Central Holidays Reports Strong Outlook for 2018 with More than 30% Year-Over-Year Increase in Bookings -- Announces Top Trending Destinations and New Training Seminar Series for Travel Agents --

Central Holidays Reports Strong Outlook for 2018 with  More than 30% Year-Over-Year Increase in Bookings -- Announces Top Trending Destinations and New Training Seminar Series for Travel Agents --

Central Holidays is pleased to report a significant increase in the momentum of bookings for 2018 and year-over-year growth in bookings of more than 30 percent. With core destinations continuing to trend high in demand as well as newcomers to the list that are gaining popularity among travelers, the company is also thrilled to announce the first dates of its travel agent seminar series aimed at providing ongoing support and training for Central Holidays’ agent partners.

“As we continue to grow our sales team and agent efforts, it is gratifying to see the significant growth in bookings we are experiencing. Bookings are up more than 30 percent overall and the momentum of bookings continues to increase. Further, while we have seen that some of our key destinations remain at the top of the list for bookings – namely Italy, Greece, France and Spain – we are seeing exciting increases in such destinations as Croatia, Israel, and Egypt. Additionally, in Latin America, Argentina is currently garnering the most bookings, followed by Costa Rica, Peru, Ecuador, and Chile”, said Tewfik Ghattas, SGI Board Member.

“It’s clear that our travel agent initiatives, training and development activities, and tiered compensation program are working effectively to help drive this increase in bookings via our core channel – the travel agent community,” said Jimmy Zitani, VP of Sales for Central. “More and more agents and their clients are realizing what a terrific option Central Holidays offers with our brand of affordable luxury travel programs backed by true destination experts and the reliability of knowing that their clients are traveling with a time-honored travel provider with more than four decades of success in delivering amazing trips. This increase is not only impressive, but also it is offers a positive outlook for greater things to come!”

As part of Central Holidays' efforts to support the travel agent community, the company is announcing the initial dates for its seminar series that provides agents with targeted product training on the company's vast range of travel offerings. This series of travel agent events presents networking opportunities with the company’s national sales team, destination and brand presentations, sales collateral distribution, and the launch of the Central Holidays new 2018-19 brochures and product line. Participating agents and Central Holidays team members that attended series events in 2017 have deemed them a resounding success, as evidenced by positive feedback as well as bookings and leads garnered.

Following is a list of upcoming seminars currently scheduled for January and February of 2018:
• Tuesday, January 16, 2018 - Milwaukee, WI
• Wednesday, January 17, 2018 - Minneapolis, MN
• Thursday, January 18, 2018 - Cleveland, OH
• Tuesday, January 30, 2018 - Jacksonville, FL
• Thursday, February 1, 2018 - Altamonte Springs, FL

For sales inquiries, the company’s dedicated travel industry sales team can be reached as follows:

Maria Di Rocco, CTC, MCC
Regional Sales Director - Tri-State Area - NJ, CT, NY
Call 800-935-5000 ext. 5293
Email: mdirocco@centralholidays.com

Giovanna Cilia-Wheatley, CTC
Regional Sales Manager - Mid-Atlantic
Call 800-935-5000 ext. 5364
Email: gcilia-wheatley@centralholidays.com

Lynn Seleck, CTC
Regional Sales Manager - South East
Call 800-935-5000 ext. 6308
Email: lseleck@centralholidays.com

Margie Bell, CTC
National Sales Manager
Call 800-935-5000 ext. 5274
Email: mbell@centralholidays.com

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Central Holidays Announces Expansion of Marketing and Sales Teams as Part of Accelerated Growth Initiatives and Ongoing Commitment to the Travel Trade

Central Holidays Announces Expansion of Marketing and Sales Teams  as Part of Accelerated Growth Initiatives and Ongoing  Commitment to the Travel Trade

Central Holidays today announced the expansion of its Marketing and Sales teams as part of the company's accelerated growth initiatives and its ongoing commitment to the travel agent community. The award-winning global travel provider has named Lori Corless to the role of Vice President, Marketing, joining Central Holidays with more than 25 years of experience in the travel industry. Central Holidays has also named to its rapidly-expanding sales force two more industry specialists with a third to join before the year’s end, including Giovanna Cilia-Wheatley and Lynn Seleck, CTC.

“These highly experienced travel industry professionals exemplify the high quality marketing and sales force that we are building,” said Tewfik Ghattas, SGI Board Member. “Their vast travel industry knowledge will make them great assets not only to our company, but also to travel agents, group planners, and industry partners.” Ghattas continued, “They will significantly enhance our existing efforts to market all Central Holidays products.”

As the new Vice President, Marketing, Lori Corless will be responsible for further developing the company’s brand identity, directing advertising and public relations, building strategic alliances, and managing all marketing programs, focusing strategically on the travel trade segment.

With a strong track record of success in marketing for travel related companies over more than two decades, Corless most recently served as Vice President of Mighty Marketing for the past ten years, developing and executing marketing programs for acclaimed companies including: Wyndham Worldwide, Trafalgar, United Vacations, Insight Vacations, Friendly Planet, Princess Cruises, Sceptre Tours, Journeys Unlimited, Regina Tours, Homeric Tours, Southwest Airlines, Oceania Cruises, Goway.com, Voyages to Antiquity, Visit Orlando, and many more. Her celebrated career in travel marketing includes serving as Vice President, TAM Inc. Travel Advertising Marketing, Director of Marketing for Central Holidays Travel Group, and Marketing Manager, Pacific Bestours. "Lori will be leading Central Holidays' efforts to increase our market reach in the travel trade – and most specifically to the travel agent community. Her command of the marketplace, in-depth knowledge of diverse marketing channels, and strong trade relationships are a tremendous resource for our company as we continue on our growth course," said Ghattas. "I am looking forward to enhancing relations with the travel agent community and to increasing our market share – working in close collaboration with James Zitani, our Vice President, Sales and with our provider partners to identify the right mix of promotions, press coverage, partner campaigns, traditional and digital marketing, and product information to increase our brand visibility and maximize sales," said Corless.

New additions to the Sales team include Giovanna Cilia-Wheatley as Regional Sales Manager - Mid-Atlantic and Lynn Seleck, CTC as Regional Sales Manager - South East. They will be responsible for executing the day-to-day sales activities and providing training and operations support as well as building the company’s travel agent base in their respective regions. In addition, Central Holidays will soon be announcing a new regional sales manager for the West Coast slated to start in the beginning of the new year, further reinforcing the company’s dedication to supporting the travel agent community from coast to coast, every step of the way.

Over her career, Cilia-Wheatley has served in key sales roles for world-class travel companies such as Virgin Atlantic Airways, Continental, and Alitalia. Seleck's experience in the travel industry dates back to 1985 and includes sales and management roles at renowned travel and hospitality companies including Isram Tours' LATOUR – specializing in travel to Cuba and Latin America, Delta Airlines Vacations, One Man Tours, as well as the Ramada and Renaissance hotel chains. These exciting new team members have established records of positive sales management, increasing revenues and market share, and building strong relationships with professionals throughout the travel industry.

"Our expanded team and the broad-based talents of these individuals ensure more customer focus and stronger partnerships,” explained Ghattas. “Coupling our capabilities with these experienced sales and marketing pros promotes ongoing success for Central Holidays and its clients."

Lynn Seleck, Regional Manager - Southeast can be reached at 800-935-5000 ext. 6308 or via email at lseleck@centralholidays.com and Giovanna Cilia-Wheatley, Regional Sales Manager - Mid-Atlantic can be reached at Call 800-935-5000 ext. 5364 or via email at gcilia-wheatley@centralholidays.com.

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Time-Honored Cuba & Latin America Destination Expert Susan Schuetze Joins Central Holidays In Key Role

Time-Honored Cuba & Latin America Destination Expert  Susan Schuetze Joins Central Holidays In Key Role

Central Holidays is pleased to announce Susan Schuetze has joined the company as lead destination specialist for Latin America. Schuetze, who boasts a 10-plus year career in tourism throughout the region, will work closely with Arthur Berman, Central Holidays’ vice president, Cuba & Latin America, to continue growing the division. She will be responsible for helping drive ongoing product development initiatives, quality control and efficiency enhancements, and business relations with travel agents and suppliers as the travel brand continues its focus on providing truly authentic, experiential, customizable travel programs throughout Central America, South America and Cuba.

"Susan is an established destination expert with more than a decade of specialization in producing, promoting, packaging, and leading exceptional travel experiences throughout Cuba & Latin America,” said Berman. "Her in-depth knowledge of tourism in the region, and solid agent and supplier relationships will be a tremendous resource for our company -- giving us a significant edge in the marketplace." Susan brings to Central Holidays 10+ years of success in virtually all aspects of tour planning and operations. She is skilled at assisting clients with all kinds of trips from complex multi country itineraries and quick weekend getaways, to completely customized experiences and very detailed group travel events. Schuetze boasts knowledgeable, insightful, firsthand destination expertise in all the countries of Central America and many in South America, including Ecuador and Galapagos Islands, Peru, Brazil, Argentina, Colombia and the Patagonia area of Chile. She has personally traveled extensively throughout Cuba on more than 10 trips, making her the ideal support and partner for travel agents looking to make sure their clients have all the information they need for the perfect Cuba travel experience.

"It is invigorating to be joining a company like Central Holidays that continues growing as such a major player in the Cuba & Latin America travel marketplace,” said Schuetze. “I look forward to utilizing my experience, skills, knowledge, and talents to add a great deal to the success of the division. In my new position, I will work closely with agents and suppliers to achieve the Central Holidays goals – while providing each agent and their clients with the personal touch to ensure we deliver their ultimate trip each and every time."

Schuetze will be based in Central Holidays’ Latin America office in San Jose, Costa Rica and can be reached at 800.539.7098 Ext. 5252 or via email at susans@centralholidays.com.

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Central Holidays Announces the Appointment of Industry Specialist Margie Bell, CTC, to the Post of National Sales Manager

Central Holidays Announces the Appointment of Industry Specialist  Margie Bell, CTC, to the Post of National Sales Manager

Central Holidays today announced the appointment of travel industry sales specialist Margie Bell to the position of national sales manager for the leading travel provider. Bell joins Central Holidays with 40+ years of experience in the travel industry, including strategic sales roles as well as hands-on agency management with well-known travel companies including the IsramWorld Portfolio of Brands and the Hong Kong Tourism Board. She is responsible for driving revenue and educating travel agents about the vast range of travel opportunities offered by Central Holidays across the globe. Bell will work with travel agents and deliver training programs to increase overall brand awareness while focusing as a key initiative on “JOURNEYS,” Central Holidays’ tailor created experiential product line.

“We are fortunate to have someone of Bell’s caliber in this key role,” said Jimmy Zitani, vice president of sales for Central Holidays. “Her vast knowledge and impressive network of successful travel agents make her a great asset to Central Holidays. She will develop our brand and expand our sales efforts while providing us with a decisive competitive edge via her professional training and development programs.”

“I am thrilled to take on this new role at Central Holidays,” said Bell. “I look forward to creating Central Holidays brand awareness via my strategic relationships throughout the country and especially in the Midwest while also identifying new opportunities and generating leads to increase our market share.”

Bell’s professional career commenced in the 70’s working with Japan Travel Bureau before she attained further success as the owner of her own travel agency based in New York City.

“Beyond her immense sales savvy, her experience guiding groups all over the world gives her a unique understanding of not only the sales side of the travel business, but also the client side,” continued Zitani. “She recognizes the importance of creating a positive experience for our partners and customers, and is especially enthusiastic about providing the ultimate in tailor created programs based on the unique needs of each individual or group that travels with Central Holidays. We will benefit tremendously from her experience and efforts.”

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Journey to Alluring Santorini With Central Holidays

A popular stop for cruise ships, Santorini is a stunning island filled with quaint blue and white villages, fascinating ruins, and incredible beaches lapped by the azure waters of the Aegean Sea. Whether you’re a history lover or a beach buff, Santorini has plenty to offer just about everyone, from multiple beaches to impeccably preserved ancient Greek ruins. Even those looking for some time away at a slower pace will find the perfect speed here on Santorini.

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