Industry movements: A&K’s Kathie Sikkes heads to Saudi Arabia, TTC strengthens sales team and more

Industry movements: A&K’s Kathie Sikkes heads to Saudi Arabia, TTC strengthens sales team and more

Catch up on all the latest industry gossip and find out who you need to schmooze at the next function right here.

History Will Be Kind bolsters travel and not-for-profit offering

Taylah O’Neill, Lizzy Chadwick and Jack Hazeldine

History Will Be Kind (HWBK) has welcomed two new team members to help bolster its travel and third-sector offering.

In the role of senior account director, Lizzy Chadwick joins the senior leadership team from GTI. She will head up a number of key travel accounts, including the launch of Sydney Airport’s new luxury retail precinct located at T1 International terminal and Celebrity Cruises.

Jack Hazeldine has been appointed as an account manager, joining from an in-house role at St Mungo’s, the UK’s leading homelessness charity. Hazeldine will work across a portfolio that spans not-for-profit with the McGrath Foundation, to consumer tech with Google.

Alongside the new hires, HWBK has celebrated an internal promotion with Taylah O’Neill stepping up to account executive. With a passion for health, sport and travel, Taylah is lending her expertise to client partners including Therabody and ChristchurchNZ.

Abercrombie & Kent appoints Kathie Sikkes to help establish DMC in Saudi Arabia

Kathie Sikkes

Abercrombie & Kent is remaining true to its pioneering roots with the upcoming opening of an office in Saudi Arabia.

The first in a number of exciting expansion projects currently in the works for A&K, the company’s goal in Saudi Arabia is that at least two-thirds of the people employed as staff and guides will be female.

A&K Australia DMC general manager Kathie Sikkes will temporarily be based in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia for a six-month period to help Mohamed Ismail, the Country Manager, establish the operations, guiding and marketing.

Sikkes’s wealth of experience, both with A&K and as a DMC specialist, makes her an ideal candidate for this. Her secondment will commence mid to late September until early 2023.

A&K also recently appointed Jacqui Tufala in the role of regional sales manager for QLD and WA.

Tufala has most recently represented Silversea Cruises, where she has had a very successful 6 years and brings a wealth of knowledge and strong relationships in both the Queensland and Western Australia markets.

Hurtigruten Group appoints Thomas Gentz as new regional sales manager for New Zealand

Thomas Gentz

Hurtigruten Group has appointed Thomas Gentz to the newly created role of regional sales manager – New Zealand.

Gentz brings extensive senior travel management experience to the position, having previously worked with some of New Zealand’s leading travel and tourism brands roles including Back-Roads Touring, Air New Zealand and most recently, Travel Advocates.

The Travel Corporation tour brands division strengthens sales leadership


As part of The Travel Corporation’s (TTC) international tour brands division, created to make it easier for travel agency partners to do business with the individual tour brands of TTC in Australia and New Zealand, today announce two internal promotions further bolstering the experience and leadership of the AU and NZ sales teams.

Tomas Malmberg, originally and best known as Insight Vacations’ long-standing QLD senior sales manager and most recently national manager key accounts and development – has now been elevated to head of trade sales and partnerships, reporting to GM sales Oceania Andrew Young, and will now see the 10 Australian sales managers report directly to him.

Simultaneously, long-time TTC snr sales exec Marija Tolj has been elevated to the role of head of trade sales & partnerships NZ, reporting to Young and will be tasked with developing and mentoring the NZ sales team.

Reflections Holiday Parks CEO elected to the board of CCIA NSW

Nick Baker

Reflections Holiday Parks CEO Nick Baker will bring his passion for tourism innovation and growth to the state’s peak industry body, the Caravan and Camping Industry Association (CCIA) NSW, upon his recent election to the board of directors.

Baker will take up his appointment on the 8th of November 2022, where he will join experts from across the Caravan and Camping Industry to continue to support and guide the sector to continued growth and prosperity.

NYC & Company names Tiffany Townsend as executive vice president of global comms

Tiffany Townsend

NYC & Company, the official destination marketing organisation and convention and visitors bureau for the five boroughs of New York City, today announced that Tiffany Townsend has been appointed executive vice president, global communications.

Townsend rejoins NYC & Company after a decade working across leading private and public sector organizations; she will oversee the domestic and international communications teams as well as corporate communications and crisis communications in her new role.

She joins the organization’s executive leadership team and will report to Fred Dixon, president and CEO of NYC & Company.

Anaheim assembles its Australian all-stars

Marie Enriquez from Desert Palms Hotel and Michael Cassis from Visit Anaheim at the recent Visit USA Roadshow

Visit Anaheim has reaffirmed its commitment to the Australian market by appointing its first local representative in over 5 years.

Friend of Visit Anaheim, and former Disney Destinations Australia Cast Member – Michael Cassis – will lead Australian-based initiatives. Cassis will be supported by the team at Linkd Tourism who will be on hand to assist with media enquiries and support in-market events and activations.

Swan Hellenic appoints cruise industry pacesetter Patrizia Iantorno VP of global marketing

Patrizia Iantorno

Swan Hellenic announced that Patrizia Iantorno has been appointed VP of global marketing to take the newly-revived cultural expedition cruise pioneer into its next phase of growth and beyond, consolidating its position as the leading innovator in this unique sector.

Respected for developing powerful integrated strategies that blend traditional high-end brand and service approaches with data-based digital marketing innovations, Iantorno has an enviable reputation for generating strong results that extend from sales through to customer loyalty and trade support.

Driving these achievements is extensive expertise globally across the cruise industry, including two periods at MSC Cruises in senior marketing, digital and consumer relationship roles.

The Lucid Agency secures PR account for Philippines Department of Tourism

Coron, Philippines (photo by John Hernandez)

Following a competitive pitch, The Lucid Agency has been engaged by Philippines Department of Tourism (PDOT) to lead its marketing communications and media relations, helping drive awareness of the Philippines as a travel destination in the Australian and New Zealand markets.

The Philippines Department of Tourism has also launched an out-of-home campaign in Sydney, aiming to reawaken Sydneysiders’ interest in the Philippines. The campaign features the country’s iconic Chocolate Hills of Bohol.

The Venues Collection secures El Kwang as chief commercial officer

El Kwang

El Kwang has been appointed chief commercial officer at The Venues Collection, starting the Sydney-based role on Monday, 12 September 2022.

Kwang has lived in South-East Asia for ten years and has led and delivered hundreds of successful projects across the international business events, tourism, hospitality, and corporate sectors.

Known as a strong advocate for industry collaboration, Kwang recently led the program for the Forces of Change Leadership Series with Marina Bay Sands, he was instrumental in the Singapore MICE Forum and was the co-chair of the Rome and Bangkok editions of the SITE (Society for Incentive Travel Excellence) Global Conference.

Kwang also recently finished a three-year stint as VP Finance and Development on the SITE Global Board of Directors.

Bacardi announces new leadership for its global travel retail business

Vinay Golikeri

Bacardi has announced a change at the top of its global travel retail business (GTR), effective January 2023.

The current managing director, Vinay Golikeri, will move out of global travel retail to take on the role of managing director for India, and neighbouring countries, handing over the reins to Leila Stansfield.

Stansfield is an experienced global travel retail veteran, having previously held roles as GTR finance director and GTR marketing director. She will be the first female lead for the division. She is currently On-Trade Sales Director, Bacardi UK & Ireland.

Soneva launches global recruitment campaign for Barefoot Guardians

Soneva Kiri Barefoot Guardians

Luxury hospitality pioneer Soneva has launched a global recruitment campaign to search for new Barefoot Guardians across its island resorts in the Maldives and Thailand.

Soneva’s Barefoot Guardians are an essential point of contact for guests from around the world – anticipating their every need, curating rare, unforgettable experiences, and embodying Soneva’s Slow Life ethos.

The role is open to candidates from around the world, particularly those who speak one or more languages in addition to fluency in English – including Russian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Arabic, Spanish, German, Cantonese and Mandarin. As an equal opportunities employer, Soneva celebrates diversity and is committed to creating an enriching career path and an inclusive, safe working environment for all of its hosts.

Potential candidates are invited to apply at – all applications must be written in English and include a CV, cover letter and a short, self-filmed video (maximum two minutes), explaining why they are the perfect fit for the role. More information about job openings and opportunities at Soneva can be found on Soneva’s LinkedIn page.

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