The San Diego Tourism Authority’s board of directors has appointed Julie Coker as its new president and CEO. Coker, wo will be leaving her post as president and CEO of the Philadelphia CVB, succeeds Joe Terzi, who announced his retirement in 2019 after 10 years in his role with the tourism authority. Coker has served with the Philadelphia CVB since 2010. She was senior vice president of its convention division and executive vice president before becoming president and CEO in 2016. Coker has more than 30 years of hospitality industry experience, including 21 years with Hyatt Hotels, where she held general manager positions for properties in Philadelphia, Chicago and Oakbrook, Illinois.
Lori Harnois is leaving her post as executive director of the six-state Discover New England tourism promotion organization in order to take over Jan. 31 as the new director of New Hampshire’s Division of Travel and Tourism Development. Harnois was unanimously confirmed for the position earlier this month by the agency’s Executive Council. She succeeds Victoria Cimino, who was director of the division from 2014 until April 2019, when she became CEO of the Williamsburg (Va.) Tourism Council. Amy Bassett, state tourism deputy director, has served as acting director since April.
Luisa Mendoza, well known in the travel and tourism trade in the New York City area, has struck out on her own in founding Global Tourism Sports & Entertainment (GTSE). In doing so, she leaves BSE Global, where she was director of global tourism development, promoting the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets, the Barclays Center and the NHL’s New York Islanders. Previously, Mendoza was senior director, tourism market development, Latina America-USA Hispanic market, for New York City & Company.
Tracy Harris recently joined the Reno-Sparks Convention & Visitors Authority as tourism sales manager. She joins he agency from Eldorado Resorts, where she was national sales manager. Previously, she was general manager of Premium with Levy Restaurants Reno for four years.
Lori Timony has been promoted to the position of senior vice president, new market development, at Leisure Pass Group. Previously, she was senior vice of global trade sales for nearly three years. Prior to that she served Smart Destinations Inc. as vice president of channel sales and strategic accounts. She had been with Smart Destinations for more than 15 years.
Travel Nevada has named Juraj “George” Sojka its new international market manager, with responsibility for the organization’s efforts in Europe and the United Kingdom. He has approximately 10 years of sales, marketing and management experience; most he was with Aramark Lake Tahoe/Lake Mead, where he held a variety of positions since 2011, most recently senior sales and marketing manager. In that role, he oversaw lodging operations, dining and retail operations, as well as a marina, wedding services and a winter snowmobile operation.
Mike Sophia has been named vice president of sports business development at the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau. In his new role, Sophia will be leading the sports business development team’s efforts to attract professional, collegiate, amateur and recreational sporting events to Broward County, Florida. Sophia joins the bureau from the Sacramento Sports Commission, where he worked for almost seven years. Previously, he was CEO of the National Senior Games Association.
J.D. O’Hara has been appointed CEO of Travel Leaders Group, taking over for Ninan Chacko, who has resigned to pursue other opportunities. O’Hara has served as president of Travel Leaders Group for the past year, working closely with Chacko. During his time as president, O’Hara has been responsible for managing the company’s operating divisions, as well as mergers and acquisition activities and strategic planning. Prior to joining Travel Leaders Group in 2018, O’Hara was senior partner at Certares Management, LLC, owner of Travel Leaders Group. O’Hara has had a long association with Travel Leaders Group. He was part of the original management buyout of Carlson Leisure Group from Carlson Companies in January 2008 that eventually led to the formation of Travel Leaders Group.
Insight Vacations and Luxury Gold have announced that Michelle Suker will be appointed as the new director of field sales east for the U.S. Prior to joining Insight Vacations, Suker held multiple leadership, training, and development roles at AAA The Auto Club Group, including field manager, senior training consultant, and agency development manager.
Sindy Bohada has been appointed by the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau (GMCVB) as convention sales manager for the West Coast market for both corporate and association business. Bohada most recently served as sales manager for Hampton by Hilton Miami Beach.
Anastasia Mileham, most recently executive director of the University of Cincinnati’s 1819 Innovation Hub, has been named executive director of Source Cincinnati,whichis the region’s national social and media relations initiative, funded by a regional business and civic coalition. Mileham replaces Susan Lomax, who was selected as executive director of Source Cincinnati at the beginning of 2019 after serving as interim executive director for six months. Lomax departed for a position with Celebrity Cruises as global brand communications director. She had been with Source Cincinnati for four years, taking the leadership position when Julie Calvert was named the Cincinnati USA Convention & Visitors Bureau president and CEO in 2018.
Claire Brighton has been appointed account director of the Association of Touring and Adventure suppliers (Atas), an organization of more than 50 tour operators in the UK. She joins from the Advantage Travel Partnership, where she has spent nine years as commercial account manager and most recently senior commercial manager. Prior to Advantage, she worked for Thomas Cook TV and TV Travel Shop.
Katie Elson, former head of marketing for Thomas Cook, has been recruited by APT to fill the newly created role of head of marketing transformation for the river cruise line and tour operator. She worked at Thomas Cook for more than a decade and held various roles including short haul product and commercial manager, brand manager and latterly head of marketing, creative and content.
Andrew Turner, head of industry sales for Intrepid, is leaving the company. He has been at Intrepid for eight years in various roles including those of business development manager and adventure sales specialist. EMEA boss Aaron Hocking would be redeployed as part of a shakeup of the business. The operator did away with its “northern hemisphere super region.” which merged the US and EMEA regions, reverting to a two-region model.
Red Label Vacations, which is owned by the Japanese tour operator, H.I.S., has announced that executives Nathalie Tanious (left) and Diane Lattavo have earned new titles. Tanious is officially RLV’s chief operating officer and Lattavo has been promoted to executive vice president. The two bring years of experience and expertise to their new roles. Tanious has extensive experience in the travel industry in various management roles, serving tenures for Air Canada Vacations, Thomas Cook and Intair. Lattavo also has 25 years of experience in the travel and tourism industry.
Frank Rejwan, managing director of Travel Republic, an OTA that is one of the Top Ten ATOL operators in the UK, has resigned from his role and is to leave the business in the spring. Rejwan was appointed by dnata to lead the company in July 2018, having previously worked at Abercrombie & Kent, Quintessentially and Ickenham Travel Group. Dnata Travel Europe chief executive John Bevan said: “I want to thank Frank for his hard work as managing director of Travel Republic … (we) will be working closely with him and dnata’s VP B2C retail & ecommerce, Antonio Fellino, to ensure a smooth transition and stability for the Kingston team in the coming months.”
At Leisure Pass Group, Jon Owen (left) is stepping up to CEO as Ted Stimpson, the current CEO, moves into the role of president. These leadership appointments took effect on January 1, 2020. Since 2017, Owen has overseen significant sales and profitability growth in Leisure Pass Group’s global businesses, across both direct-to-consumer and third-party channels. In his almost three years as CEO, Stimpson has led the successful integration and expansion of the three separate businesses that combined to become Leisure Pass Group. As president, he will help manage Leisure Pass Group’s senior industry and partner relationships, particularly those based in the United States.
A senior restructuring at Newmarket Holidays has Ian Dines joining the operator from Emirates Holidays as Newmarket increases its focus on the customer and sustainability. Existing directors David Sharman and Phil O’Sullivan have been promoted as part of the shake-up under chief executive Niel Alobaidi, who joined from Emirates Holidays last year. At Emirates, Dines was account director of global operations and customer experience. Previously he was at TUI. He will start at Newmarket at the end of February in the new role of chief customer officer.
In Brazil, Flavia Cruz is the new director of marketing and commercial sales at the tour operator New Age. With a degree in Tourism and a postgraduate degree in marketing, the Cruz has considerable experience in the travel and tourism industry, including stints at Diversa Turismo and MMT Gapnet, where she served for more than 10 years.