It’s been a big week in the travel industry with people moving up and on from previous positions into new and exciting gigs, we call them our movers & shakers.

So, find out who got a new gig this week by checking out this week’s travel industry movers & shakers below or clicking here to check out last month’s new appointments.


1. Meet… Adventure World’s new India & Asia Product Boss

Eric Finlay, Adventure World

With over twenty years wholesale and destination management industry experience across Australia and Asia, with previous roles covering tour leadership, ground operations, national sales/marketing and product management, Eric Finley joins tailor-made specialist Adventure World to helm their India & Asia product portfolios.

Most recently, Eric has spent the last 12 years as a Senior Product Manager for Asia at Insider Journeys (formerly Travel Indochina), with extensive first-hand travel experience across the Asia region. He has travelled to over 60 countries with extensive travel experience in Indochina where he was based for 5 years in addition to over 20 visits so far to India. Eric has a specific passion and interest in wildlife conservation and photography, experiences he plans to build into most trips.

“We strive to recruit the very best specialists in the industry and Eric certainly falls into that category. His intricate and in-depth product knowledge of India & Asia is beyond impressive and I look forward to seeing him harness his skills further with our unique tailor-made portfolios,” commented Neil Rodgers, Managing Director Adventure World.


2. Meet… Wendy Wu Tours’ new State Sales Manager


Wendy Wu Tours, Australia’s leading Asia tour operator and winner of the 2017 NTIA Award for Best Specialty Wholesaler is delighted to announce the appointment of Vito Romeo to the newly created role of State Sales Manager VIC & TAS.

This brand new role has been created in response to the huge amount of growth that the tour operator has experienced in the key source markets of Victoria & Tasmania. General Manager Steve Richards said: “We’ve seen dramatic growth in the number of passengers joining us from VIC & TAS, with departures ex-Melbourne at an all-time high. This new role will enable the retail trade in these key states to be better supported to grow their outbound Asia business, through regional-specific materials and promotions.”.

Vito joins the Wendy Wu Tours team with over 20 years of experience in the travel industry. Most recently as State Manager VIC/TAS for Express Travel Group, Vito greatly contributed to the growth of the Independent Travel Group. Prior to this, Vito was employed at Creative holidays as State Sales Manager for VIC/TAS for seven years.

On his appointment, Vito said: “After so many years in the industry, I was looking for a new challenge, and Wendy Wu Tours meets that criteria exactly. In 2018, we’re rolling out the new Essentials range, as well as moving to become a global tour operator, with an extensive new South America product. I’m delighted to be able to reconnect and build the businesses of retail travel agents that I’ve already served for over the years, and establish relationships with those I’ve not worked with before.”

Steve Richards, General Manager Wendy Wu Tours Australia said of the appointment, “Vito is an expert operator, and the ideal person to be able to maximise on this huge trajectory of growth we’re seeing in Victoria and Tasmania. I’m confident he’ll deliver excellent results, working closely with our preferred partners in some of the exciting new initiatives that Wendy Wu Tours will roll out in 2018.”


3, Meet… CLIA’s new Training & Development Manager

Troy Ashman - Training & Develpoment Manager Australasia

Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) Australasia has announced the appointment of Troy Ashman as Training & Development Manager.

With over eight years’ experience in the travel and hospitality industry, Ashman will be responsible for continuing the development of the new eLearning features released last year by CLIA, as well as the expansion of additional training resources and guides for travel agent members.

Ashman joins the organisation after a long stint at Scenic, where most recently he was responsible for the development of the company’s global staff training program. Ashman will be reporting to Peter Kollar, CLIA’s Head of International Training & Development, who will concentrate on CLIA’s global education projects and the development of new international training markets.

CLIA Australasia Managing Director Joel Katz said: “We are delighted to have Troy on board to support our members as we continue to develop our membership activities and engagement with Travel Agents in both Australia and New Zealand.”


4. Meet… Fiji Airways’ new BDM for Wellington/South Island

Kate 2

Fiji Airways NZ has recently appointed Kate Adams to the role of Business Development Manager for the Wellington/South Island area.  Kate will be based in the Auckland office with the North Island BDM, Michelle Weir.

Kate is a recent returnee to NZ with her family after living in Australia for 10 years. In Australia, Kate worked for Flight Centre in Brisbane and over the years was a Senior Travel Consultant, Assistant Team Leader and Team Leader.  The role she most enjoyed was when she was a Product Manager for Queensland.  Kate said, “I loved the interaction with my agents and I really thrived on creating relationships with our internal and external suppliers.”

On her new role which started on 3 January, Kate said” “I am truly excited to join the wonderful team at Fiji Airways here in NZ and take up a new challenge in an industry that I love.”


5. Meet… Centara’s new BDM VIP

Allen Thomas

Centara Hotels & Resorts, Thailand’s leading hotel operator, announced the appointment of Allen Thomas as Vice President Business Development, effective 1 January.

Thomas, a French national, has 28 years of experience developing hotel and resort businesses, a career that includes positions with HPL, Como Hotels and most recently Resorts Holdings International.

He will be responsible for executing the company’s plan to grow from 58 to 134 hotels over the next five years. His appointment marks another significant Centara move in their five-year plan to double the company’s size and become a major regional hospitality brand.

Centara’s CEO, Mr. Thirayuth Chirativat commented: “Allen is a tenured industry expert with an impressive track record of growing the brand footprint of hotel and resort businesses in Asia and beyond. We are confident of meeting our expansion targets with a professional of Allen’s calibre leading our Business Development division”.

With this latest appointment, Centara’s management team is almost complete following its recent reorganisation. The company is building a diverse and experienced leadership structure to set it up for continued future success.


6. Meet… IHG’s new Managing Director for Australasia & Japan

Leanne Harwood, MD AuAJ, IHG 2

InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) announced the appointment of Leanne Harwood to the role of Managing Director, Australasia and Japan.

She will be replacing Karin Sheppard, who moves to London to take on the new position as IHG’s Managing Director, Europe.

Leanne is one of IHG’s Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia (EMEAA) senior leaders and will be responsible for the operations, growth and performance of more than 70 hotels in the Australasia and Japan Business Unit. In her role as Managing Director she will oversee the regional teams in Sydney and Tokyo as they continue their growth momentum in Australasia and prepare for the 2019 Rugby World Cup and 2020 Olympics in Japan.

Prior to her appointment, Leanne was Vice President for IHG’s operations in South East Asia and Korea, based in Bangkok, overseeing the operations and performance of more than 60 hotels in Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, the Philippines and Korea. She has also worked for a number of hotel companies in a variety of countries including Australia, New Zealand, Vietnam and French Polynesia.

Leanne joins us with over 20 years’ experience in the hospitality industry with more than a decade at IHG.


7. Meet… Halekulani & Waikiki Parc’s new Sales Manager

Screen Shot 2018-01-11 at 5.04.03 PM

Acclaimed Oahu hotels, Halekulani and Waikiki Parc, announced the appointment of Whitney Crear to the role of Sales Manager for both properties, effective immediately. As Sales Manager, Ms. Crear’s responsibilities include the development and implementation of sales and marketing strategies to increase sales for existing and new accounts and leading educational tours for international travel professionals and local corporate clients.

Ms. Crear’s primary accounts pertain to the Oceania (Australia/New Zealand) markets in addition to the European, Latin and South American markets for leisure. Crear’s role also includes maintaining and building Halekulani and Waikiki Parc’s local corporate accounts and relationships.

Whitney Crear most recently held the Sales Manager position at the MODERN Honolulu for the last five years, before joining the Halekulani and Waikiki Parc Sales team. Crear’s prior experience also revolved around operations as an Assistant Front Office Manager at Park Hyatt Aviara and L’Auberge Del Mar, both in California, her state of origin.

With her exceptional knowledge and refined skills in the sales and marketing communications field, Halekulani and Waikiki Parc hotels welcome Ms. Whitey Crear in her new role.

Did we miss someone? Send us an email & let us know.