Who’s Where in Travel: New at Travel Edge, MSC Cruises

Hiring sign
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It’s been another busy week for executive appointments in the travel industry, particularly the cruise sector. 

In agency news, this week Travel Edge hired a new executive vice president to take over leadership of the company’s $400 million leisure travel division: Michael Johnson, who will support 600 travel advisors across the U.S., Canada and Bermuda. Johnson’s hiring aligns with Travel Edge’s strategy of looking for executive hires from outside the travel industry; he has 18 years of experience in luxury retail, most recently as senior vice president, store operations for Saks Fifth Avenue, Lord & Taylor and Hudson’s Bay

In cruise news, this week MSC Cruises announced the return of Ken Muskat to the company. Starting February 4, Muskat will take on the role of EVP chief operating officer for the U.S., where he will directly oversee all major trade- and consumer-facing functions in the market. Local management will now also be in charge of the line’s Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve private island project, as well as the recently announced development of a new, dedicated MSC Cruises terminal at PortMiami


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This week expedition cruise operator Hurtigruten appointed Robert Cao as its new global director of charter and incentive sales. Based in Miami, he will report to Hurtigruten Americas President William Harber. He has over 30 years of sales experience, including 20 in the cruise industry, most recently with Landry & Kling Global Cruise Events

CLIA Europe named Michael Thamm, the group CEO of the Costa Group and Carnival Asia, as chairman of CLIA Europe this week. He succeeds David Dingle, chairman of Carnival UK, who has served as interim CLIA Europe Chairman since summer 2018. In his new role, Thamm will work with the CLIA Europe general assembly and CLIA teams across the continent to continue to promote the common interests of cruise ship operators in Europe, the organization said. This will include close liaison with key EU institutions, and a wide range of stakeholders to foster the sustainable growth of the cruise industry in the European market.

In destination news, this week Lorraine Headley-Raeburn was appointed the chairperson of the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority (ABTA) Board of Directors, while Dean Fenton took on the role of U.S. director of tourism. Headley-Raeburn will also serve as a consultant to the Tourism Authority. As non-executive chairperson of the ABTA, Headley-Raeburn will be responsible for overseeing the development of policies and strategies designed to strengthen Antigua and Barbuda’s reputation as a world-class tourism and travel destination and achieve continued growth in tourism arrivals.

Finally, a number of individual properties made new leadership appointments this week:

  • LUMA Hotel Times Square named Diane Elliott its director of sales. 
  • Perry Lane Hotel, a Luxury Collection Hotel, named Tressa Wright director of sales and marketing. 
  • The Mandarin Oriental Lago di Como, which is set to open this spring, appointed Samuel Porreca as its general manager. 

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