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The TravelAge West Excellence in Leadership Award honors an individual who, in the course of his or her career in travel, has consistently demonstrated leadership and insight, effected change or innovation and made extraordinary contributions to both organizations and the industry at large. For 2017, TravelAge West is honored to present this award to Patrick Clark, chairman of Avalon Waterways, an award-winning river cruise and small-ship line that sails in destinations around the globe.
Clark, who has led Avalon Waterways since 2005, has been involved in all aspects of operations, sales, marketing, product development, fleet deployment and destination expansion for the company. During his time, he has helped the line become one of the fastest-growing cruise companies in river and small-ship cruising in the world.
And, along with nearly four decades of experience working for some of the industry’s top companies, including Qantas Airlines and Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection, Clark has assisted in establishing
Avalon Waterways as a revolutionary travel company that is rejuvenating the river cruise industry.
“Patrick’s work for Avalon Waterways — and the travel industry as a whole — has been immeasurable,” said Scott Nisbet, president and CEO of the Globus Family of Brands, parent company to Avalon Waterways.
According to Nisbet, over the past decade, Clark has built the brand into one of the best river cruise companies in the world by commandeering the popular Suite Ships, unveiling the new Avalon Fresh program and innovating excursions with Active Discovery itineraries as well as the Avalon Choice program.
“He also has helped evolve the river cruise category to make it one of the top-selling travel styles today,” Nisbet said. “Patrick is both admired and respected among travel industry peers. We are immensely grateful for all he has done and are excited about what the future holds for this brand, thanks to him and the course he set.”
Clark credits much of the line’s success to the enthusiasm and energy of his colleagues: the operations personnel and crewmembers who consistently deliver a high standard of service; the marketing and sales teams who promote the brands in all the line’s markets; and the customer care and training associates who work with and support Avalon Waterways’ valued travel agent partners and their clients.
In addition to his role as chairman for Avalon Waterways, Clark is also a current member of the board of directors for Cruise Lines International Association.
He has previously served as chairman of the International Airline Travel Agency Network and the Pacific Asia Travel Association marketing authority.