In a sentence: It was Building Back International Travel—One Meeting at a Time, with 2,030 Individual meetings altogether at Connect Travel’s RTO Summit West last week at the Hilton Los Angeles/University City. Here are more than two dozen photo memories of the experience.
Connect Travel’s RTO Summit East in New York City was a “thumbs-up” success for everyone who attended and took part in the sell-out event. New York City & Company made sure delegates were in an upbeat mood with their opening night reception. Enjoy the slide show of photos taken at the Summit.
A Marketplace Album: Following is a brief collection of photos of the people who took part in the Connect Travel Marketplace, Market Leadership Summit and related events that were recently held coterminously at the Gaylord Palms Resort in Kissimmee, Florida.
DAY ONE: Registration, Workshops and Opening Reception
DAY TWO: Opening general session, business appointments, networking lunch and remarks of President Barack Obama (photography prohibited).
DAY THREE: Special viewing of new Brand USA giant screen film, plus a full day of business appointments.
Connect Travel’s RTO Summit Florida last week in Orlando brought together travel suppliers with receptive tour operators in a two-day program that included both educational sessions and information-sharing discussions on Day One, followed by a day-long schedule of one-to-one business appointments. Following is a photo account of the event.
Mariana Manigold, Juniper sales director, Brazil & Canada, and Cangooroo sales director USA, Brazil & Canada was first to show up for the event—a half hour before registration began.
(#2) Annie Zou, director of sales, at New York City-based Unlimited Biking
Kristina Martell, sales representatives, Blue Man Group/Universal Orlando Resort
Adrienne Chiron, owner of Travel Trackers, and Joe Docal director of travel industry sales USA (Northeast & Midwest), Canada & Latin America, Greater Miami CVB
Julie Payne, group sales consultant, Hershey; and Joseph Delbuono, regional tour and travel sales and marketing manager, New York/Washington D.C., for Hard Rock Café
Faisal Sublaban, president and CEO, Bonotel Exclusive Travel, delivers opening remarks.
Howard Clark, area director of travel industry sales, Interstate Hotels & Resorts
From Miki Travel Limited: Maria Wahby, contracts manager, ebusiness division; and Mikael Hellstrom, regional sales manager-North America
Dan Swain, data sales director for ARC
Sherry Constance, director of sales at The Court of Two Sisters; and Charlene Hale, leisure manager, Visit Jefferson Parish
Norxis Barboza de Quintero, tourism director, the Florida Mall; Nora Barboe, senior manager, global tourism marketing, Simon Shopping Destinations; and Tricia Henson, director of tourism, Orlando Vineland and International Premium Outlets
Audrey Bialas, director of sales, Visit Heshey & Harrisburg; and Greg Edevane, director of global development, Chester County’s Brandywine Valley
Long-time Florida tour and travel industry figure Alfredo Gonzalez, founding partner, AG Hospitality Group
Maria Hulsewe, president, North America Destinations
Bernardo De Lucia, general manager, Kaluah Tours
These two receptive tour operators gave delegates a state-of-the-industry update on Asian markets: Owen Teng (left), director of operations, New Creative Tours, Inc; and Chris Ellis, CEO, 7M Tours.
Answering a wide range of queries on the condition of the European market were these two receptive tour operators: Tomás Rey, president, Rey Royal; and Maria Wahby, contracts manager, ebusiness division, Miki Travel.
Gisa Kusserow-Hansen, senior product manager, Florida & South, ATP
Lisa Catron, international sales manager, Memphis Tourism; Jesus Garcia, manager, international sales, Atlanta CVB; and Mike Prejean, supervisor, Louisiana Office of Tourism.
Rodney Levy, director of business development, Tripster
Tomás Rey (left), president, Rey Royal; and Alfredo Gonzalez, founding partner, AG Hospitality Group
Miki Travel’s Maria Wahby, contracts manager, ebusiness division; and Mikael Hellstrom, regional sales manager-North America
Room-size view of the Receptive Tour Operator Roundtable session
Charlene Hale, leisure manager, Visit Jefferson Parish; and John Fernandes, group sales marketing manager, Boston Ballet
Dennis L. Swayne, business development manager, Blue & Gold Fleet
Michael Marzano, president, FM Tours,
Day two at the RTO Summit is always about business—conducted from morning till later afternoon in 10-minute appoints between buyer and supplier, as well as in the course of off-the-floor conversations and on-the-spot socializing—and last week’s edition in Orlando was no different. Following is a photo album of the day.
Left to right: Shari Bailey, vice president of Connect Travel; Sean Bayliss, consultant for Brand USA global trade development; and Gisa Kusserow-Hansen, senior product manager, Florida & South, ATP.
Representing the Cartoon Network’s outside-the-box, themed hotel opening soon in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania are: Diana Bernardo (left), general manager; and Jade Moser, sales and marketing manager.
Mike Prejean, supervisor, Louisiana Office of Tourism; and Graham Roderick, international sales manager, Alabama Tourism Development.
Left to right: Alfredo Gonzalez, founding partner, AG Hospitality Group; Fernando Harb, senior director of sales for Connect Travel; and Howard Clark, area director of travel industry sales, Interstate Hotels & Resorts
Dan Swain, data sales director for ARC, and Stefanie Zinke, international sales manager, Lee County Visitor and Convention Bureau
Always a popular figure at Connect Travel events, Julie Payne, group sales consultant, Hershey, realizes that the samples she has brought for her meetings with receptive tour operates are in peril, given the look of Jesus Garcia, manager, international sales, Atlanta CVB. On the right is Anne Taber Klenke.
Working the phone in between appointments is Gene Hagberg, global director of sales, RLH Corporation.
Representing North America Destinations are Osmar DaCosta, director of sales; and Maria Hulsewe, president.
From Kaluah Tours are Bernardo De Lucia, president, and Ingrid Nieves.
Veronica Cavalheiro, coordinator, custom product, for Meeting Point North America.
Shannon Grounds, sourcing manager, Hotelbeds.com
Marina Petrova, founder, places.events
Mike Trowbridge, vice president, partnership programs, Resort Inventory Group
Representing Tours Limited, LLC are Radhika Tripurani, director, media, marketing and attraction tours, and her colleague Anupriya Kalkundri.
Hima Vora, vice president, Maxim Tours
Estelle Miller (right), director, tourism development, Hornblower Cruises & Events, meets with Maya Sheth, director, Konnect USA Tours.
Masako Maeda (left), president, Japan American Tours, Inc.; and Izumi Goodwin, office manager, JTB USA.
From Orlando-based Magic Stars Vacations are: Paulo Santiago and Vera Roncaglia.
Rakela Williams, director of product, excursionist
Taking a break before their next appointment are: Sheryl Ellis (left), tourism sales manager, Greater Birmingham CVB; and Leda Beever, travel tourism sales & product development manager, Daytona Beach Are CVB.
Speaking for the day’s luncheon sponsor is Rosemarie Payne, director, leisure travel – USA & Canada, Visit St. Pete Clearwater.
Yauhito “Ty” Inomata, manager, sales department, Southeast Region, IACE Travel
Lisa May, director of tourism, UpStateCA/Shasta-Cascade Wonderland Association; and Marcelo Pigatto, groups & products supervisor, Personal RGE Tours.
Vanessa Groeneveld, director of marketing & sales, Niagara Jet Adventures, preparing papers for her next business appointment.
Sammy Nguyen, product manager for ATI South—Orlando Regional Corporate Office
Stéphanie Le Floch, product manager, FIT Department, Contact USA
Melissa Rose, group sales manager, Corning Museum of Glass, puts things in order while standing and ready for her next business appointment.
Mayete Kubicso, destination designer, MICE & leisure groups, Cosmopolitan Incentives
Managing a smile moments before her final business appointment of the day is Renee M. Eichelberger, director of leisure travel sales, Explore St. Louis.
Here is just a small sample of images from Brand USA Week Europe’s first day.*
* Photos courtesy of Brand USA