ASTA, the leading global advocate for the travel industry, is pleased to announce its recent hire of Susan Verdolini-Sheats as new VP, Business Development. With this role, Sue will lead ASTA’s strategic alliance and Allied Member outreach and management. Over the last 30 years, Sue has built a proven track record in building win-win relationships around the globe, and her role will help ASTA expand its growth and advocacy message worldwide. Most recently Sue was VP, Business Development with the Global Business Travel Association, achieving sponsorship and exhibit goals for large business travel events from conventions and conferences to international symposiums.
“We are delighted to bring Sue’s creativity, energy and expertise to bear on our efforts to revitalize ASTA, the world's largest association of travel professionals. The travel professional provides important expertise and service in a critically important aspect of the world economy,” said ASTA CEO and President, Zane Kerby. “Seasoned pros like Sue are crucial in helping us meet our goal of promoting and facilitating the business of travel in a vibrant global marketplace that is rewarding for agents, suppliers and the traveling public,” Kerby continued.
“After many years of extensive, highly targeted regional, national and international sales and marketing primarily in travel and tourism, I am delighted to join ASTA for this exciting new phase of growth worldwide,” said Verdolini-Sheats.
Also joining the team is Bill Lawrence as Director, Partner Programs. Bill has more than 30 years' experience in the travel and hotel industry. He has held prominent sales, marketing and corporate development positions at top international hotel chains including InterContinental Hotels, Hilton International, Sheraton and CIGA Hotels, Inc. Additionally, Bill previously served as associate publisher of ASTA Agency Management Magazine, publisher of the Official Hotel & Resort Guide and successfully led the corporate sales development for ACTE. Most recently, Bill was a key member of the CCRA Travel Solutions Hotel Partner Team, working with hotels, resorts and a wide range of travel suppliers in the US and overseas on marketing and sales projects for travel agents and agencies.
The travel industry is driven by professionals who love what they do and have a passion to see the world. According to the World Travel Tourism Council, in 2012, the total contribution from Travel & Tourism to the world GDP grew by 3.0% - faster than growth of the world economy as whole (2.3%). Tourism’s direct contribution to GDP in 2012 was US$2.1 trillion and the industry directly supported 101 million jobs.