Tim Irwin, president and chief executive officer of Pleasant
Holidays, announced that he is retiring at the end of 2007.
“I hope that by telling everyone I’m leaving a full year in
advance, I’ll avoid the two things the travel industry dislikes
most namely, change and surprises,” he said.
Irwin will dedicate the next 12 months to making the leadership
transition as smooth as possible.
“I want to allow enough time to properly select a successor,” he
said. “I also want to make sure that the great relationships our
company has established throughout the industry are
Meanwhile, he said, Pleasant will continue to concentrate on
initiatives that move it forward, from technological advancements
to cost-cutting initiatives. “In the past year I’ve been
particularly proud of how we’ve strengthened the bench,” Irwin
said. “I have a great team of vice presidents, and I’m confident in
their ability to carry on once I leave.”
Irwin joined Pleasant in 2002 after nearly 35 years with the
Automobile Club of Southern California. Under his direction,
Pleasant has steadily broadened its product beyond its original
emphasis on Hawaii.
“Two years ago we became the number-one tour operator for
Tahiti, and we’ve been recognized as a strong player in Mexico,”
Irwin said. “We’ve known that expansion to destinations beyond
Hawaii has been key to our growth.” Under Irwin’s direction,
Pleasant’s reputation has evolved from a mass-market budget company
to a source of higher-quality travel products. Concurrently, the
company has raised its level of service to travel agents, consumers
and industry partners.
Irwin shies away from the spotlight, however.
“All of these accomplishments have been a company effort,” he
said. “I just get to take the credit.
“We’ve built on the foundation that Ed and Lynn Hogan laid down
when they started Pleasant,” Irwin said. “I’m confident the future
president will do the same.” Don’t expect Irwin to disappear from
view when he steps down from his Pleasant post next December.
“The travel industry is a very important part of my life,” he
said. “I see it as a peacemaking industry, and I want to find ways
to remain involved in that aspect of it.”
Pamela Conover Named Seabourn President, CEO
Cruise industry executive Pamela C. Conover has been named
president and chief executive officer of Seabourn Cruise Line, the
Miami-based, luxury brand owned by Carnival Corporation & plc.
She will report to Carnival vice chairman Howard Frank.
Conover has been serving as acting president of Seabourn since
the company’s late president Deborah L. Natansohn suffered a heart
attack on Oct. 22. Conover most recently served as senior vice
president of shared services at Carnival Corporation, where, among
other duties, her market research and strategic analysis resulted
in an order for two new ships for Seabourn.
“I am extremely gratified to be offered the helm at Seabourn at
this exciting juncture,” said Conover. “Seabourn’s two new,
state-of-the-art ships will represent the next evolution of the
ultra-luxury segment, and except for the tragic circumstances I
couldn’t be happier about returning.”
“Pam brings a wealth of experience to Seabourn and I am
confident that she will continue Debbie Natansohn’s record of
making Seabourn the best luxury brand in the cruise industry,” said
Micky Arison, chairman of Carnival Corporation & plc.
Conover previously served as president and chief operating
officer of Cunard Line Limited, which operated the fleets of both
Seabourn and Cunard, from 2001 until the two brands were separated
in 2004. In that role, she oversaw the building and launch of
Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 and the strategic restructuring and
rebranding of Seabourn’s three-ship fleet.
“Pam has consistently delivered for us in a number of executive
roles. Her experience at expanding a luxury brand and her skilled
advocacy of customers, employees and travel agency partners ensures
the success of Seabourn’s plan for growth in the luxury segment,”
The role at Seabourn is Conover’s third cruise line presidency.
In 1994, she served as president and chief executive officer of
Epirotiki Line, based in Athens, Greece, until she was recruited to
join Carnival Corporation as vice president of strategic planning.
At Carnival, she engineered the acquisition of assets including
Seabourn, Cunard and Costa Cruises as a part of the corporate
Conover lives in Key Biscayne, Fla., with her husband, Ray Lutz,
a former travel industry executive.
New Seminars Added to IDE-Asia
The American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) has added more
seminars to the schedule for the upcoming International Destination
Expo (IDE). The IDE will take place in Jeju, Korea, March 25-29. It
will feature the following in addition to previously announced
seminars: DS Jeju, Korea: A Beautiful Escape! presented by Suh
Yong-Kun and William Cannon Hunter; Experience the Dynamism and
Beauty of Korea, courtesy of Daegu Metropolitan City Tourism
Division; The Potential of Incheon as a Favored Tourist
Destination, courtesy of Incheon Metropolitan City Tourism
Division; and Korea, Up Close and Personal, presented by Sung Woock
Cho and Korean suppliers.
“Korea-specific seminars are an important component of IDE, and
critical to the experience of travel agents who attend in order to
become destination specialists,” said ASTA President and CEO Cheryl
Hudak, CTC. “There’s no better way to learn how to sell Korea than
from Korean travel professionals.”
Those who register for DS Jeju, Korea: A Beautiful Escape! will
learn about “The Island of World Peace,” home to a world-class
convention center. Experience the Dynamism and Beauty of Korea is
offered in two sessions. This seminar includes details on Ulleungdo
Island and the cities of Pohang, Yeongcheon, Yeongdeok and Uljin,
as well as Korea’s ancient capital, Gyeongju. The Potential of
Incheon as a Favored Tourist Destination, presented by Lee Seung
Hak, will explore Incheon as the gateway to Northeast Asia.
At Korea, Up Close and Personal, agents will learn how to sell
the history and culture of Korea, and representatives from Korean
airline carriers and hotels will share information about their
agent support programs. Participants will also get the inside scoop
from an experienced tour operator.
Dollar And Thrifty Join Gold Crown Club
Dollar Rent A Car and Thrifty Car Rental are welcoming members of
Best Western’s Gold Crown Club International (GCCI) loyalty
program. Dollar and Thrifty have joined the hotel chain’s frequency
club as preferred partners, offering Gold Crown Club members 1,000
points per rental at all participating Dollar Rent A Car and
Thrifty Car Rental locations worldwide. To receive GCCI points,
members will need to request them at the time of rental and provide
their membership number. A hotel stay is not required, and some
limitations may apply.
Additionally, GCCI members may earn points when they park at any
one of 24 Thrifty Car Rental airport locations. Members who park
three times at participating Thrifty Airport Parking facilities
within a 12-month period will receive 250 points. Some limitations
may apply. Many locations also offer amenities such as auto
detailing and valet parking.
Best Western’s Gold Crown Club loyalty program is an
international travel club that allows members from across the globe
to earn points towards an extensive array of product and service
Be a Kid Again at Disneyland Resort
Clients can rediscover the perks of being a kid at Disneyland
Resort next year. Those traveling between Jan. 3 and April 26 will
receive a three-day or longer Disneyland Resort Park Hopper Bonus
Ticket at the kids’ price. In addition, clients who stay a minimum
of four nights will also receive a free $150 Disney Gift Card that
can be used at selected shops and food locations throughout
Disneyland Resort vacation packages include roundtrip airfare on
United Airlines, three nights’ accommodations at a Disneyland
Resort hotel and a three-day Disneyland Resort Park Hopper Bonus
Ticket at the Child Rate. This offer is available for immediate
Prices are per person, based on double occupancy. All prices are
based on standard room rates. Alternate origin cities and travel
dates are available. These tickets expire 13 days after the first
day of use or May 9, whichever comes first, and each day of use
constitutes one full day of use. Disney Gift Card offer is valid
for arrivals Jan. 3-April 22.
Protests Affect Tourism in Oaxaca
Several foreign embassies have warned their citizens to avoid
travel to the Mexican city of Oaxaca, much to the dismay of the
local tourism industry. The area is known for its traditional arts
and crafts, making it a popular tourist destination for those
seeking handmade woven goods and wood carvings, but leftist
protestors have taken over the city for the past five months,
demanding the resignation of the regional governor and other
reforms. The protestors have clashed with federal police near the
city center on numerous occasions, prompting the embassies of the
United States, Canada, France, Germany and the United Kingdom to
issue advisories against travel to the region.
Although confrontations quieted down after police retook the
city center in early November, demonstrators still maintain a heavy
presence in the city.