Olga Ramudo, president and CEO of Express Travel, Miami, Fla. was honored with ASTA’s 2011 Travel Agent of the Year Award, at ASTA’s 2011 Travel Retailing & Destination Expo in Las Vegas.
The award, inspired by Joseph W. Rosenbluth, recognizes an active travel agent member who has made a great contribution to the travel industry and whose outstanding influence and professional activity have advanced the status of travel agents.
“Olga Ramudo's tireless advocacy on behalf of the industry is what sets her apart. For more than 20 years, she has managed to not only run a successful travel agency but become a leader in her community and at the national level,” said ASTA CEO Tony Gonchar.
“Thanks to her close legislative ties, ASTA has received backing from influential members of the South Florida Congressional delegation in support of the Society’s position on such issues as fee disclosure, merchant fees and travel taxation. She is a prime example of what one can accomplish through hard work and determination," Gonchar said.
Ramudo, who left Cuba in 1959, started Express Travel, a full-service travel management company, in 1989. Express Travel was ranked among the largest Hispanic companies in the nation and one of the 100 fastest growing Hispanic companies in 2008 by Hispanic Business Magazine; and was listed as one of the largest minority businesses in Dade County by the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce.
The company has also been listed as among the largest women-owned businesses in South Florida by the South Florida Business Journal. In 2007, the agency was ranked the sixth fastest growing Hispanic company in the country, according to Hispanic Trends Magazine. That same year, the Academy of Hospitality and Tourism recognized the company in its Meeting and Business Tourism category.
In 2009, the Interactive Travel Services Association (ITSA) paid tribute to Ramudo with the award of the Barbara O’Hara Advocacy Award for her efforts to combat proposed changes to United Airlines’ merchant fee agreement. Ramudo quickly became a leader in the fight against the airline’s proposed policy and worked to educate the Florida Congressional delegation and the media about the issue and its potentially devastating impact on travel agencies, ASTA said.
Ramudo’s dedication to promoting the South Florida tourism industry has made her a leader in her community and a role-model for other women in the business world. She has assumed leadership roles for hundreds of local events and continues to work to promote bilingual education.
She sits on the Board of Directors of the Beacon Council, the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce, where she chairs the International Business Initiatives committee, Camacol (Latin Chamber of Commerce), Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce and Dade County’s Tourism Development Council.