manager of tours at Fenway Park, home of the Red Sox.
Anna Engstrom Klapper has been appointed director of marketing communications for securiport, a Washington, D.C.-based firm that specializes the application of modern technology for border and airport security. Klapper’s CV includes a five-year-plus tenure at Brand USA, where she was once Manager, Global Trade Development
Simon Garrido, former head of sales at Attraction World, has joined Travelopia as head of trade partnerships. Garrido will manage trade sales for Travelopia’s tailor made brands Hayes & Jarvis, Citalia, Sovereign Luxury Travel and Austravel. Garrido, who was previously head of trade sales at Monarch, before its collapse, had also held roles at Airtours, Global and Avis.
Visit Phoenix has promoted Lorne Edwards to senior vice president of convention sales and services. Edwards joined Visit Phoenix in 2012 after a 16-year stint in sales at Hyatt Hotels Corporation, where he served as director of sales and marketing at two Boston-area hotels, among other roles.
Brazilian tour operator RCA Turismo, has hired Maurício Alexandre as commercial director. Alexandre left Sea World / Imaginadora last week after almost a decade as director RCA is Disney select operator and has carrier contracts also selected with Universal Orlando and Sea World Parks, since one of its specialties are trips to Orlando. Mauricio Alexandre has worked for companies such as American Airlines, Walt Disney World, RCA and Sea World Parks.
Erminia Nigro has joined Air Canada Vacations as its new general manager, sales – Ontario & National Accounts. In this role, she will be responsible for leading a six-person sales team, including five area sales managers and one manager of national accounts. Nigro joins Air Canada Vacations from TravelBrands where she most recently held the position of director of sales, having spent the past 16 years with the company. Prior to that, she spent four years at Sunquest as a Business Development Manager, with her first two years in the industry at Regent Holidays.
Glenn Hollister has been named vice president–sales strategy and effectiveness for United Airlines. Hollister comes to United from ZS Associates, where he was the principal and practice leader for travel and transportation. He also he led ZS associates’ efforts to help travel companies across the commercial functions of marketing, sales and revenue management and other related areas. At United, Hollister will lead the carrier’s strategy, analysis, market development, digital sales, channel management, sales support, sales events, sales training and sales systems teams.