Brand USA Week in London: Remapping Europe as a Single Overseas Source Market
If the vision is correct—and, at first blush, there seems to be no mitigating reason why it shouldn’t be—marketing to key countries on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean from the U.S. will be one whose target is not just individual nations from the global region; rather those seeking to promote travel to the United States will consider it to be, and work it as such, a Pan-European market.
Of all the points made in a sort of end-of-the-fiscal year report at Brand USA’s recent Marketing Committee meeting, Tom Garzilli, Brand USA’s chief marketing officer, emphasized this point more than any other, and for good reason. In the short term, it is the motivation for the organization’s Brand USA Travel Week Europe September 9-12 at London’s County Hall, and we will have to wait to assess just how much business and the quality of that business is conducted between the tour operators from 20 European countries¹ and the 100 or so travel suppliers—mostly DMOs—from the United States when they meet for three days of appointments.
In the long term, the move to the notion of a Pan-European market will signal the move toward a greater efficiency of scale—as Brand USA and its hundreds of partners will be able funnel resources with a common signature, rather than execute overlapping programs for the region’s more than 25 countries.
Garzilli introduced the notion of a Pan-European market after walking committee members and a fair number of observers from the tour and travel industry in Minnesota (the meeting was held in Minneapolis) through a series of tables using data from the U.S. National Travel and Tourism Office (NTTO), punctuating the presentation with instances of just how sizeable and just how lucrative—yet just how accessible—the overall European market is.
First, there were two side-by-side tables of the Top 11 Global Markets for the U.S., ranked both in terms of visitors and spend. The UK, Germany and France figure in both.
USA’s Top 11 Global Markets
“Of course, all of these markets are important to us,” said Garzilli, noting, however, “If you think of Europe for a minute as its own market economy, and why that makes sense .. the proximity, the geography of Europe itself being small and compact … “
Top Ten European Markets
“(Consider) the amount of product, the amount of U.S. cities served,” Garzilli continued, noting the fact that, from Europe, “forty-three or more us cities are served … out of 35 gateway airports … the fact that each of these gateway airports count on rest of Europe to feed into those flights … and the fact that all of those U.S. cities that lie outside of the initial our gateways lend to our story around proximity and our desire to get consumers to try new places.”
“All of that, along with media partnerships and … are pretty much pan-European deliveries,” he explained, adding, “all of that makes a lot of sense as to why we should look at Europe a single market—at least in term of some of our activities.” He then pointed to another dual table set which showed that, as a single market, Europe is No.3, behind only Canada and Mexico in visits to the U.S. and No. 1 in total spend.
Concluded Garzilli: “So, looking at Europe as a single market in many ways makes sense to us, and that’s why we have a pan-European strategy around our trade, and that’s why we started with a Brand USA Travel Week Europe. While we’re based in London, it is truly a pan-European event.”
¹ The countries are: United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, The Netherlands, Ireland, Sweden, Switzerland, Denmark, Belgium, Norway, Poland, Austria, Luxembourg, Portugal, Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, and Croatia.
For a list of exhibitors, click here.
Why Are Canadians Staying Away from the United States?
Cost and Politics are the Two Main Reasons: There is no disputing the fact that arrivals in the United States from Canada—it is the largest source market for international travelers to the USA—have fallen off this year. According to preliminary figures posted by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Travel and Tourism Office (NTTO/ Statistics Canada, arrivals were down by 3 percent, year-to-date for the first five months of the year vs. the tame period in 2018. But why?
Usually, travel marketers in the United States are left to wondering “Why?”—and trying to figure out the answer using anecdotal sources or partial information. But, thanks to XBorder Canada (XBC)—it is a new syndicated product produced by XBorder Research Group, a partnership between Travel Market Insights Inc. and DataPath Systems—there is a more definitive answer. In a survey conducted this past March and April in which XBC asked 19,848 Canadians that if they had traveled to the U.S. in the past 12 months, and if not, why not?
- Half (50 percent) of those who had not visited the U.S. indicated that the cost or price was too high, and they simply did not have the money to spend on travel to the U.S. Among those with concerns over the cost of travel:
—27 percent did not travel at all;
—73 percent did travel, but not to the USA; and
—Among those who did choose to travel, most stayed mainly within Canada (88 percent), while 13 percent went to Mexico/Caribbean, 7 percent went to Europe, and 6 percent went to India/Asia.
- The second primary reason for not coming to the U.S. in 2018 and early 2019 was “The Current Political Situation in the U.S.” Among those who chose not to visit the U.S., 30 percent indicated that the political situation in the U.S. had a major impact on that decision.
Those who are not visiting due to the current U.S. political situation are not limited to any single type of demographic group. Aside from being slightly older (49 percent are over the age of 54, compared to other non-visitors where 39 percent are over 54, and the population in general where 38 percent are over 54 years old), they cut across all demographic categories similar to the general population of Canada.
- Coming in a close third was the currency exchange rate. INBOUND suspects that it would have been a more significant reason at one point, after the Canadian dollar tumbled from a high of $1.05 against the U.S. dollar in July 2011 and fell all the way to $0.70 in January 2016, then crawled back to about $0.80 in May 2016 and has been at or near that level since then. Though still a factor for the 29 percent who said it was a reason not to travel to the USA, it seems as if most Canadians have learned how to deal with the stronger U.S. dollar.
The table below lays out all the key reasons given by Canadians who chose not to travel to the U.S. this year.
Q: You indicated that you did not travel to the United States. Please check any of the reasons below that had a major impact on your decision not to travel to the United States in 2018:
You can find the survey results and more information in the new XBC newsletter, Up in Canada. For more information, contact: [email protected] or [email protected].
Germany—Retailers Try to Stave off a Negative-Growth Year
With preliminary figures for the first half of 2019 showing that visits to the USA by German travelers were flat (actually, they were negative, down by one-tenth of a percent vs. last year), tour operators have been working on moving 2020 packages off the shelf. And German retailers, fortunate to have had a good year so far with recovering Mediterranean destination traffic, are trying to salvage the rest of the year.
Perhaps the authoritative source on the condition of the market, TUI, Europe’s largest tour operator, which is headquartered in Hanover, German, had this to say in its just-issued (August 3) quarterly report: “We expect improvement in summer trading as we lap the height of last year’s heatwave. Bookings and margins have improved year-on-year over the most recent weeks, however pricing remains behind cost inflation, therefore we continue to anticipate margins to be lower than prior year.”
Sales revenues remained negative in July, with the Tats-Reisebüro-Spiegel (Tats = Travel Agency Technology and Services) reporting that the invoiced total turnover of German travel agents was minus 1.9 percent in the month of July 2019 compared to the same month of the previous year, and that billed tourist sales showed a minus of 5.5 percent in July.
The German travel trade publication FVW, said however that activity should return to the “plus zone“ later this year. It also noted that some travel companies have launched late season offers to stimulate end-of-season sales.
Part of the challenge for any industry sector this year is the emerging evidence that the country is about to enter—if it has not already entered—an economic recession. As the Washington Post put it a week ago: “The German economy shrank 0.1 percent in the second quarter after anemic 0.4 percent growth at the start of the year. Two consecutive quarters of negative growth is the technical definition of a recession, and Germany is nearly there, sparking fears of an official recession by the end of the year.”
Meanwhile, the latest data posted by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Travel and Tourism Office (NTTO), showed the following numbers on German travel to the United States so far this year:
The Best and Worst U.S. Airports Identified
San Diego International Airport is the best U.S. airport, according to a new study conducted by The Points Guy, a U.S.-based travel website and blog that produces news and stories on travel, aviation, points and miles, politics and credit cards. It claims 10 million unique visitors a month. Its just-released study examined the 50 busiest U.S. airports by number of passengers, focusing on amenities, commute time and on-time flight records. Overall, calculations were based on 34 different factors, including flight delays, cancellations, ride-hailing prices, restaurants, lounges, security wait times and more.
San Diego International Airport was awarded the top spot because of its high grades for ample amenities (#11), a great record of timeliness (#16) and the best score for commute time (#1), likely for its convenient proximity to the downtown area. Phoenix Sky Harbor, a known travelers’ favorite, came in second place this year. Phoenix had the second-best commute time but fell short in terms of getting flights in and out on time (#39).
Best U.S. Airports
1. San Diego International Airport
2. Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport
3. Portland (Oregon) International Airport
4. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport
5. Sacramento International Airport
With only one lounge and few restaurants, said The Points Guy, it’s no surprise that Chicago’s Midway International Airport ranked in the Bottom 5 for amenities (#46). That, paired with long wait times (#46) and a less-than-desirable commute (#33), earned the Chicago airport the last spot on the list. Orlando earned its second-to-last position for poor amenities (#42) and long commute times (#46).
Worst U.S. Airports
46. Southwest Florida International Airport (Lee County, Florida)
47. Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport
48. Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport
49. Orlando International Airport
50. Chicago Midway International Airport
“Frequent travelers aren’t likely to move to be near the best airports,” said Scott Mayerowitz, executive news director of The Points Guy. “However, knowing the pros and cons of each airport is a helpful guide when planning your trip. If you know the airport you’re traveling through lacks amenities, pack a meal. Leave early if commute times are unpredictable, and try to schedule connecting flights through more-reliable airports.”
Individual category winners include John F. Kennedy Airport in New York City (amenities), San Diego International Airport (commute) and Portland International Airport in Oregon (on-time flights).
Conversely, Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport took last place in the amenity’s category, while Newark Liberty International Airport ranked #50 for both commute and on-time record.
A Note on Methodology: The study examined the 50 busiest U.S. airports by number of passengers and used data from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, ExpertFlyer.com, the CLEAR website, Uber and Lyft’s fare estimators, Google Maps, LEED, the airports’ official websites and more. The data for driving times was generated through a partnership with INRIX. The scores were derived from relative performance of airports in passenger comfort, commuter accessibility and reliability. Calculations were based on 34 different factors, including flight delays, cancellations, ride-hailing prices, restaurants, lounge access and security wait times.
e-Tourism Summit’s Content Rich Programs and Workshops Are Made for the e-Travel Marketer
Less than two months away, Connect Travel’s 20th Annual eTourism Summit launches for three days, October 7-9 at the Park 55 hotel in San Francisco. Preceding two days of an agenda that features nearly 60 presentations and discussions is a one-day pre-conference program of four high-intensity workshops designed and crafted especially for e-marketers who want to equip themselves with post-graduate knowledge and skills in four specific areas:
1. Developing Story—Compelling Consumers to Action through Content: Learn first-hand how to create your own storytelling marketing plan to engage new and different audiences like leading travel brands.
2. Crisis Management for DMOs: Whether it’s Mother Nature or man-made, no destination can escape this reality: fire, flood, earthquake, hurricane, terrorism, or ??? The question is not what will happen and when, but whether you will be ready for it. Explore and define the role of a DMO…what’s required and what’s not.
3. LinkedIn Marketing Solutions for Destination Marketers: Traditionally utilized as a way to reach B2B decision makers and other business-focused audiences, LinkedIn also helps marketers reach valuable audiences like young, affluent travelers, meeting planners, and the luxury market.
4. Influencer Marketing—An A to Z Workshop in Implementing Influencers & Digital Creators into Your Marketing Strategy: After a one-hour presentation on influencer marketing 10, plus the latest trends and most effective ways to utilize influencers, we’ll do a deep dive into your year-long digital strategy.
Seating for each of the workshops is limited, so register ASAP to make sure that you can go to the workshop you want. For information on the rest of the eTourism Summit’s agenda, which includes the ceremony for the annual eTourism Summit Excellence Awards—The ETSY’s.
To get more information on the workshops and the complete eTourism Summit agenda, and to register, visit https://www.etourismsummit.com/.
No Surprise Here: New York, Florida are No. 1 & 2 State Destinations for Overseas Visitors
And More of Them Arrive via NYC than Any Other USA Point of Entry: Because the collection and distribution of data collected by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has improved over the past year, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Travel and Tourism Office (NTTO) has expedited the way it processes the information
And the information recently posted by NTTO shows that more than half of all visitors to the United States visit either New York State or California. Add California to the measure, and the data tell us that more than 7 out of 10 overseas visitors make in these three states. We’ll leave it to the reader to conduct their own analysis of what the data mean.
Where They Are Landing: More than one of every five international travelers who flew into the United States during the first half of this year came here via the New York City metropolitan area as 16.6 percent came via JFK International Airport, which is situated in the Borough of Queens, while another 4.9 percent landed at Newark’s Liberty International Airport (a good portion of which, locals might tell you, is located in Elizabeth, New Jersey). A little more than one out of every eight visitors land at Miami International Airport, which has become a de facto capital city for some of the Americas, and a little less than one out of every eight arrive at Los Angeles International Airport, which has benefited from increased air lift from China over the past five years.
Glen Campbell Museum to Open Next Year in Nashville: Scheduled to open early next year is the Glen Campbell Museum & Rhinestone Stage, which will honor the life of the musician and singer whose recordings and stage performances were popular in both the pop music and country music categories. The “Rhinestone Cowboy”—it is the name of Campbell’s biggest recording hit—will showcase different stages of Campbell’s career, displaying a collection of personal artifacts, including guitars, instruments, golf clubs, family photos, stage clothing and more. The new, 4,000 square-foot attraction will be located at the corner of Broadway and 2nd Avenue, and, in the evening, will turn into The Rhinestone Stage, a live music venue that hopes to attract local as well as nationally popular acts. Campbell died in 2017 at the age of 81. A specific opening date will be announced later. In the meantime, the answers to travel trade inquiries about Nashville attractions can be found at https://www.visitmusiccity.com/travel-trade/group-travel.
Scheduled to open on September 19 is the Fashion District in Philadelphia, more than replacing the old Gallery at East Market, which stood 9th and East Market Streets. The Fashion District spans three city blocks, features over 800,000 square feet of flagship, traditional, and outlet shopping, as well as destination dining, entertainment, and art and cultural exhibits. Among the scores of shops and stores that one will find at the Fashion District are: Pandora, South Fellini, UNIQUELY Philly, Hollister, a Levi’s outlet store, H&M, A Columbia factory store, EXPRESS, francesca’s, Aéropostale, Bella Shoes and Burlington. The Fashion Center also features more than a dozen eateries. Convention delegates will enjoy the location as the new attraction is located in Center City Philadelphia, within easy walking distance of the city’s historic district, Convention Center, and Reading Terminal Market. For more information, visit https://fashiondistrictphiladelphia.com/ or call 215.925.7162.
Tour an Amazon Fulfillment Center: Having purchased his fair share of goods from the giant online merchandiser, INBOUND’s editor thought it would be an interesting experience to see just how the what the company looks like inside one of its warehouse fulfillment centers. Earlier this year, Amazon began offering tours at about two dozen sites in North America. We chose the one in Breinigsville, Pa., which is about a 60-mile drive north of Philadelphia. What one learns in the approximately one-hour tour is that, even though tens of thousands of orders a day are handled in the 600,000 square-foot building (it’s about mid-range as far as fulfillment centers are in size) we visited, the whereabouts of every item and every package is known at every moment it is inside the building. Because of the scale and range of activity involved, even the smallest economy—such as the 40 thousandth of a second that is saved by using an air pressure stamp to fuse an address label on to a box (thereby avoiding delays that might occur if a regular adhesive or a water-based solution were used to apply a label) reduces the amount of dead time. Packages are separated according to size as they’re moved along and placed into bins that are loaded onto waiting trucks, whose schedules are set according the flow of packages that that is tallied by the program, which is constantly being tweaked by IT teams that are a major part of the scene. Our reaction to the tour? In a word, Whew! To book a tour, first go online. The ad hoc group that we helped form totaled 18 people. Reservations are needed for groups of 10 or more. Click here to find a site and book your tour … which is free.
Children of the 1980s—Video Game Nirvana is Here: Just opened in Lancaster County Pennsylvania is Gameseum, a pinball, arcade and video game museum as well as a working arcade. Its owner, 21-year-old Steven Van Splinter Jr., has filled the museum with a sizable collection of original coin-operated arcade games, which is loaded with games from the 80s, including include Asteroids, Millipede, Pac-Man, Ms. Pac-Man, Galaga, Track & Field, Space Invaders, Mortal Kombat and Mario Bros. Its pinball machine collection dates back to the 1940s and includes Williams and Gottlieb machines and wedgeheads such as F-14 Tomcat, Gorgar, Skyrocket by Bally, Comet, Magnotron, Strato Flite, Liberty Bell, Lady Luck, Super Star, Mibs, Skyjump, Wild Wild West, 4 Square, Mayfair and Jive Time. Rather than insert quarter after quarter into the machines, patrons can play on a $10 per-hour basis or a $25 all-day pass. For more information, visit www.thegameseum.com.
Just Send the Bill to Grandad and Grandma—UK Report Finds Many of Them Paying for the Holiday
More and more, those multigenerational holidays—those that include mom and dad, the kids and the grandparents—are being paid for by the grandparents.
Going a little deeper in the research on the subject, this is what Travelzoo found out some interesting facts in a research project on the subject among 1,700 UK travelers. The key findings from the report on the subject include the following:
—More than 40 percent of those booking the holiday were grandparents.
—One-third (34 percent) of the respondents indicated that the grandparents also paid for the whole family.
—Only 13 percent of the parents, meanwhile paid for everyone.
—More than a quarter gave “exploring new places” as the favorite multi-generational activity.
—About the same number (26 percent) of respondents indicated that eating together was their favorite activity.
—Another report by over by the senior travel specialist Saga revealed that over-50s account for 58 percent of the total travel and tourism spend in the UK, while spending from younger generations has reduced.
—Some 48 percent of grandparents said that, in hindsight, they would have liked to have gone on a multi-generational holiday with their own parents and children
—Thirty-seven percent of respondents said that they are booking another multi-generational holiday next year.
Said Travelzoo’s UK general manager James Clarke: “It’s interesting to see that it is the grandparents who are pushing for the multi-generational holidays, both in a financial and emotional sense. As our lives become busier and it becomes more difficult for families to spend quality together, big family holidays across the generations become more and more important.”
NEW AIR SERVICE
—Lufthansa Group recently announced a number of new transatlantic connections which will launch next summer. The expansion affects both Lufthansa out of Munich and Eurowings—Lufthansa’s low cost brand—out of both Munich and Frankfurt. (Lufthansa’s corporate headquarters are in Cologne, but its operations base and primary hub are at Frankfurt Airport, and its secondary hub is at Munich Airport.)
—As of June 1, 2020, Lufthansa will launch 6 weekly flights between Munich and Seattle. These flights will operate with the following schedule every day except Thursdays: This will complement Lufthansa’s existing Frankfurt to Seattle flight.
—And, as of May 4, 2020, Lufthansa will launch 5 weekly flights between Munich and Detroit. These flights will operate with the following schedule on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays.
—Starting April 6, 2020, Eurowings will launch 2 weekly flights between Munich and Las Vegas. These flights will operate on Mondays and Fridays, and will complement Eurowings’ existing Dusseldorf to Las Vegas flight, as well as the Frankfurt to Las Vegas route that they are beginning as of October 2019.
—On April 7, 2020, Eurowings will launch 3 weekly flights between Munich and Orlando. These flights will operate with the following on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays; this will complement Lufthansa’s existing Frankfurt to Orlando flight.
—As of April 29, 2020, Eurowings will launch 5 weekly flights between Frankfurt and Phoenix. These flights will operate on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays.
—Beginning June 1, 2020, Eurowings will launch 3 weekly flights between Frankfurt and Anchorage on Mondays, Thursdays, and Saturdays.
Other new service that has recently begun includes the following:
—United Airlines has announced that it will start flying nonstop between four United States hubs and Tokyo’s close-in Haneda Airport on March 28 of next year. The four hubs are Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City/Newark and Washington, D.C. Tickets for the new service went on sale August 17. With the launch of flights to Haneda, United said that passengers headed for Tokyo from Chicago and Washington, D.C. no longer will have the option of flying nonstop into Narita. But flights from Houston, Los Angeles, New York City/Newark, Honolulu, Denver, Guam and San Francisco will continue to fly into Narita as the carrier shifts some operations to Haneda.
—Delta Air Lines will add daily nonstop flights from the Northeast to London’s Gatwick Airport next summer, in addition to resuming service to Manchester, England, and increasing its presence at Heathrow. The carrier will begin daily service to London Gatwick, located about 1.5 hours south of central London, from New York’s JFK International Airport on May 21 next spring and Boston’s Logan International Airport on May 22.
—Also, on May 21, Delta Air Lines will resume nonstop service Boston and Manchester.
—On March 29, Delta Air Lines will increase capacity to Heathrow by 15 percent with three daily flights including its first daytime flight between JFK and Heathrow. Its partner, Virgin Atlantic, will operate an additional five daily flights.
—Starting December 21, Delta Air Lines will offer daily service between JFK International in New York and El Dorado International Airport in Bogota, Colombia, starting Dec. 21. The new nonstop flight will operate year-round.
—American Airlines has launched new service from Philadelphia to Bologna, Italy and to and Berlin. The Berlin connection operates four times a week, as does the flight to Bologna.
—KLM has launched a nonstop transatlantic service between its hub in Amsterdam and Las Vegas.. The connection will operate on Thursdays and Sundays, with the flights expanding on the Air France-KLM KLM will be the sole operator of this route.
—United Airlines has begun daily service between Newark and Prague.
—TAP Air Portugal launched two new international routes from Lisbon. A Lisbon-San Francisco flight operates five times weekly, as does a new Lisbon-Washington Dulles connection.
HODGE PODGE: Shifts, Shakeups and Occasional Shafting’s in the Tour and Travel Industry
Anne Madison is stepping down from her position as chief strategy and communications officer for Brand USA. Madison, one of the earliest senior executives at the organization, has served more than seven years in her role. At the recent meeting of the Brand USA board of directors, president and CEO Chris Thompson effusively praised Madison’s work, noting that she “facilitated the development of a statement of purpose for the organization … that still has staying power today.” Madison, who has served in senior executive positions at several major corporations, will be taking on a consultancy role with Brand USA, while she also pursues her “career bucket list” and “a desire and need to focus on some important personal commitments.”
Duane Parrish merits double kudos. First, it was recently announced that he is assuming the chairmanship of Travel South USA board of directors this month. Then, at about the same time, it was announced that his peers on the U.S. Travel Association’s National Council of State Travel Directors had selected him as State Travel Director of the Year. Candidates for are nominated by state and territory tourism directors. A slate of three finalists is presented annually for selection by ballot.
Caroline Moultrie has been appointed managing director of the global tourism marketing company MMGY Hills Balfour in what the agency describes as an “enhanced leadership structure.” Moultrie joins form the World Travel & Tourism Council, where she was most recently executive vice president of membership and commercial. She succeeds Jonathan Sloan, who recently stepped down from the post of managing director after 17 years of service. Moultrie was previously group marketing director of Manchester Airport Group, head of direct marketing at Monarch Airlines and worked in corporate sales at Virgin Atlantic. She will join the company in September.
Mike Waterman has been appointed chief sales officer for Visit Orlando. He comes to the agency after having had 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.
Paula Lacey, Advantage Travel Partnership group commercial director and board member, is leaving the consortium in September to relocate to Dubai. Lacey, who is moving to the Middle East for personal reasons, worked at Advantage for three years. Advantage, meanwhile, has announced Lee Ainsworth, trading and product manager for Advantage Holidays, has been promoted to head of Advantage Holidays. Prior to joining Advantage, Lacey held numerous leadership positions in the travel industry, including, global franchise director at easyHotel, plus a number of senior roles within TUI’s specialist & activity division.
Julie Virgilio has been named director, strategic partnerships at TRAVELSAVERS Canada. Virgilio brings to TRAVELSAVERS over 28 years of wholesale and retail industry experience. In her new position, Julie will work closely with TRAVELSAVERS preferred suppliers, to develop targeted and strategic marketing programs to support a diverse range of travel segments and products. Virgilio started her career with Transat Holidays in 1992. She has held roles with Transat Tours Canada, Flight Network and Transat
Jenny McConnell has been named regional sales manager at the Central Pennsylvania CVB. She joins the bureau from the Voith Group, where she was a tradeshow/event and project specialist. Her previous tenures include six-and-a-half years as director of sales for Destination Gettysburg, and nearly three years as a tour and travel associate at the York County CVB.
Following a two-year departure from the company Former Saga sales executive Natasha Jones has rejoined the tour as a business development manager. She will be responsible for helping support key travel agent partners while developing new partnerships and helping them grow their Saga business.
Audrey Jastrzembskis is the new director of sales for APG Brazil. APG is an airline representation and solutions company. In Brazil, it offers ticketing, ticketing and distribution services to more than 84 airlines, as well as representing a number of tour and travel companies. She has over 18 years of experience working for companies in Brazil and England, including tenures with Varig and Etihad Airways in Brazil and also for Royal Air Brunei and Latam in England.
Blanca Espinosa has joined Luxury Van & Shuttle Bus in New York City as chief sales executive, managing partner. She was previously regional business development director at Super Shuttle. Espinosa has also served in senior sales and marketing positions with Gray Line New York and CitySightsNY/Airlink NYC.
Funway Holidays managing director Melissa Tilling has announced that she is leaving the company after 11 years. Tilling joined the USA and Caribbean specialist in 2008 and served as product and commercial director before being appointed MD in 2017. Last year, Funway was acquired by Apple Leisure Group Vacations, which has since launched sister operator Travel Impressions in the UK. “This is an exciting time for Funway Holidays as part of the Apple Leisure Group, with new opportunities to develop and grow with Travel Impressions in the UK,” said Tilling.
After 22 years with the company, Elisha Thomae has left Visual Turismo and has been replaced by former MMT Gapnet and later Flytour executive Thais Machado, who takes over as marketing and trade manager for the CVC-owned tour operator brand.
S. Renee Wilson has signed on as director of sales with Running Subway Productions, a Manhattan-based entertainment production company that conceptualizes, produces, markets and manages iconic productions and exhibits. She joins the company from The Ride, where she served for four-and-a-half years. Previously, she held senior sales positions with Harlem Spirituals/New York Visions and Ripley’s Believe it or Not! Times Square.
Timothy Liu, previously senior director, commercial strategy, has appointed to the position of managing director of sales planning and effectiveness for Air Canada. This is a new role that is designed to remove current duplication in the sales organization; and to centralize and build a center of excellence to support their field sales teams, agency partners and corporate sales team. Replacing Liu is Virgilio Russi, previously senior director of sales for Canada, is appointed to the position of managing director of international sales. Virgilio will continue to lead Air Canada’s participation in the Trans-Atlantic Joint Venture.
Tom Norton has joined Visit Jacksonville as a new national account manager, focusing on sports tourism. Norton started his career at the U.S. Soccer Federation where he spent two years as coordinator. In 2006 he transitioned into operations associate at the Orange Bowl Committee in Miami and since 2009 he has held several positions at the Gator Bowl Sports/Jacksonville Sports Council, the latter one being vice president of events and operations.
Also from Air Canada, Lisa Pierce, previously s senior director for USA sales and market development, has appointed to the new position of managing director of Canada and USA sales. In her expanded role, Pierce will lead the North American sales team and will be responsible for developing and implementing the sales strategies to ensure North American targets are achieved.
Direct Travel has announced that Stephen Smith will be taking on the newly formed role of senior vice president, leisure marketing, North America. He previously held the role of senior vice president, marketing & communications at Vision Travel which was acquired by Direct Travel in 2017. Direct Travel was recently listed at #9 on the Travel Weekly Power List with sales of $5.4 billion in 2018.
Industry veteran Steve Gorga is joining 30Seconds the AI-driven company 30 Seconds To Fly as executive vice president, the Americas. Gorga has led several major travel industry suppliers over the past many years. Most notably, he was CEO of Travel Impressions, a subsidiary for American Express. He has also Tourism Holdings Inc., Long Island and New York City as CEO and President.
Kate Kane Bewley has been named manager, tour sales & customer service, for Express Air Coach. A veteran of nearly 15 years in the tour and travel industry, she comes to the position from Churchill Downs Incorporated. Previously, Bawley was director of sales for Visit Southern Indiana; prior to that, she was a sales manager at Louisville Tourism.
Happy Work Anniversaries
Dorothy Abernathy for 19 years at Sensational Travel
Donna Carpenter for 10 years at Cabarrus County (N.C.) CVB
Kelly Miller for 6 years at Visit Huntington Beach
Michael Giddens for 4 years at Pacific Coachways Charter Services Inc.
Madelyn Olguin for 3 years at Apple Leisure Group
Jeffrey Abbaticchio for 3 years at Visit St. Pete/Clearwater
Roni Stevens for 2 years at DC Trails
POSTED INDUSTRY JOBS
From SearchWide Global:
—Visit Dallas is looking for a president and CEO. For more details, click here.
—Visit Vancouver USA is searching for a president & CEO. Click here for more information.
—Visit Sacramento has an opening for a director of sales. Click here for more information.
—Great Wolf Resorts is looking for someone to fill the position of vice president of sales. Visit here for more information.
—Visit Mesa is looking for a director of national sales. For more information, visit here.
—Destinations International is seeking to hire a senior director, strategic alliances. For more information, click here.
—The Saugatuck Douglas Area Convention & Visitors Bureau is searching for a new executive director. Click here for more information.
—The Georgia World Congress Center has an opening for a senior director of sales. Click here for more information.
—Visit St. Pete/Clearwater is looking for a president & CEO. For more information, click here.
—The Beverly Hills Conference & Visitors Bureau is searching for a vice president of business development. For more details visit here.
—A hotel management company is searching for a corporate director of revenue strategy. Click here for more information.
—Experience Prince George’s (Maryland) has an opening for a sales manager. For details, click here.
—Meet Minneapolis is searching for a senior director of destination sales. For details, check here.
—The Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau has an opening for a vice president of people strategies. Click here for more information.
—A leading hotel management company based in Dallas is searching for a national revenue & sales reporting manager. For more information, click here.
—From HARP wallen Global Executive Recruitment and Search:
—A destination management company in the Greater London area is looking for a product manager. For more information, click here.
—A destination management company is searching for someone who is fluent in Portuguese and English to be a country manager to be based in Lisbon, Portugal. Click here for more information.
—A London-based ultra luxury travel company has an opening for a senior travel designer. For more information, visit here.