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Who's the industry movers and shakers this week?

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. Virgin Atlantic announces new Sales Manager in Australia and New Zealand

Alan Wilcock

Alan Wilcock.

World Aviation Systems (WAS) is pleased to announce the appointment of Alan Wilcock as Sales Manager for Virgin Atlantic Airways in Australia and New Zealand, effective 17th November 2014.

Alan joins Virgin Atlantic Airways from InterContinental Hotels Group, where he held the position of Corporate Business Development Manager for Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania.

With over 25 years of experience in business management, Alan has held a number of senior management roles in the travel industry including, National Sales Manager at Sri Lankan Airlines for Australia and New Zealand, and Sales & Marketing Manager at Garuda Indonesia Airways in New Zealand. Alan has extensive knowledge in sales, marketing and business development.

“I am excited to be joining Virgin Atlantic Airways managing sales in the Australian and New Zealand marketplace. It is a privilege to work for one of the leaders in the travel industry, and I look forward to working with the team to ensure Virgin Atlantic remains top of mind in the travel industry.”

                  Alan Wilcock

Gia Acitelli, Regional General Manager at Virgin Atlantic Airways, says she is delighted to welcome Alan to Virgin Atlantic.

“Alan’s experience within all sectors of the travel industry, particularly across both airlines and GSAs in Australia and New Zealand, will be a valuable asset to the Virgin Atlantic Airways

“I look forward to working closely with Alan as we continue to build on and develop Virgin Atlantic Airways’ presence in Australia and New Zealand.”

                   Gia Acitelli


2. World Class Chef to Lead New Entertainment and Dining Hub

Daniel Smith

Daniel Smith.

On the back of the recent announcement of the new dining and bar precinct, located under the Watermark on the Gold Coast, renowned epicurean Daniel Smith has been appointed Executive Chef.

Mr Smith will lead a team of culinary talent as he designs and crafts the delectable and sophisticated menu for both the new Clifford’s Grill & Lounge and Walrus Social House, set to open in mid-December.

Having worked in some of the world’s best restaurants, including Bedarra Island, One & Only Maldives at Reethi Rah and most recently at Stamford Hotels & Resorts, Mr Smith experienced a moment of synergy as soon as he entered the still-under-construction venue.

“I suppose it was a meeting of minds,” joked Mr Smith, who was greeted by a life-sized embodiment of the namesake and Walrus himself, as he walked through the doors for the first time.

Named Chef of the Year in the 2001 Movers and Shakers edition of GQ Magazine, Mr Smith believes his new home will be the embodiment of social dining on the Gold Coast, akin to what one would expect in any top ten metropolitan destination in the world.

“It’s what attracted me to this new role; creating a home for sensational and irresistible food, wrapped in a cocoon of architectural cool, right in the heart of ‘Australia’s playground’.”

                    Daniel Smith

Mr Smith has already designed the majority of the fare, delivering a contemporary menu that will incite the dining impulses of even the hardest to please.

“The venues have been created to bring people together, the menu is no different. The produce, meats, fresh seafood, divine breads and other menu staples have been fashioned for sharing, comfort and as the perfect complement to conversation and great music.”

Mr Smith said his modern spin on a traditional grill house, boasting a centrepiece ten-burner grill, will lure those drawn to simple, thoughtful meals, based on wholesome, hearty produce.

“For me it’s about creating a sense of wellbeing; a nourishment of the senses.”

                     Daniel Smith

3. South African Tourism (CEO) congratulates two South Africans on their appointments to the ICCA

Nina Freysen-Pretorius

Nina Freysen-Pretorius.

South Africa’s National Tourism CEO, Mr Thulani Nzima, has congratulated Nina Freysen-Pretorius on her election as president of the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA).

“We are proud of Nina and delighted that a South African has been recognised in this way by her peers around the world. Her vast experience and knowledge of the business events industry have been instrumental in the growth of our local industry. We are immensely proud that her leadership abilities have been recognised internationally.

“As the first African president of ICCA, her appointment marks a major milestone on the road to establishing Africa as a business events destination of choice. She has been given the responsibility of leading a highly influential, global body.”

                    Thulani Nzima

Amanda Kotze-Nhlapo

Amanda Kotze-Nhlapo.

“We are proud that our very own Amanda Kotze-Nhlapo, Chief Convention Bureau Officer of the South Africa National Convention Bureau (SANCB), a business unit of South African Tourism, has been elected geographical member for Africa to the ICCA Board”, says Nzima.

“Having two South Africans on the ICCA Board, one at the helm is a major boost for South Africa’s reputation as a business events destination. It is proof that we have the skills, insight and leadership capability to grow and develop the business events sector, not only in South Africa but globally.

“We are excited that Amanda will be our continent’s representative on the ICCA Board. She has proven her commitment to Africa’s advancement through her work at the SANCB. This appointment will no doubt give greater scope and influence to her efforts in this regard.”

                    Thulani Nzima

ICCA represents the main specialists in organising, transporting and accommodating international meetings and events, and comprises almost 1,000 member companies and organisations in over 90 countries worldwide.

4. New Events Manager for the Novotel Vines Resort

Elizabeth Hvalgaard

Elizabeth Hvalgaard.

Elizabeth Hvalgaard has been appointed Events Manager by the Novotel Vines Resort in WA, effective immediately.

She has worked in the Perth Hospitality Industry for the last 14 years, where she has held managerial positions at the Vines Resort, Mustard Catering at Paterson Stadium, and most recently at Sandalford Estate.

Being born into a family of hospitality professionals has contributed to her interest, as both parents have throughout their careers, managed Hotels and Resorts, and are widely known in the industry in WA.

This was how it all started; as she has lived in various hotels and resorts throughout Australia from a young age, and Elizabeth was immersed in the mechanics of hotels and their operations.

During her supervisory role at the Vines Resort (2005 – 2009) she found her skills of perception, resourcefulness and strength were perfect in the Events arena, sometimes working 3 or 4 events each day, and with a team of staff relying on her for direction.

Elizabeth’s superior communication and organizational skills ensured the success of her client’s events, and as Events Management was her ultimate goal, and she successfully proved herself and secured that role at the Novotel Vines Resort.


5. Contiki appoints global CEO

Casper Urhammer.

Casper Urhammer.

Youth travel leader, Contiki, has announced the appointment of Casper Urhammer to the role of Global CEO effective 17 November, 2014.

Urhammer joins Contiki with strong e-commerce and digital marketing experience gained in Australia, New Zealand, the US, UK and Europe. He established leading group buying site Groupon in his native Denmark, before moving to Sydney for his most recent role as Managing Director of Sales and Marketing for Groupon Australia and New Zealand.

“Following an extensive and thorough global search, I am delighted to welcome Casper Urhammer to the role of Contiki Global CEO.”

                          Brett Tollman, CEO of The Travel Corporation

“With Contiki’s targeted youth market being so connected, it was crucial that its new leader be someone who wholly understands and embraces digital channels in context to such a divergent demographic. Casper’s dynamic background and proven successes demonstrate an eye for innovation, a passion for growth and a keen understanding of Gen Y making him the perfect fit for Contiki.”

“I am extremely excited about building, motivating and leading such a world class team.”

                      Casper Urhammer

“I very much look forward to combining my proven track record of meeting and exceeding challenging targets and surpassing competitors, with the superb global team, culture and powerful brand of Contiki. Together, we will work hard to maintain Contiki’s leadership position at the fore of youth travel trends. I also look forward to getting to know and working with Contiki’s outstanding travel trade partners in all of our key markets.”

Urhammer will be based in The Travel Corporation’s Geneva office.