KarryOn News

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 click here to check out last week’s new appointment.

1. Meet Virgin Atlantic’s new Commercial Manager, Australia And New Zealand

Gia Acitelli, Virgin Atlantic Commercial Manager, Australia and New Zealand

Virgin Atlantic is delighted to announce the appointment of Gia Acitelli, who returns to the airline as Commercial Manager, Australia and New Zealand. Based in Sydney, Gia will build and manage sales and distribution strategies across the region.

Gia brings with her more than 20 years’ experience in the market. She previously enjoyed 14 years with Virgin Atlantic before serving as Regional General Manager of the company’s General Sales Agent in Australia. She is well known and highly respected in the market for implementing extensive commercial relationships with stakeholders across the Australia-New Zealand travel trade.

The appointment will mean Virgin Atlantic is bringing its’ Australian and New Zealand operation in house to offer a more personalised service for customers.

“I’m thrilled to return to the Virgin Atlantic family and look forward to continuing to provide an unrivalled service for our customers across Australia and New Zealand. There is great potential for developing new opportunities with our airline partners across the region, and I can’t wait to get started.”

 Gia Acitelli.

Brad West, Virgin Atlantic Head of Asia, said he was happy to welcome Gia back on board as part of the Virgin family.

“She is a vital part of our business in Australia and New Zealand as we continue to grow. We are fully committed to serving the region, and recently announced a new codeshare agreement with Virgin Australia to create more travel options to and from the UK”.


2. Meet Rydges Hotels’ Area new General Manager

CALLUM KENNEDY_Area General Manager_Rydes Hotels

Rydges South Bank Brisbane’s General Manager Callum Kennedy has been appointed to the position of Area General Manager.

The new role covers a region stretching from Port Macquarie in NSW through the Gold Coast to Brisbane and is one of the most in-demand in the country in terms of both leisure and tourist visitations  Properties now under Kennedy’s leadership baton include:

Rydges Port Macquarie, Sails at Port Macquarie, Port Macquarie’s iconic The Beach House bar and restaurant, Gold Coast Airport Rydges Hotel due to open in 2019, Rydges Fortitude Valley, Rydges South Bank, the flagship South Bank hotel and  South Bank Conferences.

Callum Kennedy has been General Manager of Rydges South Bank for the past five years, and prior to that was Executive Assistant Manager for four; before this he worked in hotels and the hospitality industry in London. He brings considerable experience and vision to the role.


3. Meet QT Hotels & Resorts’ new Communications Manager

Jessica Fornito

Event Hospitality & Entertainment, parent company to QT Hotels & Resorts, this week announced Jessica Fornito as the new Communications Manager across QT Hotels & Resorts, nationally.

Fornito joined QT Hotels & Resorts in 2014 and throughout her four years at QT she has held positions as PR Executive and PR Manager covering QT Hotels in Sydney, Canberra & Melbourne.

In 2016 Fornito transferred to the Melbourne office to spearhead the successful opening of QT Melbourne.  Fornito oversaw partnerships including a successful collaboration with Vogue Australia and GQ to host a Melbourne spring racing breakfast, positioning the QT Melbourne Rooftop as the must-visit destination across the popular carnival.

Fornito was also fundamental in partnering QT Melbourne with the 2017 delicious. Produce Awards as well as collaborating with The World’s 50 Best Restaurants to become the ‘Official Hotel’ of its 2017 program and subsequently hosting the All Star Yum Cha brunch.

“We are thrilled to promote Jessica to lead PR for the QT brand. She has been an invaluable asset to the team and her involvement with the launch of QT Melbourne produced significant results. We look forward to Jessica further flourishing and achieving considerable outcomes for QT Hotels & Resorts nationally.”

Event Hospitality & Entertainment’s Director Brand Strategy and Communications, Victoria Doidge

Fornito will start in the role immediately.  One of her early priorities will be the prelaunch and opening of QT Perth, slated to open in August 2018.  She will work closely with QT Marketing Manager Jim Kon to promote the brand.


4. Meet Serko’s new Head of Marketing

Serko_Nick Whitehead_Headshot

Nick Whitehead has been appointed as the new Head of Marketing at Serko, the leading travel and expense technology solution in Australia and New Zealand.

Nick joins Serko at an exciting time as the company prepares to launch its new flagship offering, Zeno, into the Australasian market while looking toward international expansion into North America, UK and Europe this year.

Nick has over 15 years’ experience launching innovative products into new segments and helping technology brands enter new geographies.

Most recently he was Head of Marketing for Viostream, an enterprise video platform headquartered in Australia that was recognised in the Deloitte Fast 50 Awards. His achievements included the expansion of the customer base into global enterprise accounts such as Amazon Web Services, Google and Adobe.


5.  Meet Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board new Representative, Australia MICE

Deanna Varga 9182 Adj (1) (1)

Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board announced the appointment of Deanna Varga as Representative, MICE, serving Australia & New Zealand.

In this new role for the organisation, Varga will be solely dedicated to driving meetings, incentive, conventions and exhibition business to Los Angeles from the two key markets. She is based out of Sydney and reports to Bryan Churchill, vice president of hotel sales for L.A. Tourism.

Varga joins L.A. Tourism with 20 years of sales and marketing experience including MICE strategy in the business events sector. She previously held roles at Business Events Sydney and Business Events Australia. She has also worked in various capacities for hotels by Accor and Sofitel, the Australian National Maritime Museum and China National Convention Centre.

“Deanna brings a tremendous wealth of sales experience to the L.A. Tourism team as we look to strengthen our commitment to the Australian market with a dedicated MICE representative for the first time ever,” said Bryan Churchill.


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