AMA Waterways announced it has expanded its outside sales team. The line is also poised to continue its growth in 2011 by adding three custom-designed vessels to its fleet: MS AmaVerde in Europe, MS AmaKatarina in Russia and MS AmaLotus in Vietnam and Cambodia. This increases the number of vessels in the company's fleet to 12. As demand for the line’s premium river cruise product continues to grow, the growth of its outside sales team is designed to strengthen ties with its most important partners: the travel agency community.
To that end, AMA Waterways named Charles Van Elten as director of field sales. Van Elten will oversee a North American sales team charged with servicing and developing agency accounts. Most recently, Van Elten served as general manager for Kuoni Tours based in Atlanta, Ga. He has more than 25 years’ experience in the travel industry, including many years in the river cruise business and positions with Grand Bahama Vacations and Budget and Avis Rental Car companies. Van Elten held executive sales positions with Sunquest Holidays and was responsible for the successful launch of The Showroom at the Venetian, part of The Venetian Resort, Casino and Hotel in Las Vegas. Van Elten will be based at the company's headquarters in Chatsworth, Calif.
Diane Curchy Horan, CTC, has been named business development manager in Florida. Horan previously represented AMA Waterways for three years. With more than two decades of experience in the travel industry working with Rocky Mountaineer, Australia Pacific Touring (APT) and other fine suppliers, Horan brings energy and enthusiasm to a region known for its sophisticated taste in cruising. She is based in Central Florida and her territory includes the entire state.
In the Western U.S., Denise M. Kelly, CTC has joined AMA Waterways as business development manager for Arizona, Nevada, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah. Kelly’s background includes serving as national account manager for Travel Bound; business development manager positions with Kuoni Tours and Grand Canyon Railway and Resort; marketing representative for the Cayman Islands Tourist Office; Management positions at the Wilmington Headquarters Branch and in the travel product development and groups division for AAA Mid-Atlantic Corporate; as well as lead travel consultant for Rosenbluth Vacations, a ‘Signature’ Agency.
"We are extremely thrilled with the addition of Charles, Diane and Denise to our AMA Waterways sales team. Each of them not only brings a wide array of travel industry experience to the table, but also a unique appreciation for the key role that travel agencies play in the success of AMAWATERWAYS. We feel incredibly lucky to have professionals of their caliber join us during this very important time in the growth of our company," said Kristin Karst, executive vice president and co-owner of AMA Waterways.