The Online Weekly Community Newspaper of Associations, CVBs, and Hotels

Top Story

Hattie Hill Named Tourism Diversity Matters Interim CEO

Follows Dismissal of Former Executive Director

By Todd McElwee

Hattie Hill has been selected to serve as Interim CEO of Tourism Diversity Matters (TDM), an organization created in 2021 to help enhance diversity, equity and inclusion in the tourism industry.

A tenured nonprofit leader, author, entrepreneur, and consultant, Hill has served as interim CEO for various organizations, including most recently the Texas Women’s Foundation. TDM announced her appointment on May 7.

Photos of the Week


Christopher L. Thompson (center), President & CEO of Brand USA, was joined by his successor Fred Dixon (right), President & CEO of NYC Tourism + Conventions, and Todd Davidson, Brand USA Board Chair and CEO of Travel Oregon, at U.S. Travel Association’s IPW in Los Angeles on May 3–7. Photo by Brandon Ogden/Brand USA

( (

Delta Airlines on May 2 unveiled its custom Airbus A350 Team USA aircraft livery in Toulouse, France. The plane celebrates Delta’s eight-year partnership with the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee, which runs through the Los Angeles 2028 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The celebration in Toulouse, the home of Airbus’ global headquarters, featured Delta’s Chairman’s Club—a peer-selected honoree group of the airline’s top 100 employees from divisions across the company—being as part of the reveal moment for the first time.

VBR Love the Boot Week 2024 VBR Love the Boot Week 2024

On April 22, Visit Baton Rouge (VBR) participated in the annual Love the Boot Week, Louisiana’s largest litter cleanup effort held in conjunction with Earth Week, April 20-28, 2024. VBR collected 18 full bags of trash.

Screenshot Screenshot

The U.S. Travel Association’s CEO Roundtable convened April 17 in Washington, D.C. and met at the White House with senior administration officials. Chief executives discussed travel priorities and policies. Shown here (left to right): Omer Acar, Raffles & Orient Express, Accor; Kurt Ekert, Sabre; Matt Goldberg, Tripadvisor; Raymond Joabar, American Express; Ben Erwin, Encore; Bill Hornbuckle, MGM Resorts International; Donnie Scott, IDEMIA; Chris Nassetta, Hilton (U.S. Travel National Chair); Andrew Wexler, Herschend Enterprises; Geoff Freeman, U.S. Travel Association; Caryn Seidman-Becker, CLEAR; Jason Liberty, Royal Caribbean Group; Jason Wynn, J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.; Mark Hoplamazian, Hyatt Corporation; Patrick Pacious, Choice Hotels International; Elie Maalouf, IHG Hotels & Resorts; and Janet Dell, Freeman.

CEO Summit Boston - Kyle Klein Photo - CT CEO Summit Boston - Kyle Klein Photo - CT

Destinations International (DI) held its 2024 CEO Summit earlier this month in Boston. Left to right: Fred Dixon, President & CEO, New York City Tourism + Conventions; Don Welsh, President & CEO, DI; Elliott Ferguson, President & CEO, Destination DC; Isabel Hill, Envoy, Sustainable Tourism Global Center; Susan Thompson; Chris Thompson, CDME, President & CEO, Brand USA; Todd Davidson, CEO, Travel Oregon; and Kelly Craighead, President & CEO, Cruise Lines International Association.

FRPG-IPW Day ( VBR Love the Boot Week 2024 Screenshot CEO Summit Boston - Kyle Klein Photo - CT

Trending Now

Industry Movers

Benjamin Godin

Benjamin Godin is now Executive Chef at Baillie Lodges’ Clayoquot Wilderness Lodge. The property is on Vancouver Island in British Columbia. He has 13 years of experience. He was the sous chef at Shokunin in Calgary where he ran day-to-day operations. Before that, he served as chef de partie at Anna Lena in Vancouver and as junior sous at Pidgin, a restaurant in the city’s Gastown District.

James McIver

James McIver is now W San Francisco’s Executive Chef. With more than 25 years of experience, McIver trained in Paris at the École Supérieure de Cuisine Française and worked with chefs such as Alain Ducasse and Thomas Keller. McIver was executive chef at The Westin Los Angeles Airport. He was also part of the opening teams of The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay and Four Seasons San Francisco.


Peter Yeung

Peter Yeung is now the General Manager at The Prince Kitano New York. He has worked at a variety of venues in New York City. He served as General Manager of The Spiral in Hudson Yards. Prior to that, he was General Manager of Walker Hotels and Gramercy Park Hotel. Yeung holds a degree from the Conrad N. Hilton College of Global Hospitality Leadership at University of Houston.

Sean Olmstead

Sean Olmstead is Dream Downtown’s General Manager. The property is in New York City. He has nearly 25 years of hospitality industry experience. He was the executive chef at the InterContinental Mark Hopkins San Francisco and became the director of food and beverage. He was vice president and director of operations for PUBLIC, an Ian Schrager Hotel, and general manager at L’Auberge de Sedona & Orchards Inn.

Association NEWS

Around Associations

Holland America Group Resigns USTOA Active Membership… Following an assessment of its current business model, Holland America Group is no longer a United States Tour Operators Association (USTOA) member.

Holland America Group’s brands Princess Cruise Lines, Holland America Line and Seabourn Cruise Line, no longer participate in the USTOA $1 Million Travelers Assistance Program.

“Travel advisors should be aware that purchases of cruise line tours of Princess Cruise Line, Holland America Line and Seabourn Cruise Line products made prior to April 4, 2024, shall continue to be protected under the USTOA $1 Million Travelers Assistance Program. Client deposits and payments thereafter will not be covered by the USTOA program,” advises Terry Dale, USTOA President & CEO.

Dale said Holland America Group has been a valued partner since 1979 and appreciates the support the company has provided USTOA.

Hotel NEWS

Checking Inn

The Paséa Hotel and Spa in Huntington Beach, California completed a $5 million renovation, the property announced on May 6. The renovation focused on the hotel’s food and beverage program, revealing a new “California coastal-inspired” restaurant, Lōrea, and a rebranded rooftop lounge, the Treehouse on PCH.

“Paséa has long established itself as the quintessential Southern California escape – with unmatched ocean views and year-round programming,” said Vincent Savignano, Director of Food & Beverage. “As the newest dining concepts in Huntington Beach, Lōrea and the refreshed Treehouse on PCH elevate the epicurean experience on-property and make Paséa a true culinary destination, while simultaneously raising the bar for the restaurant scene in Orange County.”

The new menu at Lōrea features “a chef-driven menu inspired by land and sea,” according to Scott Rackliff, the property’s Executive Chef. Signature dishes in the newly renovated restaurant include duck and goat charcuterie, the Spicy Little Gems Salad and a selection of seasonal dishes. Meanwhile, the Treehouse on PCH features a refreshed selection of craft cocktails, including non-alcoholic offerings.



Hotel Stratford San Francisco, Handwritten Collection

International hotel company Accor announced on May 6 that it will be opening its first Handwritten Collection property in the U.S. this summer, the Hotel Stratford in San Francisco.
The Hotel Stratford was built in 1910 and has recently undergone a multi-million-dollar “refurbishment,” according to Accor.

“The arrival of the first Handwritten Collection hotel in the United States underpins our expansion strategy throughout the Americas: to introduce brands and hotels that respond to the needs and wants of travelers today,” said Abel Castro, Chief Development Officer Accor Americas – Premium, Midscale & Economy.

Accor’s Handwritten Collection brand was established in 2023 and is a portfolio of “carefully curated addresses, each resonating the warmth and character of its dedicated hosts,” the hotel company said, and consists of primarily converted independent hotels. Currently, there are more than 35 Handwritten Collection hotels open and in development.



Convention Bureau/Center NEWS

CVB Update

Explore St. Louis celebrated on May 2 the inaugural flight from Montreal (YUL) to St. Louis (STL) as part of Air Canada’s new service connecting the two cities. 

Explore St. Louis President Kathleen “Kitty” Ratcliffe, St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones, St. Louis County Executive Sam Page, World Trade Center St. Louis Deputy Director Stella Sheehan, and Director of Lambert – St. Louis International Airport Rhonda Hamm-Niebruegge traveled to Montreal on the inaugural outbound flight and celebrate the occasion at the InterContinental Montreal in Montreal, Canada, with a press conference and Champagne reception. The event was hosted by the United States Consulate Montréal and included dignitaries from the Consulate as well as Air Canada and Aéroports de Montréal.

The first direct Air Canada flight from Montreal to St. Louis landed on May 2 at Lambert International Airport, and the people on that flight were greeted with St. Louis gift bags, welcoming them to the Gateway City.

“This new flight makes St. Louis quick and easy to reach for leisure as well as business travelers,” says Explore St. Louis President Kitty Ratcliffe. “With the airport only 20 minutes from downtown, accessing all that St. Louis has to offer couldn’t be easier. And, with the expansion and renovation of America’s Center about to debut, there’s never been a better time to host conventions and events in downtown St. Louis.”

Log in to read the current issue. Not a subscriber? Click here.

Need an older issue? Click here

(c) 2024 USAE Inc.

 PO Box 15009

 Chevy Chase, MD 20825