Who are this week's industry movers and shakers

Who got a new gig this week? Check out this week’s travel industry’s Movers and Shakers!

Who got a new gig this week? Check out this week’s travel industry’s Movers and Shakers!



1. San Fran Travel Association gets a new VP

Brand USA

The San Francisco Travel Association has promoted Hubertus Funke to vice president.

Funke joined San Francisco Travel on 7 June 2007, as director of international tourism – Europe & Latin America.

His background in the international tourism industry includes work with the largest inbound receptives, AlliedTPro and New World Travel, both in New York City and San Francisco.

He also carries experience from Kuoni Travel in New York and TUI in Germany. Funke, who is a native German, is multilingual, fluent in written and verbal German and English, while proficient in French and Spanish.

“In his elevated role, Hubertus will take on a much more strategic function in how San Francisco Travel attracts key visitors to our city, plus concerted efforts with San Francisco International Airport to expand international air service.”

Tom Kiely, San Francisco Travel executive vice president-tourism


2. Seasoned leaders start at Hilton

Hilton appointment

Hilton Worldwide is pleased to welcome the appointment of Craig Bonnor as the new general manager of Hilton Melbourne South Wharf and Clinton Farley as the hotel manager of DoubleTree by Hilton Melbourne – Flinders Street.

Both men are seasoned hospitality professionals and long-time Hilton team members, having travelled the world with the company.

Hilton appointment 2Craig Bonnor brings 31 years of hospitality experience with him to Melbourne, having spent the last four years as general manager at Hilton Nagoya.

Prior to his time in Japan, Bonnor held the position of director of business development for Millennium Hilton Bangkok as well as Conrad Bangkok. Craig’s experience in Australasia includes stints at Hilton Auckland, Hilton Brisbane and Hilton Sydney.

Clinton Farley has been in the hospitality and tourism industry for more than 17 years.

Moving to Melbourne as part of the pre-opening team for DoubleTree by Hilton Melbourne – Flinders Street, this hotel marks the third time Farley has opened a new hotel for the company, having most recently done so at DoubleTree by Hilton Alice Springs, and prior to that at Hilton Lake Taupo.

Farley is passionate about growing quality tourism experiences for guests and has sat on a number of tourism advisory boards in the past, most recently on Tourism Central Australia and Red Hot Arts Central Australia. He intends to continue this focus in Melbourne.

The appointment of these new leaders reaffirms Hilton Worldwide’s presence and commitment to Melbourne as a key Australian market.

Last week, Hilton appointed Paul Hutton as the new vice president of operations Australasia. Read on


3. Etihad’s new vice president guest services

Etihad appointment

Etihad Airways has appointed Linda Celestino as the airline’s vice president guest services.

Ms Celestino has more than 25 years’ experience in the airline industry having held senior positions in her native Australia and the Middle East, as well as being President of the New York-based Airline Passenger Experience Association.

Most recently, Ms Celestino was general manager inflight services and product at Oman Air where she was responsible for cabin crew selection and training, as well as the guest experience.

“We’re delighted to welcome Linda to Etihad Airways. She brings a wealth of experience and expertise to this crucial role which focuses on one of the most important aspects of our business – the guest.”

Rick Allen, Etihad Airways senior vice president operations

As vice president guest services at Etihad Airways, Ms Celestino will be responsible for 6,000 cabin crew to ensure safe, inspired, consistent and innovative services, both on-board and across the airline’s global lounges.

Ms Celestino takes over the post of vice president guest services from Aubrey Tiedt who has moved to a new role as chief customer officer at Alitalia.


4. Meet KarryOn’s newest team member

EFFE DININGKarryOn’s team continues to grow, with the appointment of sales and advertising veteran Effe Sandas in the role of sales manager.

Commencing today, Effe has an extensive and impressive background in publishing, with over 15 years experience working in various sales, advertising and account manager roles at major publishing houses around Australia.

More recently she spent ten years in the role of national advertising manager at the Intermedia group where she was responsible for selling online and magazine space for the company’s award-winning publication ‘The Australian Gift Guide’.

KarryOn Content Director, Julia Gralberg said Effe’s extensive experience in online sales will contribute heavily to the publication’s growth plans.

“We are incredibly excited to have Effe join the team. She will play an integral part in growing the sales for KarryOn as well as identify sales opportunities for KarryOn’s parent company, Leedham Creative. “

Julia Gralberg, KarryOn Content Director

Read on


5. Ben Alcock joins Oman Tourism Australia & NZ office

Ben Alcock

Ben Alcock has been appointed as the new PR & Communications Director for Sultanate of Oman Tourism Australian & New Zealand office.

With over 15 years working in the travel and tourism industry, Ben has worked within all aspects of the industry from product development, marketing, communications and destination promotion having held roles with Virgin Atlantic, Hill & Knowlton (Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority), the Flight Centre Travel Group and World Resorts of Distinction.

In addition, Ben has produced the well followed “Disarm Doors & Crosscheck” travel blog and presenter on ABC North Coast Radio’s regular “Planes, Passports and Postcards” travel segment.

Mona Tannous, country manager for Australia & NZ said Ben will bring incredible experience to the Oman team.

“Having Ben and Margaret on board (plus an additional team member), we will be ready to implement our innovative long term tourism strategy for Australia & New Zealand that will see a greater focus on driving the ‘experience and journey’ of Oman to the consumer market.”

The destination has consistently seen double digit growth from Australia and follows the appointment of Margaret Spiro to the NZ Account Manager’s role that will see a greater focus on the development of consumer campaigns, wholesale initiatives and major sponsorships that will further unveil Oman as “The Best Kept Secret of Arabia.”

Ben will commence is role on 9th February 2015.


7. Destination NSW’s new media and PR director

Destination NSW

Destination NSW has appointed Allison Lee to the position of director of public relations and media within the Communications division.

Ms Lee brings a strong background in publicity and communications.

She was most recently Managing Director of PR agency IMPACT Communications Australia with clients including Nestlé, SEEK, Twinings Tea and Horticulture Innovation Australia. She is currently Deputy President of the Public Relations Institute of Australia.

Destination NSW Chief Executive Officer Sandra Chipchase saidMs Lee’s position has a vital role to play in promoting Sydney and New South Wales as a ‘must visit’ destination.

General manager of communications Tanya Bowes concurred saying Ms Lee has a strong skill set that the team can benefit from.


8. Stephan Pichler takes the reins airberlin group


Stefan Pichler has stepped in to lead the airberlin group and the company’s new chief executive.

He is now responsible for all companies and brands in the group.

Stefan Pichler is undertaking this task with the aim of stimulating the restructuring of the group, thereby ensuring sustainable and long-term profitability for airberlin.

With 25 years’ experience in the aviation industry, this renowned expert has unique experience managing low-cost, charter and classic airlines with profitable route networks.

Picheler’s previous role include implemented a turnaround program to lead Fiji Airways back to profitability as well as managing director and chief executive at Jazeera Airways, where his successful restructuring programme helped push the airline to profit margins of over 30 percent.

He was also chief commercial officer and deputy chief executive at Virgin Blue Airlines where he developed the company into one of the most profitable airlines in the world in 2006 and 2007.


9. Key global management appointments at Excite Holidays

Excite HolidaysAs part of the company’s continued global expansion, Excite Holidays is today delighted to announce two key appointments to its international leadership team.

Director of sales and marketing, Joe Karbo, will be relocating to Excite Holidays’ European headquarters in Athens to take up his new role as head of distribution. This new and exciting role will see him responsible for all international sales channels.

Joe will be leading the way in instilling Excite Holidays commitment to innovation and service excellence in the international market. Working closely with head of sales (Europe), Adrian Marpole, he will also be responsible for increasing the company market share throughout the UK and across the European continent.

Heading up sales, marketing and customer service teams at Excite Holidays’ Sydney head office will be Joana Bonto. Joana has been a key member of the Excite Holidays family for three years as the head of HR and her extensive market experience, dedication and achievements have seen her rise quickly into the international leadership team.

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