Kyle Edmiston, president and CEO of the Lake Charles/Southwest Louisiana, has been named chair of the board of directors of Brand USA, the nation’s national destination promotion agency. Edmiston, who was voted by his colleagues on the Brand USA board, succeeds John F. Edman, director of Explore Minnesota Tourism, whose tenure on the board had expired. Members are appointed for a maximum of two consecutive three-terms. (The U.S. Secretary of Commerce, in consultation with the U.S. Secretary of State and the U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security, appoints the 11-member board according to specific sectors of the travel and tourism industry. These appointees serve staggered three-year terms and work together to provide leadership and overall guidance to Brand USA’s mission and operations.) Edmiston has been with the Lake Charles/Southwest Louisiana bureau for nearly three years. Previously, he was assistant secretary of the Louisiana Office of Tourism.
Toronto-based VoX International has announced that Jacqueline Kuehnel has joined the company as business development director. Jacqueline brings more than thirty years of travel and tourism experience in Canada and the USA, as well as expertise in corporate social responsibility and sustainable tourism. VoX International Inc. provides a wide range of public relation and marketing solutions for the travel and tourism sectors and is active within the North America market. Kuehnel has held senior executive positions with travel companies including Signature Vacations, Canada and most recently the Apple Leisure Group, USA.
Steve Allen, a former senior vice president at dnata travel and based in Dubai, has returned to the UK to join the Firebird Partnership, a start-up consultancy created to help businesses rebuild from the impact of the COVID-19 crisis. He had been in Dubai for three years. Allen has had experience in both the business and leisure travel sectors, including roles as chief executive of Portman Travel, managing director of Wexas, marketing director for holiday exchange firm RCI and commercial director at Thomson Holidays.
Matthias Gehring, head of TUI.com and the travel agency branches of TUI, is leaving the group at the end of the year. Gehring is leaving for “personal reasons.” The decision was “not easy” for him, according to a German trade publication. In a statement, TUI told Gehring “We as the management of TUI Germany say a big personal thank you for your commitment to our company. We will miss you, as a person, as colleagues and as a manager.” A successor to TUI.com and the head of TUI branches will be announced shortly.
It’s now Doctor Richie Karaburun. A veteran of the tourism industry and familiar to many in the New York City area, Karaburun has earned his doctorate in marketing from New York University. He has been teaching at NYU for much of the past decade, and has also operated his own consultancy. Previously, he served as managing director, North America, of Roomer, an online peer-to-peer marketplace for travel. Prior to Roomer, Karaburun was vice president of global supplier relations at RADIUS, president at GTA North America, and vice president of product development and contracting at American Tours International.
John Hays, founder of the UK’s largest independent travel agent, Hays Travel, passed away Nov. 13 after collapsing at the firm’s head office. John Hays, 71, was the managing director of the Sunderland-based firm, alongside his wife and co-owner Irene. Well-known in the USA, the company has been in business for 40 years and it sells a considerable amount of Visit USA product. Hays Travel has since appointed Jonathon Woodall (right) as chief operating officer. Woodall joined Hays Travel in 2004 and worked closely with John Hays for more than 16 years when he has held positions including finance manager, head of Independence Group (IG) and head of commercial.
Josh Collins, well-known IT guru and speaker in the travel and tourism industry, particularly in the DMO sector, has joined destination marketing, research and IT company Entrada Insights, which is based in Salt Lake City as its head of community & education. Collins joins the company from Bethesda, Maryland-based Streetsense, a firm that specializes in brand positioning. He has also served as digital communications manager at Visit Franklin (Tenn.).
Giovanni Pedaccini has been named as the new commercial manager at Airport Dimensions, a global lounge and airport experience specialist. Pedaccini has worked on major consultancy projects for airports across the world. He initially worked for Mott MacDonald as an analyst, and then with Atkins as a planner, where he was involved with the latest Masterplan for Abu Dhabi International Airport.
Lissette García Arrogante has been appointed tourism and culture director for the city of Miami Beach. Familiar with the position because of her work—she has worked as a contemporary art advisor for nearly nine years—García Arrogante also served as director, cultural resources & Savannah Cultural Arts Center.
Kari Tarnowski has joined the American Queen Steamboat Company, part of the Hornblower Group, as senior vice president of marketing. She previously served as vice president of marketing for Crystal Cruises. As senior vice president of marketing, Tarnowski will be responsible for the organization’s overall marketing strategy, including multi-channel customer demand generation, brand positioning, public relations, customer insights, guest feedback, loyalty and retention, competitive analysis and partnership marketing. Tarnowski joins Hornblower Group with her more than two decades of strategic marketing experience in the cruise and hotel industries.