Mark Jaronski, a 25-year travel and tourism industry leader and veteran Disney marketing executive, has been tapped as the new CEO of Explore Georgia, the state tourism office within the Georgia Department of Economic Development. During his career, Jaronski spent 16 years at The Walt Disney Company in a variety of marketing roles that included manager of Disney Cruise Line Public Relations, brand manager of Walt Disney World theme parks, and director of external communications for Disney Parks Worldwide. Following his Disney tenure, Jaronski oversaw global communications for Visit Orlando, the official tourism association for Central Florida. Most recently, Jaronski has served as CEO of Select Registry Distinguished Inns of North America since 2016.
China Travel News reports that that Fliggy, Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba‘s travel brand, has undertaken a series of major restructuring in senior management, including the appointment of Fliggy’s new president— Zhuoran Zhuang, vice president of Alibaba Group, who is adding the responsibility as the new president of Fliggy. Zhuang previously served as chief technology officer of Alibaba’s cultural and recreational unit and chief operating officer of the Youku video business. He joined Alibaba in 2009. As a result of the change, Angel Zhao is no longer acting as president of Fliggy, but she will still serve as president of Alibaba Global Business Group and senior vice president of Alibaba Group.
HTTA.US a recovery registry for travel and tourism professionals who are unemployed and furloughed, lost job because of COVID-19 and other causes, has announced that Rebecca Barnes has officially joined the ranks of its volunteers as its trade associations and DMOs outreach coordinator. Barnes was most recently PR and projects manager for the International Inbound Travel Association.
The tour operator software company, Tourwriter, has announced a new leadership structure, with Glenn Campbell (left) and Pierre Malou taking on a co-CEO partnership. Malou, with a background in sales, marketing and business acceleration, will be focusing on the growth and operational excellence of the company. Campbell will apply his knowledge of tourism, technology and financial knowledge to the product. Said Tourwriter director Serge Van Dam, “This dual leadership enables us to continue innovating and providing travel designers with the quality products and services that they have come to expect from Tourwriter, while positioning us to continue to grow when travel resumes.”
Joanna Reeve has been appointed head of industry and tailor-made sales EMEA at group tour operator Intrepid, replacing Andrew Turner who left the company in March to join DMC Discova. Reeve will lead on industry and tailor-made sales, and will spearhead new domestic and international sales strategies in the region following “a period of hibernation.” Reeve has been with the London-based company for nearly eight years.
Blanca Rosa Espinosa was recently named senior vice president of sales at A&H Limo Corporation in New York City. Previously, she was regional business development director for SuperShuttle. She has also held senior sales and marketing positions at Gray Line Worldwide and City Sights New York/Airlink NYC.
Finnbar Cromwell is now the senior industry head for travel at Google in the UK. Cromwell, who joined Google’s UK operation January 2016, had been industry head, travel. He joined the company as manager, EMEA sales strategy and operations. Cromwell replaces Ruairidh Roberts, who has joined Waze–the GPS navigation software app owned by the search engine–as UK country manager.
Tabbi Burwell has been named as the new executive director for the Craft Brewers Association of Oklahoma. She joins the organization from the Oklahoma City CVB, where she served for more than six years, most recently as senior manager for destination communications.
Cherie Richards, has been appointed chief business development officer for Not Just Travel. She joins the company from the Global Travel Group, a dnata brand, where she was director of commercial. Richards had been with dnata since 2008.
Sean Dixon has been hired as the next president of Visit Topeka and the Greater Topeka Partnership. Dixon joins the organization from the Springfield, Missouri Convention & Visitors Bureau where he was director of marketing. He had served the Springfield bureau for more than 10 years.
Keith Backsen has resigned from his post as executive director of Visit Omaha, after serving in the position for five years. Previously, Backsen was vice president of sales and services for Visit Spokane, where he served for more than a decade. In announcing the move, Backsen indicated that he wanted to be near his ailing, 95-year-old mother in Portland, Oregon.
Larry Alexander, long-time president and CEO of the Detroit Metro CVB for more than 20 years, as announced that he is retiring from the post, effective December 31st. Before he joined the organization in 1999, Alexander had spent 20+ years in the hospitality industry.
Larry Sieg, a long-time veteran of the tour and travel industry in Atlantic City who served for many years as vice president of marketing for the city’s convention and visitors authority before it was dissolved and its functions became a part of Meet AC, has been tapped to be the new president and CEO of Meet AC, succeeding Jim Wood, who moved to Indiana earlier this year where he is now president and CEO of Visit Evansville. Until his appointment as the new head of Meet AC, Sieg has served has director of communications and marketing for the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority (CRDA) in Atlantic City.