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 week’s new appointments.


1. Meet… Travellers Choice’s new Board Member

Travellers Choice

Travellers Choice member shareholders have elected award-winning Travel Agent Greg Close from Easy Travel and Cruise as the newest member of the Company’s Board.

Close joined Travellers Choice in 2011 after acquiring his first agency in Murray Bridge, 80km south-east from Adelaide. Since then he has added two additional stores in Queensland: Easy Travel and Cruise Gympie in August 2014 and Easy Travel and Cruise Nambour in November 2015.

Easy Travel and Cruise is consistently ranked as one of Travellers Choice’s top members. The agency was presented with a Silver Choice Award at this year’s Annual Shareholders’ Conference, and in 2014 Close received the coveted Brian Pateman Agency Award for Excellence, which each year recognises an agency for outstanding performance in key areas such as marketing strategy and support for preferred suppliers.

Easy Travel and Cruise has also been the recipient of an array of local and national honours, including Cruise Lines International Association Australasia’s ‘Best Agency Promotion of the Year’ award.

Close says he decided to join the Board in order to make a contribution to the national travel network’s future success. In particular he was passionate about the prospects for network expansion.

“Given our continued annual profits, the unrivalled support services we offer our shareholders and the extraordinarily high satisfaction levels of our members, I believe we have a wonderful opportunity to attract new members and drive continued growth of our Company,” says Close.

Travellers Choice Managing Director Christian Hunter says Close is a valuable addition to the Board.

“As the operator of successful agencies in Queensland and South Australia, Greg has first-hand experience of the challenges facing our members, particularly those in regional locations,” says Hunter. “His commercial insight and expertise will help our Board continue to develop and implement strategies that drive growth for all our members.”

Travellers Choice is entirely owned by its members, with the network’s Board consisting of four member shareholders and two independent Directors.

Close replaces Sue Holmes from Carine Travel Bug in Western Australia, who stepped down after serving on the Board for the past seven years.


2. Meet… Aurora Expeditions’ new team members

Aurora Expeditions

Aurora Expeditions continues to expand its Sydney-based team ahead of 2018 with the announcement of two new trade-focused team members.

Alexandra Fayan has been appointed to the role of Business Development Manager. In her new role Alexandra (Alex) will be responsible for developing and actively managing relationships with all trade distribution partners throughout Asia Pacific.

“This is the first time that Aurora Expeditions has had a full time ‘on the road’ sales team in Asia Pacific dedicated to the trade and I am excited to be part of Aurora’s journey. I look forward to getting out there and sharing with partners everything Aurora Expeditions has to offer as leaders and pioneers in expedition cruising,” said Alex.

Alex joins the team with over ten years of global experience in the travel and tourism industry. Most recently, Alex was employed for a five-year period with Entire Travel Connection, wholesaler specialising in an array of international destinations. Prior to that, she held multiple account management roles with Club Med in the UK.

Jennifer Perrotin has been appointed to the role of Trade Marketing Executive. Jennifer joins Aurora Expeditions over 5 years industry experience having previously worked for both cruise wholesalers and retailers.

Following the appointment of Dianna Schinella earlier this year to the role of Industry Sales and Marketing Manager, Alex and Jennifer’s appointments signal the organisation’s ongoing commitment to the trade as well as the need to service the increase in demand for Aurora’s unique expedition product.


3. Finnair says goodbye to GM of Australia, New Zealand & New Caledonia


Finnair General Manager, Australia, New Zealand and New Caledonia, Geoff Stone has announced he will be leaving the airline at the end of this year.

Mr Stone, who has been with Finnair for 6 ½ years based in Sydney, originally as Country Manager before being appointed General Manager in September 2016, said it was “with a heavy heart” he would be moving on after working with a “great team” at the award-winning carrier.

Mr Stone said he was proud to have worked with Finnair during a period which saw significant growth of the airline’s flight and destination offerings worldwide, including an increase in Asia connecting flights from Australia, Finnair’s commencement as the first European carrier to fly the Airbus A350 in 2015, hosting Finnair’s 90th birthday celebrations in Australia in 2013 and more recently representing Finnair at a special event hosted at the Finnish Embassy in Canberra to commemorate Finland’s 100 years of independence on 6 December.

“I would like to pay special tribute to a wonderful group of professionals and terrific people with whom I have been privileged to work with at Finnair in Australia over these last few years,” Mr Stone said.

“They are absolutely dedicated to delivering the best possible service and outcomes for our clients and industry partners and I want to congratulate them on being so integral to Finnair being named Best Offline Carrier for the last five years at the AFTA National Travel Industry Awards,” Mr Stone said.

“Thank you also to so many of you in the Australian travel industry who have supported me over the years and continue to help us in maintaining Finnair’s strong reputation and bookings in the Australian marketplace.”

Mr Stone confirmed he would be joining Australian Cruise Group as Chief Operating Officer based in Sydney in January 2018.


4. Meet… Princess Cruises’ Senior Vice President of APAC Planning & Operations

Carnival plc announced that Stuart Allison has been promoted to the position of Senior Vice President, Asia Pacific Planning and Operations, for the Princess Cruises brand, effective immediately.

Retaining revenue and operations oversight for the Australia and New Zealand business, and revenue management for China, this new role will see his responsibilities expanded to include Carnival Corporation & plc’s Japan, Taiwan, Korea, China, Hong Kong, and Singapore business.

With the company for more than 15 years, Mr Allison was previously Vice President of Princess Cruises’ successful Australia and New Zealand businesses.

Earlier this year, he took responsibility for revenue management for the China business and this new role will see his responsibilities expand beyond China Carnival plc’s operations in Japan, Taiwan, Korea, Hong Kong and Singapore.

‘The Asia Pacific region is one of the most dynamic in the world and I am excited by this new and expanded role, which will give me opportunities to ensure the Princess Cruises brand remains an industry leader,” Mr Allison said.

“2018 is set to be a great year in the region, with our flagship, Majestic Princess, sailing from China, Taiwan, Singapore and Australia and an expanded season of cruising from Japan for Diamond Princess.”

Mr Allison, who will remain based in Carnival Australia’s Sydney office, will report directly to Deanna Austin who has been promoted to Chief Commercial Officer for Carnival plc/Princess Cruises.


5. Meet… RoomIt’s new President

Carlson Wagonlit Travel (CWT), the global travel management company, has appointed David Falter as President of RoomIt, the company’s hotel distribution division, effective 18 December. Based in RoomIt’s Chicago office, he will report to Kurt Ekert, President & CEO of CWT. Scott Brennan, who led the launch phase of the business, will become Chief Growth Officer of RoomIt.

Falter is a six-time CEO and Board Director who has successfully led companies ranging from $25 million to more than $1 billion across numerous industries – including electronic travel distribution, business services, systems integration and software development, and cloud-based storage. Most recently, he was President & CEO of Antenna International and Managing Partner of Acorn Growth Partners Inc. Falter is also a non-executive Director at BizPay.

“Dave brings a wealth of business acumen and experience to the team, and I am delighted to welcome him to CWT,” said Kurt Ekert. “He has a terrific track record of leading growth, and with his technology and travel sector background, I am confident he will accelerate RoomIt’s performance, while Scott will focus wholly on executing our growth plans.”

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