Choose Chicago has announced that it is not renewing the contract of its president and CEO, David Whitaker. Whitaker’s five-year agreement expires July 6. The organization said in a statement that the decision to not renew the contract was mutual. Cynthia McCafferty, a spokeswoman for the group said, “During this time, David will continue to work with the Choose Chicago senior leadership team in advancing and implementing the 2021 Strategic Plan and ensuring a smooth and seamless transition.” Whitaker’s career has been one in which he has held a top position in several marquee destinations in the travel and tourism industry of North America. Before Choose Chicago, he was briefly (a little more than a year) chief marketing officer for Brand USA. Previously, he served for served for eight years as president & CEO at Destination Toronto. Whitaker was also executive vice president of the Greater Miami CVB, where he served for almost 17 years.
Hugo Lagares, a well-known figure in Brazil’s tourism industry, has been hired as the new commercial director for the operator Diversa Turismo, taking over its commercial Brazil area starting this month. Lagares, who joined Diversa from Grupo Arbo, had previously worked for ten years at MMTGapnet, and for three years at CVC Corp.
A part of the SeaWorld attractions operation for more than 23 years, Marilyn Hannes has taken on a new position as senior vice president, strategic relationships at SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment. She comes to the new position from her role as park president at SeaWorld & Aquatica, San Diego. Before joining the company, Hannes held senior positions at Rank Leisure USA (DBA Wild Bill’s), the Buena Park Convention and Visitors Office, and Mexico Travel Plans and American Conexion, Inc
The Bermuda Tourism Authority has announced the appointment of Bermudian Charles H. Jeffers II, to the post of chief executive officer. Jeffers, a twenty-six-year veteran of the destination marketing industry, was hired through a global search to fill the leadership role left vacant following Kevin Dallas’ departure in February 2020. Jeffers joins the Bermuda Tourism Authority from his post as chief operating officer at Visit Baltimore, where he served for 3½ years.
Guy Young has been appointed Insight Vacations and Luxury Gold’s USA president. He was formerly the chief engagement officer for The Travel Corporation (TTC), the parent company for several well-known brands including Trafalgar, Luxury Gold, Insight Vacations, Brendan Vacations, Red Carnation Hotels, Contiki, African Travel, Inc., Uniworld Boutique River Cruises and U by Uniworld. He assumed the role of chief engagement officer for TTC in September 2016. During his 20 years with The Travel Corporation, Mr. Young has held several executive positions. Prior to his role as chief engagement officer for TTC, he was the CEO of Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection for 10 years and the President of The Travel Corporation in Canada for six years.
Madelyn Olguin has been named destination manager, Northeast, at G2 Travel. Operating out of Jersey City, she comes to the position from Apple Leisure group, where she was manager-Destination Strategy & Supplier Engagement. Prior to that she was market manager, Northeast USA, for GTA. She also served for more than seven years at AlliedTPro (now ATP).
The tour operator Abreu announced the hiring of two top-level managers: Natália Matos for the America product department, and Jair Júnior for its commercial division. They will complement in the corporate framework in the development of its business, aiming to strengthen departments of the São Paulo branch. Júnior has more than 20 years of experience in the market and has worked for companies such as MMT, Flytour and Agaxtur. Most recently, he was manager of a promotion team at the operator’s São Paulo branch. Matos joins Abreu after working in companies such as Tam Viagens and CVC Corp.
Dianna Pierce has retired following a lengthy tenure (more than 25 years) at the Explore Ashville CVB. She was vice president of sales for nearly 10 years and, prior to that, was director of tourism for almost a dozen years.
Todd Hutzulak has been appointed by the Ensemble Travel Group to the newly created position of executive director, marketing. In this new role, he will be responsible for developing and executing strategies and programs that align with Ensemble Travel’s strategic goals and create value to both members and supplier partners. Based in Vancouver, Canada, Hutzulak has been with Ensemble for the past 13 years, holding key roles in both marketing and technology and was most recently senior product designer on Ensemble’s Product Development and Technology Solutions team. Hutzulak replaces Carl Schmitt, vice president, marketing, who is no longer with the company.
Tour operator Cativa Operadora, as a part of its expansion in Rio de Janeiro, has announced the appointment of Juliana Eboli to fill an opening for a salesperson. With 26 years of experience in tourism, Eboli has worked for operators such as Soletur, AIT Operator, Viagens Marsans, Shangri-la Viagens, Visual Turismo and Urbi and Orbi Viagens.
Ann Pilcher recently joined Lamont Associates, a site selection & meeting resource firm based in Northeast Pennsylvania, as senior director of global accounts. Pilcher joined the company from the Pocono Mountains Convention & Visitors Bureau, where she spent more than 23 years, and where her responsibilities ranged from community relations/public affairs to that of sales manager. For nearly seven years, Pilcher has served as an adjunct professor at Northampton Community College in northeastern Pennsylvania.
Unique Vacations Inc. has made some changes to its executive team that include the appointment of Maureen Barnes-Smith to vice president of sales and marketing, Canada. Barnes-Smith was promoted to her post; previously, she was director of sales & marketing in Canada. A company veteran of 27 years, Barnes-Smith has successfully led the company’s growth and expansion across Canada.
Also at Unique Vacations, Gary Sadler is now executive vice president of sales & industry relations. Sadler, who has been with Unique Vacations for more than three decades, pioneered the organization’s Canadian market activities, rising through the ranks to his most recent position of senior vice president of sales. He will now serve as executive vice president of sales & industry relations.
Cathy Ritter was relieved from her position as director of the Colorado Tourism Office last week by Pat Meyers, the state’s new director of the Office of Economic Development and International Trade, on the latter’s first day in office. Ritter, who served six years in the job, came to Colorado from her post as vice president of marketing and communications for Asbury Communities, Inc. She also served for four years as state tourism director for Illinois. Jill Corbin has been named as interim director while a search is conducted for a new director.
From SearchWide Global:
—Visit Wichita is searching for a vice president of marketing. More details here.
—Visit Wichita has an opening for a vice president of sales. More details here.
—Destinations International is searching for a senior director, membership engagement. More details here.
—The tourism research and intelligence company Arrivalist has an opening for a chief sales officer. More details here.
—The Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau is searching for a new president and CEO. More details here.
—The Seattle Southside Regional Tourism Authority has an opening for a new president and chief executive officer. More details here.
—In Franklin, Tennessee, which is about 20 miles south of Nashville, the Williamson County Convention and Visitors Bureau is searching for a president and CEO. More details here.
—The position of president & CEO is open at the Big Sky Chamber of Commerce & Visit Big Sky is open. More details here.
—Headquartered in Irving, Texas, the Promotional Products Association International, is searching for a president & chief executive officer. More details here.
—The Valdosta-Lowndes County Conference Center & Tourism Authority in Georgia is looking for a new executive director. More details here.
—Visit San Antonio is looking for a new president and CEO. More details here.
—The Explore Ashville Convention & Visitors Bureau has an opening for a new vice president of sales. More details here.
—There is an opening for a CEO at Experience Olympia & Beyond in Washington State. For more information, click here.
—VisitGreenvilleSC is looking for a president and CEO. For additional details, click here.
—Visit Florida is searching for a vice president of marketing. For more information, visit here.
—In the Charlotte/Concord area of North Carolina, Great Wolf Resorts as an opening for a director of sales and catering. For details, click here
—Georgia’s Valdosta-Lowndes County Conference Center & Tourism Authority is searching for a conference sales director. More details here.
From Indeed.com: We’ve taken a look at this site (click here) which says that it has hundreds of new jobs listed, including a fair number in the travel, tourism and related industries. A sampler of what to expect is below.
—The City of Danville, Virginia has an opening for the position of economic development tourism manager. More details here.
—Tourism Economics, the U.S. arm of Oxford Economics, has an opening for a head of business development. More details here.
—The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences museum in Los Angeles is searching for a group sales manager. More details here.
From LinkedIn Jobs: Known to many across the board in the travel and tourism industry, the LinkedIn list (click here) has numerous job opportunities posted. Following is a brief sample of some of those jobs listed.
—The New York office of luxury travel agency Travel Edge is searching for a travel contract manager – Europe (contract). More details here.
—Morristown, N.J.-based CIE Tours International is searching for a director of marketing. More details here
—The Six Flags attraction in Santa, Idaho has an opening for a director of tourism. More details here.
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