Who’s Where in Travel: New Execs at Questex, Celestyal

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There have been a number of new executive appointments in the travel industry this week. Here’s what to watch. 

John Henderson
John Henderson

Questex LLC, the parent company of Travel Agent and our partner publication, Luxury Travel Advisor, appointed John Henderson to lead the Questex Travel Group this week. As the group’s vice president and executive director, his role will encompass both publications, as well as the Travel Agent University e-learning and loyalty platform. Henderson has held a number of senior sales, marketing and business development roles, including at TripAdvisor and Next Media Group

In cruise news, Celestyal Cruises appointed a new CEO this week. The cruise line announced that Kyriakos Anastassiadis will conclude his term as CEO of the company on June 30. Effective July 1, Chris Theophilides will take the helm of the cruise line as its new CEO. Theophilides has been working in the cruise industry since 2006 and has held the position of vice president of strategy and business development of Celestyal Cruises since October 2014. Most recently, he was appointed chief operating officer (COO) of the company in January 2017.

Fellow small ship cruise line UnCruise Adventures named Michelle Glass its senior director of global sales, based out of the company’s headquarters in Seattle. Glass has over 25 years of experience in Alaska’s tourism industry, most recently as vice president of sales at Alaskan Dream Cruises

In host agency news, Dream Vacations/CruiseOne and Cruises Inc. have announced a new leadership position that entirely focuses on the overall engagement of its home-based travel agents. Air Force veteran Dustin Jones has been appointed to the new role, the vice president of engagement. Jones has been with Dream Vacations/CruiseOne and Cruises Inc. since 2011, including a stint at the agency brands’ parent company, World Travel Holdings

Also this week Travel Edge appointed David Thorne as its vice president of business development. Thorne, who has over 25 years of travel experience working with companies such as Carlson Wagonlit Travel, Navigant and TRAVELSAVERS, most recently served as vice president and general manager for Forte Business Travel Solutions

In hotel news, Hawaii-based Aqua-Aston Hospitality has appointed Chris Port to the role of chief development officer. Reporting to company CEO Kelvin Bloom, Port will be responsible for the overall expansion of the company’s portfolio of hotels and resorts. He most recently served as a development leader for Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants

A number of other hotels made leadership and sales appointments this week:

  • Four Seasons Resort Lanai has introduced a new leisure travel sales team. Joseph Bell will serve as travel industry sales manager, while Kristy Daley and Ashlea Varca will both serve as senior travel industry sales managers. Bell will be responsible for the West Coast; Daley will oversee the northeast and mid-Atlantic; and Varca will handle the central and southeast. 
  • Dream Hotel Group named Anthony Damiano the general manager of The Time Nyack in Nyack, NY
  • Costa Sur Resort & Spa in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, appointed Salvador Villaseñor Hernandez as its new director of new business development for the United States, Canada and Europe
  • Also in Mexico, the Auberge Resorts Collection named Lauren Carr its area director of sales and marketing for its Cabo properties, the Chileno Bay Resort & Residences and Esperanza, Auberge Resorts Collection
  • Montage Hotels & Resorts appointed Anne-Marie Houston as the general manager of the Montage Laguna Beach
  • Omni Hotels & Resorts named Cara Banasch as vice president of sales, effective May 21

Finally, in air travel news, Alaska Air Group, parent company of Alaska Airlines, named Max Tidwell its vice president of safety and security. Tidwell will oversee all safety functions at the company. He most recently served as the FAA division manager for Air Carrier Safety Assurance

Alaska Air Group also elected a new board member this week: Susan Li, who is also vice president of finance at Facebook

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