South American Market is Blossoming
While it is the number three world regional market, behind Europe and Asia, South America has been steadily increasing the number of visitors it sends to the United States over the past eight years. Data made available by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Travel and Tourism Office (NTTO) show that, during this period, visitors to the USA South American countries have increased at a rate that is more than double that of total international visitors (including neighboring Canada and Mexico) and almost 50 percent greater that visitors from long-haul overseas markets—even though the regions of Europe and Asia dwarf South America’s population. Currently (2018), arrivals from the three regions look like this:
In Context: While economic conditions seem to have helped cause a slump in the South American market and other world regional markets, South America seems poised to continue its steady increase this year—Argentina excepted. Even Venezuela, whose economy is a virtual basket case and which gets no direct air service from U.S. legacy carriers, has stopped negative growth in visitor numbers.
For a quick read of what the data in the two tables below show, INBOUND has prepared brief takes on factors that have had an impact on the growth numbers of the top South American source markets over the past eight years.
—Since Chile became part of the USA’s Visa Waiver Program in May 2014, traffic to the U.S. has been on a non-stop growth curve, more than doubling from 2011 to 2018.
—From mid-2014 through most of 2016, Brazil experienced a severe economic crisis … so severe that Brazilians referred to it—and still refer to it—simply as “La Crise” (“The Crisis”). The economic crisis became coupled with a political crisis in Brazil that resulted in the impeachment of president Dilma Rousseff and in widespread dissatisfaction with the political system. By the beginning of 2017, the country’s GDP has grown for two consecutive quarters, marking the end of the recession. Inbound travel to the USA has staged a recovery, though its levels have yet to reach 2014 levels.
—Colombia, more than any another nation in Latin America, has borne the brunt of the political and economic disruption taking place within neighboring Venezuela. According to a report early last month (June), the United Nations said that more than 4 million refugees and migrants have left Venezuela, with 1.3 million of them settling in Colombia. One of the secondary impacts on Colombia has been a check on the desire to travel.
—Argentina is experiencing what seems to be an unchecked slide into a recession that “launched” last year. One measure is the value of its currency, which fell by more than 65 percent since the beginning of 2018. Retail travel agents and tour operators have suffered greatly from the impact.
—Uruguay, which is sometimes referred to as the “Switzerland of South America,” has an export-driven economy that is among the most stable in the western hemisphere, and its banks are an attractive place for foreigners to keep their savings. Geographically the second smallest country in South America (Suriname is the smallest), it is also the smallest major country in the continent in population, with some 3.5 million people. Its above-normal levels of travel-able people makes it a reliable—if modest—source of inbound travel.
United States Moves Closer to Re-joining UNWTO: What Does This Mean?
In Baku, Azerbaijan a few weeks ago, at a meeting of the Executive Council of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO)—a gathering that, otherwise, was so unremarkable in its content or in anything that it did that the session received absolutely no attention in the travel trade media anywhere—the U.S. government indicated that it is exploring the possibility of re-joining the UN entity, which is responsible for the promotion of responsible, sustainable and accessible tourism worldwide.
The United States has not belonged to WTO for decades and has been critical, over the years, of the actions of the agency for a number of reasons, not the least of which is its highly un-democratic membership and dues policy. While membership levies on large nations like the U.S. are assessed primarily on the basis of population, every nation has only one vote, as do such microstates such as San Marino and Timor-Leste. Over the years, some U.S. allies, such as Canada, Australia and the UK have also dropped their membership in WTO for various reasons.
For some in the world tour and travel community, such an attitude toward the global organization does not help the overall industry and, indeed, discourages cooperation—factors that critics say hurts the U.S. in maintaining or growing its share of international tourism arrivals.
In the United States, the organization has been, like the UN itself, a target of foreign policy conservatives, who have vilified it as a bloated and hardly essential international bureaucratic institution that is useless, as far as U.S. interests are concerned.
The history of the U.S. position notwithstanding, there it was in Baku: A high-level U.S. official was seemingly making the case for the USA to rejoin the Madrid-based United Nations World Tourism Organization.
What makes it especially interesting is who was making the case and the possible connection there is to the U.S. tour and travel industry. It was Emma Boyle, assistant to the President and Principal Deputy Chief of Staff in the Executive Office of the President—the de facto top aide to Mick Mulvaney, chief of staff—that is, one who likely spends some face-to-face time with President Donald Trump.
In a news release summarizing the Baku meeting, WTO said the following: “(Boyle) announced before the Council that ‘the United States is exploring the possibility of re-joining the World Tourism Organization,’ and noted that her country looks forward to working with UNWTO ‘to encourage tourism around the world.’ … Quoting President Trump, she said that ‘America First does not mean America alone,’ and added: ‘We believe that there is tremendous potential for UNWTO, with its focus on job creation and education, to be a beacon of innovation for other international organizations.’ ”
Boyle came to the White House with Mulvaney from the Office of Management and Budget, where she was chief of staff. She also served as a legislative assistant to Mulvaney when the latter was a Congressman from South Carolina. Boyle also served on the staff of U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) for several years.
Of interest in her resumé in Washington, D.C. is a tenure of about three years (2014-2017) during which she was a lobbyist for the Ford Motor Company. At just about the same time, Tori Barnes, executive vice president, public affairs & policy for the U.S. Travel Association—in effect, the top lobbyist for the top lobbying organization of the U.S. travel industry—was nearing the end of a stretch (2003-2017) as a lobbyist for General Motors. It is more than just likely that Boyle and Barnes, lobbyists for the top two U.S. auto makers, worked together on areas of mutual interest to the automobile industry.
What all of the above suggests is: (1) Surprisingly, the U.S. government and its President, thought to be dismissive of the work of most international government organizations, is apparently pushing for a greater role in the global tour and travel industry apparatus; and (2) The U.S. travel industry, through its top lobbyist, is well-positioned and well-connected to help that policy direction take effect.
Still, not all agree that joining WTO would be good for the USA: A few days after the Baku meeting, in a screed titled, Why America Should Not join the United Nations on World Tourism, Brett Schaefer and James Carafano, two contributors from the Heritage Foundation—a very conservative Washington, D.C. think tank—laid out a case against re-joining WTO. Some of their points follow:
—Although the Trump Administration believes that “United Nations agency responsible for the promotion of responsible, sustainable, and universally accessible tourism,” nearly 20 percent of the United Nations member states have either never joined or dropped out.
—These non-members have concluded that the costs outweigh the benefits. Australia, for instance, withdrew from the World Tourism Organization in 2015 after determining that the agency was unresponsive to its needs and increasingly expensive.
—There are also questions about the accountability and judgment of the World Tourism Organization. In 2009, the United Nations Joint Inspection Unit found the agency “does not possess any internal audit, inspection, evaluation, investigation, or monitoring capabilities.” Canada withdrew in 2012 after the agency appointed the notorious Zimbabwean ruler Robert Mugabe as a global leader on tourism.
—If there is a tangible benefit to the American tourism industry from this agency, it can be realized without the United States itself joining. American businesses and organizations can join the agency as affiliate members if they so desire, regardless of United States membership.
—Foreign tourism (to the U.S.) has declined slightly over the last two years. The reasons for this are complicated, including a decline in the favorable view of the United States held by foreign tourists, fatigue with traditional American tourist destinations, and the strength of the dollar. The tourism lobby has been pressing the administration to do something to address this decline. But if the United States joins the World Tourism Organization, that action will do nothing to reverse this trend nor is it likely to placate the industry.
—If President Trump is under the illusion that rejoining the World Tourism Organization might win some diplomatic brownie points, he should read its “strong condemnation“ of his visa policy or its “firm resentment” of his decision to restore restrictions on travel to Cuba. This is not a receptive audience of the administration. Rejoining the World Tourism Organization would neither benefit the American tourism industry nor reap a diplomatic windfall for the United States. American taxpayers deserve better than to witness their money squandered again on this unnecessary organization.
The Top 25 Companies in the World of Travel Agencies
The 2019 Travel Weekly Power List Tells Us Who They Are: “Neither the global geopolitical situation, nor jitters about the world economy, nor any other factor could slow down” the list of travel companies that comprise the 2019 Travel Weekly Power List, the publication’s annual ranking of companies with $100 million or more in travel sales. Just released, the Power List is a window of how healthy the overall tour and travel industry, and its distribution system, are.
And the numbers are strong: including the Top 25 that INBOUND has compiled, the Travel Weekly Power List grew from 49 last year to 54 travel companies this year. Seven companies made their debut on the list, and some returned after an absence, TW pointed out. And nearly every company had grown their sales over the previous year.
All but a handful of these agencies posted increases in sales volume in 2018, several significantly and some the largest in the agency’s history. And few were content to rest on their increased business: They explored acquisitions, launched tech initiatives and developed ways to offer agents more and better training.
The most significant absence from this year’s Power List, TW pointed out, is that of perennial top-10 agency HRG, which was acquired by American Express Global Business Travel last July. That was the only acquisition between Power List agencies, but other acquisitions did fuel the growth of a number of those listed.
Some Travel Weekly Notes on its Methodology: To qualify for the Power List, a company had to have a minimum of $100 million in travel sales in 2018. For purposes of the survey, sales are defined as gross sales of travel products worldwide, whether to consumers or to corporate travelers; the company must be the merchant of record on the transaction from a supplier’s perspective.
At least 15 percent of the sales volume must have been generated in the U.S.
Early this year, the questionnaire was sent to companies that had appeared on the list in previous years; had been in the news because of acquisitions or had grown for other reasons; or had contacted Travel Weekly believing they qualified.
As has been the case for years, Travel Weekly requested that gross sales volume be certified by a company’s owner, CEO or CFO. In a small number of cases, certification was made by an executive at the vice president level but with financial oversight.
While all cooperating companies on the list did certify sales (or made them public), TW emphasized that “it must be kept in mind that even those numbers are difficult to verify because the great majority of travel sellers are privately held and under no obligation to disclose financial data.”
Also, there is no commonly accepted standard for calculating sales volume, and there is no clearinghouse in the U.S. that tracks nonairline sales, as ARC does for airline sales. Where possible, Travel Weekly sought to confirm accuracy in the figures by referring to other data and to articles published in the past year. We also reviewed responses for consistency and used whatever resources we had at our disposal to ensure accuracy.
The survey on which these rankings were based also included questions involving ARC sales, travel-related subsidiaries, percentage of sales from business and leisure, corporate structure and others.
There were several open-ended questions about recent and planned developments to which companies could reply in any way they felt appropriate. Responses to the questionnaire determined the length of the profiles that accompany each listed agency.
Interested in More? To review the entire 2019 Travel Weekly Power List and its related feature material, visit:
To compare the Travel Weekly Power lists for the previous two years, visit:
Why Chinese Consumers Love Luxury Products
From Jing Travel comes an analysis linking Confucianism to luxury consumption: “Although China’s appetite for luxury brands is well documented, misconceptions and stereotypes involving the Chinese consumer are still being widely disseminated. Every so often, young Chinese shoppers are presented as “label obsessed” buyers who are addicted to luxury shopping, but the reality is far more complex. While Western-style consumerism interprets luxury consumption as a “way of life” in China, the love of luxury has a Confucian essence.” For more, read here.
Online Travel Bookings Increase Sharply in Germany as Agencies Try to Adapt
According to the German trade publication FVW’s just published Travel Sales Dossier 2019, which contains a look a look at overall 2018 figures, travel agency sales lost momentum in the spring and closed the business year with moderate growth of just 2 percent to €26.9 billion ($30.2 billion), according to estimates by Werner Sülberg, head of the DRV market research committee. The estimates were based on figures in the fvw dossier and a survey of 40,000 consumers by the Nuremberg-based research firm GfK (Gesellschaft für Konsumforschung, or Society for Consumer Research). At the same time, the online sales market—it covers bookings made through online travel agencies (OTAs), tour operators and travel agencies grew by 13 percent to 13 percent to €29.3 billion ($32.9 billion). Online sales now account for about 43 percent of the total €67.9 billion ($76.1 billion) German leisure travel market, while “offline” sales have a declining 57percent (€38.6 billion/$43.3 billion) market share.
As the above table indicates, the top company is DER Touristik (which also claims, at times, to be the top seller of overseas or long-haul travel to Germans), which increased overall sales by 7.1 percent to €4.95 billion ($5.55 billion). Its leisure travel revenues grew jumped by 10 percent to €3.7 billion ($4.2 billion), while business travel revenues dropped slightly to €1.24 billion ($1.4 billion).
Check out the Connect Travel Schedule for the Event that Suits You
Connect Travel has a seamless calendar of tour and travel marketplace activities and events. Find out more about each of these upcoming events merely by clicking on its symbol.
Connect Tour, powered by Connect TRAVEL, takes place Aug. 26-28, 2019 at the Kentucky International Convention Center in Louisville, Ky. It brings domestic tour operators together with U.S. travel suppliers during pre-scheduled one-on-one Marketplace appointments. Featured speakers include WWE star and movie actor John Cena and Olympic Champion Michael Phelps, who has won 23 gold medals in swimming.
Active America China: The Receptive Edition, Sept. 17-18, San Gabriel, California. A boutique product development show, AACRE attracts 30-40 receptive tour operators who conduct business meetings with U.S. travel suppliers, who also take a field trip to Chinese tour operator offices.
The inaugural Connect THRIVE Summit, Oct. 3-5 in San Francisco, will focus on community development through LGBTQ travel, sports, and entertainment. The featured speaker at this year’s event is renowned television news anchor Anderson Cooper.
eTourism Summit, Oct. 7-9 in San Francisco, is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. A must-attend event, it brings together travel suppliers and providers who are the leading thinkers and practitioners at the forefront of travel’s digital frontier in an intimate setting where they get up-to-the-minute, real-life examples of the latest applications in video, content marketing, email marketing, search, social media, mobile and web design.
RTO Summit Florida, Oct. 23-24, in Kissimmee, Florida targets the large receptive tour operator community in Central Florida, bringing them together with travel suppliers who work the international market for educational sessions, business meetings and networking social functions.
Connect Travel Marketplace, Feb 19-21, 2020, at Florida’s Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center, is a young and emerging international travel show, specifically designed to address industry needs, by bringing international tour operators and U.S.-based receptive tour operators with U.S. suppliers and DMOs.
The Connect Travel Marketing Leadership Summit, also on Feb. 19-21, 2020 at Florida’s Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center, has an educational program focusing on trends and technologies that will transform tourism marketing in the next three to five years. A featured speaker at the 2019 Summit was former President George W. Bush.
Muhammad Ali’s Training Site Now an Attraction: The late heavyweight Muhammad Ali’s out-of-the-way training camp in the hills of northeastern Pennsylvania—near Deer Lake, which is about 85 miles northwest of Philadelphia—has been restored, and it opened to visitors a little more than a month ago. Ali once owned the seven-acre site, which has more than 15 log-cabin buildings, including a full-size boxing ring and training facilities, living quarters for Ali and his training team; a large, eat-in kitchen and a small mosque where Ali prayed. He used the site to train for some of his most memorable matches, including the second and third matches vs. Joe Frazier and a memorable 1974 title match against George Foreman. The camp was not kept up over the years and, hearing about the site and its state of neglect, Mike Madden, son of football coach and tv announcer John Madden, purchased the site and carefully restored all of the buildings to their original condition. INBOUND, whose managing editor is a lifelong boxing fan, visited the site several weeks ago and found it to be an inspiring experience. However, the facility needs to implement some standard attractions management practices. For now, the camp is open only on weekends and its principal revenue source is what it gets from donations. There is also limited parking. For those interested in more, visit www.fightersheaven.com, or call 570.968.2961.
The Empire State Building has a new premium ticket offering, the “All Access Tour”—an exclusive, guided tour for visitors which features elements of the building that are otherwise off-limits to general ticket holders. Available only through reservation at www.esbnyc.com for up to six people, visitors start their journey in a Celebrity Entrance corridor with private access to its green room. Featuring its own bathroom and make-up room, this is the same green room where stars like Kristen Bell, John Cena, Adriana Lima, Eminem, Millie Bobby Brown, and the Radio City Rockettes get ready for special appearances. There are complimentary snacks and non-alcoholic beverages, and an opportunity memorialize a visit with a selfie at the Halo Photo Booth. Following the green room stop, guests will embark on a private tour that includes a visit to the brand new guest-only entrance on 34th Street where they will receive a complimentary photo in front of a 25-foot model of the Empire State Building. This is followed by a behind the-scenes look at archival construction photos on the Concourse level, a visit to the world-famous 86th floor open-air Observatory, and the grand finale, the beautifully restored Art Deco Fifth Avenue lobby. The “All Access Tour” is available five times a day, Monday through Sunday and priced at $500 per person. Reservations are only available at www.esbnyc.com.
Kissimmee, “Vacation Rental Capital of the World,” Increases Inventory: Over the last four years, reports Experience Kissimmee, the destination’s number of vacation homes as increased 470 percent, DT Minich, president and CEO of Experience Kissimmee, told delegates attending the closing luncheon at IPW last month in Anaheim, adding, “As I travel the world and talk to international travelers, I hear that people like to live like an American and love that these vacation homes provide that opportunity.” Tour operators who are selling Kissimmee can choose from an inventory that includes more than 45,000 accommodations overall, including 22,000 vacation homes. For more information, contact: https://www.experiencekissimmee.com/travel-trade.
The All-Monorail Las Vegas Itinerary: The sales and marketing mavens at the Las Vegas Monorail, which stops at key attractions along its 3.9-mile (6.4-kilometer) which serves the Las Vegas Strip, are promoting a one-day, unlimited-ride pass costing just $12. The day-long itinerary is as follows: (1) Start the day at the Monorail’s northernmost station at the SLS Las Vegas, formerly the historic Sahara Hotel & Casino where the Rat Pack themselves performed. Start your adventure with quick cappuccino and croissant at the The Perq coffee shop or more substantial fare at the Northside Café. (2) Visit the Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino, where Elvis Presley famously performed when the hotel was known as the International Hotel. Today, it is home to the famous Super Book sports book, which has 25,000 square feet of sports betting action. (3) Convention and tradeshow visitors will appreciate the ease of traveling to the Monorail’s next destination—the Las Vegas Convention Center. Savvy show planners build Monorail fares directly into the cost of convention registration, meaning their attendees need just show their badge to have the run of the entire 3.9-mile Monorail route. (4) The final stop on the journey provides optimal access to The LINQ Promenade and the High Roller, the world’s largest observation wheel at 550 feet tall. From noon to 2 a.m., purchase a Happy Half Hour ticket for the High Roller and enjoy an open bar along with dazzling views for the duration of the 30-minute revolution. For more information, visit www.lvmonorail.com, or call 702-699-8200.
Will U.S. Hotels Outlook for Softer Demand, Occupancy Rates Impact 2020?
Coming as it did not too long after the conclusion of last month’s IPW in Anaheim, California, the projection by one of the U.S. hotel industry’s top authorities that demand is expected to decrease makes one wonder just how a mixed outlook for the hotel industry in the United States will impact the tour and travel industry next year.
As reported by Hotel News Now (HNN) in its coverage of the recent NYU International Hospitality Industry Investment Conference: “The pace of overall U.S. hotel industry growth has slowed, due in part to rising supply, growing expenses and less-than-aggressive pricing of average daily rate. But industry analysts point to some bright spots, like demand, group performance and a steady overall economy, that are contributing to forward motion, even if it comes at a slower pace.”
The account is rich in its coverage of the session that warranted the above conclusion—its featured speakers were Amanda Hite, president of the hotel industry research firm STR (STR is the parent company of Hotel News Now) and HVS President and CEO Stephen Rushmore Jr.—and revealed some newsy items, such as the following:
—STR’s latest forecast, prepared in partnership with Tourism Economics, is summarized in the following graphic.
— According to HVS, the markets that will have the most RevPAR growth over the next two years: San Francisco; Anaheim, California; Cleveland; Cincinnati; Chicago; Seattle and Atlanta.
—Hite also said that taking inflation into account, the U.S. hotel industry has in fact seen declining ADR growth for the last three months.
—Four of STR’s six class segments—midscale and economy (the six class segments are: Luxury, Upper Upscale, Upscale, Upper Midscale, Midscale and Economy) now show supply growth outpacing demand growth.
For the complete HNN article click here.
Mergers, Acquisitions, Buyouts and …
The tour and travel industry in Europe and, in particular, in the UK, seems more focused on the day-to-day drama revolving about the future of Thomas Cook—its stock price has dropped more than 80 percent in the past year and it can’t seem to find the right customer for which part(s) of the company it is trying to sell off in order to get some cash so that it can survive—than it does other major developments that, for the most part, reflect a generally healthy industry that continues to attract investors and suitors. Some of the major transactions involving major industry players in recent weeks include the following:
—Air Canada seems to have concluded the steps necessary to effect its takeover of the Canadian tour operator and airline group Transat for $400 million. Transat’s board of directors approved the agreement even though there was a later offer that was $C14 per share vs. Air Canada’s C$13 per share. The agreement is subject to shareholder groups as well as government regulatory authorities. Air Canada president and CEO Calin Rovinescu said his company intends to preserve the Transat and Air Transat brands and maintain the Transat head office and its key functions in Montreal.
—Lego Owner Leads Takeover of Merlin: The Danish billionaire family that owns Lego—KIRKBI, the Kirk Kristiansen family’s private holding and investment company— is leading a consortium to take over Merlin Entertainments, the second largest theme park operator in the world after Disney—its brands include Legoland; Alton Towers; Madame Tussauds attractions in more than 20 cities worldwide; Sea Life attractions in some 50 cities and the London Eye and three other Eye locations; and countless other properties. The deal by KIRKBI, a 29 percent shareholder in Merlin, was valued at $6.1 billion by Bloomberg. The private equity firm Blackstone Group and Canadian pension fund CPPIB were also a part of the consortium.
—Two Canadian based companies have been acquired by European travel giant Etraveli Group, which is headquartered near Stockholm, Sweden. Flight Network and its B2B division Huntington Travel, along and travel technology startup TripStack, will join Etraveli group in August; by which time competition authorities are expected to approve the acquisition. Founded in 2000 and Headquartered in Uppsala, Sweden, Etraveli Group operates with multiple brands in more than 50 markets globally with strong positions in the Nordics, UK, France and Germany but also a noteworthy presence in Southern Europe, Australia and specific markets in Asia and the Middle East. The acquisitions give the Group a significant position now in North America as well. TripStack Co-founder and FlightNetwork CEO Naman Budhdeo said the purchase will aggregate low cost carrier flights and put together virtual interline connections that were previously not available. The industry will see an enhanced B2B product from Huntington,” Budhdeo told the trade publication TravelPulse Canada. “It will be flights they can’t get with any other operator, we’ll give them the full breadth of low coast carrier options. 1.7 million Canadians fly from Buffalo for example. Agents will now have the content right there for them to offer low cost carriers like Jet Blue or Allegiant to purchase, allowing more visibility and options to offer their customers.”
—Germany’s DER Touristik Group is selling off its business travel operation to American Express Global Business Travel (GBT). The deal, for an undisclosed sum, requires anti-trust approvals and is expected to close in the third quarter of the year. The corporate travel business of DER, the third-largest tour operator in Germany, operates in 42 locations across Germany with about 600 staff. DER Touristik is parent company of Kuoni, which operates in 15 European countries. As such, the purchase would expand GBT’s footprint into Germany’s small and mid-sized companies. In addition, DER’s corporate clients would have access to GBT’s travel and expense systems and core technology platform.
HODGE PODGE: Shifts, Shakeups and Occasional Shaftings in the Tour and Travel Industry
Whitney Feather has been named manager of sales at Connect Travel (publisher of INBOUND). She joins the company from Meeting Professionals International, where she was director of business development for almost two years. Previously, she was marketing/communications manager at Central Florida Electric Cooperative. Prior to that, she was marketing, sales & event manager at Visit Florida, where she served for five years.
Kevin Langston has announced that he is retiring from his position as deputy commissioner of Explore Georgia, which is part of the Georgia Department of Economic Development. Prior to his tenure as deputy commissioner, Langston was division director, international, for the department, which he joined 14 years ago.
Chris Ellis has started a new position as CEO at 7M Tours, an Orlando-based tour operator that sells both inbound and outbound international product. He joins from Brand USA, where was director of global trade development, and where he served for three years. Previously, Ellis was a senior sales official at Visit Orlando. He was with the organization for almost 7 years.
Johanna D’LaRotta has been appointed as director, global market development, tourism division, at the Georgia Department of Economic Development. D’LaRotta comes to her new job from NDM Hospitality in the Orlando area. Previously, she had spent nearly 21 years at Visit Orlando, lastly as travel industry sales manager for Latin America.
Chad Enloe has been appointed vice president of sales for the Arlington (Texas) CVB. Previously, Enloe, 49, served as regional director of sales for Aimbridge Hospitality, where he was responsible for the sales efforts of 15 full-service hotels. Prior to that, he held senior sales positions for Omni Hotels.
Faced with what it says are rising issues in business travel and to bring its experience to the development of the business network, Paris-based TourCom Travel Management (TTM) has recruited Stéphane Roussel as director. Roussel previously spent a large part of his career, nearly 11 years, at American Express Business Travel where he was supplier partnership manager, and at HRG, the Global Travel Management division of Hogg Robinson Group.
Heather Egan has been named director of leisure & international sales for the Grapevine CVB. She comes to the new post from Visit Wichita, where she was convention sales manager. Previously, Egan held sales positions at Group Tour Media and the Hilton Garden Inn and Hampton Inn & Suites in Northeast Wichita. She is actually returning to the Grapevine bureau, having worked there previously for 12 years (2004-2016).
Jackie Ludwig has retired from her position as director of tourism at Visit Tucson, where she served for 11 years. Ludwig spent more than three decades in the tour and travel industry.
Travel PR and marketing company Hills Balfour—it represents Brand USA in the UK and Ireland—has announced a restructuring following managing director Jonathan Sloan’s decision to leave the company this summer. Sloan has been with the firm for 16 years. As part of the restructuring at Hills Balfour—it is owned by Kansas City-based MMGY—Simon Gidman has been named director of business development. He began his tenure at the newly created post on July 8. He joined Hills Balfour from Tourism Australia, where he was business events manager for the UK and Europe. He had previously worked for Visit England for 10 years.
Tara Letort has been promoted to senior director of group public relations and communications for New Orleans & Company. Letort, who joined the organization 12 years ago, was previously director of group public relations. Prior to joining New Orleans & Co., she worked at the Zimmerman Agency in Tallahassee, Florida.
Bethesda, Md.-based Streetsense, a design and strategy firm, has announced that Josh Collins has joined the firm as a director of destination activations + marketing. Collins brings to Streetsense more than 20 years of experience across both the entertainment and travel and tourism industries having co-founded the digital agency Kinekt, as well as working with musicians such as The Roots and John Legend. A sought-after speaker on destination marketing and member of the Advisory Board for Connect Travel’s eTourism Summit, Collins will focus on helping destinations create, curate, and market travel experiences to drive visitor demand and boost economic impact.
Global hotel online wholesaler Travellanda has appointed Carlos Correia as a sales and business development manager who will cover Portugal, Spain, South America, the USA and Canada. He joined the company from Altura Destination Services, where he was a Key Account Manager, responsible for sales, business development and marketing strategy. Previously, he was an Account Manager at Hotelbeds, and prior to that a Host Manager at Iberostar Resorts.
Thomas Cook has appointed Kelly Cookes as head of commercial partnerships and sales planning. Cookes had been head of Thomas Cook-owned Freedom Travel Group since 2014, and will take up her new role when she returns from maternity leave in August.
The Freedom Travel Group, which is owned by Thomas Cook which includes North American product in its offerings, has made three new appointments to its commercial team. The action comes just after Matt Harding (right) was promoted to head of the consortium. All three have joined from Thomas Cook: (1) Vikki Groves joins as marketing manager, moving from the Thomas Cook cruise team. She previously spent six years at Holland America Line Cruises. (2) Jacqueline Brookes, a veteran of 25 years in the tour and travel industry, also joins as compliance manager. (3) Nicola Pilling moves to the newly-created position of assistant supplier partnerships manager. She moves from Thomas Cook’s commercial team. Harding, who replaced Kelley Cookes (see above item) after the latter moved to a commercial role at Thomas Cook, said: “I am thrilled that we have expanded our team with these great new appointments.”
Happy Work Anniversaries
Janice Bennett for 25 years at New York Cruise Lines
Cathy Tolentino for 8 years at Aquarium of the Bay
Sarah Rothstein for 6 years at The Walt Disney Family Museum
Gisel Vidals for 5 years at Big Bus Tours
Atarah Lipscombe for 3 years at Hotelbeds Group
Rachel Devereaux for 1 year at Visit California
POSTED INDUSTRY JOBS
From SearchWide Global:
—Visit Vancouver USA is searching for a president & CEO. Click here for more information.
—Destinations International is seeking to hire a senior director, strategic alliances. For more information, click here.
—The Empire State Realty Trust (Empire State Building) has an opening for a new vice president of operations. For more information, click here.
—Visit St. Pete/Clearwater is looking for a president & CEO. For more information, click here.
—Experience Prince George’s (Maryand) has an opening for a sales manager. For details, click here.
—Meet Minneapolis is searching for a new senior director of destination sales. Click here for more information.
—Visit Oakland has an opening for a sale manager. For additional information, visit here.
—The Oklahoma City Convention & Visitors Bureau is looking for a vice president of sales. For more information, click here.
—The Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau has an opening for a vice president of people strategies. Click here for more information.
—Discover the Palm Beaches has an opening for the position of associate vice president—integrated marketing. Find more information here.
—A leading hotel management company is searching for a national revenue & sales reporting manager. For more information, click here.
—From HARP wallen Global Executive Recruitment and Search:
—A London-based ultra luxury travel company is looking for a senior travel designer. For more information, visit here.
—Also from London: a tour operator there is looking for a head of marketing. For more details, visit here.
—Another tour operator/DMC is looking to hire a German business development manager. For more information, click here.