Speakers

Samantha Brown

Host, PBS’s Samantha Brown’s Places to Love

Travel expert and television host Samantha Brown has been hosting TV travel programs for 18 years. During her time at Travel Channel she created 10 original international and domestic travel series generating over 170 hours of television. In 2017 Samantha moved from the Travel Channel to PBS and Season 1 of her new series Samantha Brown’s Places to Love premiered in January, 2018. In Places to Love, Samantha features the destinations, experiences and most importantly the people that make us the traveler feel like we belong to a place. Season 2 will begin airing on PBS in January 2019 and features destinations like Switzerland, Hong Kong, Lafayette, Louisiana, Baltimore and New Zealand.

Samantha is known for getting to the emotional heart of travel by focusing on the people, their culture, and the privilege of spending time in their everyday lives. Viewers passionately follow Samantha and her expert advice not only because of her experience and knowledge, but also because of her warmth, genuineness and love for travel.

Samantha grew up in New Hampshire and currently lives in Brooklyn, NY with her husband and 6 year old twins Ellis and Elizabeth.

Facebook: facebook.com/RealSamanthaBrown
Twitter: @samanthabrown
Instagram: Instagram.com/samanthabrowntravels

Carmen Carbonell

President of Your Own Italy

Carmen Carbonell is founder and President of Your Own Italy. Carmen was born in the United States, where she obtained a degree in Architecture. Following college, she married an Italian and moved to Rome, where she raised 4 sons. She also developed a passionate love for Italy – its art, its architecture, its cities, its countryside, its culture and cuisines, and its people.

Now, after nearly 30 years living in Italy, Carmen wants to share her love for Italy with American travelers who want more than a standard tour…travelers who want to experience the real Italy, with the heart and soul of the nature and its people. She founded Your Own Italy as a boutique tour company that will provide private tours that take travelers deep into Italy’s heart and soul, with vacation packages that will be memorable for life, and shore excursions that will give tour ship guests a unique day in Rome, Florence, Venice or the Amalfi Coast. –

The team works with boutique hotels, tested and proven restaurants, historic sites, museums, basilicas, plus individuals and tours that meet Your Own Italy’s standards – standards virtually guaranteed to ensure that Your Own Italy vacation or shore excursion will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience you will remember forever. And long to repeat with your new friends in Italy, Your Own Italy.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/YourOwnItaly/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/YourOwnItaly
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/yourownitaly/

Kevin Carter

Director of Strategic Partnerships, AAA Member Choice Vacations

Kevin Carter has been with AAA Member Choice Vacations since 2003. In those 14 years, he has been a Product Manager, Business Development Manager, and Regional District Sales Manager before becoming the Director of Strategic Partnerships. These years of service, along with his bachelor’s from the University of New Hampshire in Hotel and Leisure Travel Management, has allowed Kevin a unique perspective on the travel industry. What drives his passion for the industry? “It’s different every day, with unique challenges to overcome. And, who doesn’t love making the world a smaller place through the magic of travel?”

Angel Castellanos Celebrity Travel Expert - Travel Shows

Angel Castellanos

World Traveler, Travel Expert, Writer, AngelsTravelLounge.com

Angel Castellanos, (www.AngelsTravelLounge.com) is a passionate world traveler, travel writer, influencer, multi-media personality and nationally recognized speaker dedicated to helping people travel smart, well and often. Traveling to over 75 countries on 5 continents (and counting), Angel travels 12-14 weeks internationally each year and draws on his experience and frequent travels to teach “Smart Travel” and equip travelers with the skills they need to make travel easy and enjoyable. He bridges the gap between the practical, common sense advice he’s learned by traveling the world and the new savvy tips and experiences that have helped his generation revolutionize travel. Angel has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Fox News, Univision, Frommers Radio, USA Today & Travel & Adventure Show as “America’s Newest Travel Expert”.

Twitter: @angelstravels
Instagram: @angels_travels
Snapchat: @angeltravels
Facebook: @thetravelamabassador

Donna Cook

Director of National Accounts, AmaWaterways

Donna Cook joined AmaWaterways as Director of Strategic Initiatives and was promoted to Director of National Accounts. Donna joins us after 14 years with Crystal Cruises most recently serving as vice president, quality control and communications. At Crystal, Donna worked in several capacities within Sales and Operations and helped facilitate the launch of their two new experiences, Crystal River and Crystal Yacht cruises during the company’s expansion. A Philadelphia native, Donna brings more than 23 years’ experience in both public and private sectors. Prior to 14 years in the cruise industry, Donna was a management consultant for a big 5 management consulting firm as well as a boutique organization specializing in process improvement and industrial engineering. Donna holds master’s degree from The Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD.

Alexa Donahe

On Stage Alaska presenter, Holland America

Alexa Donahe moved to Alaska six years ago to work at a fishing lodge in Ninilchik, AK. She has been working with Holland America Line in Alaska since 2015. Alexa resides in Anchorage where she enjoys year-round access to outdoor recreational activities like fishing, camping, and snowboarding.

Robert Drumm

President, Alexander+Roberts

Bob Drumm is the president of Alexander+Roberts, a pioneering, international luxury travel company celebrating its 72nd anniversary. Mr. Drumm graduated from New York’s Columbia University with a BA and MBA. After a brief stint at Pan American World Airways, he began his own travel company and in 1991, he acquired A+R. Although he has lived his entire life in New England and the Mid Atlantic, Mr. Drumm’s passion for travel and his professional career have taken him around the globe to every continent – most recently to Ethiopia, Cuba and New Zealand.

Dawn Elmendorf

Key Accounts Manager, Rocky Mountaineer

Dawn has been in the travel industry for 30 years working in virtually all aspects of the industry from operations to sales.  She began traveling internationally at a young age and while her love for other cultures and countries has literally taken Dawn all around the world, her passion lies in the Canadian Rockies. Dawn is thrilled to represent Rocky Mountaineer as she is able to provide our guests with a unique and luxurious rail experience seeing the one of the most beautiful destinations in the world, Western Canada.

Hadyn Fitzpatrick

Premium Trade Manager, Tourism New Zealand

Hadyn Fitzpatrick joined Tourism New Zealand in June 2016 in the role of Premium Trade Manager. Prior to joining Tourism New Zealand Hadyn was working for luxury helicopter operator in Queenstown, New Zealand.

Hadyn is based at Tourism New Zealand’s Santa Monica office. He works closely with New Zealand’s travel industry to ensure that US travel trade and consumers are as educated as possible on New Zealand’s unique offerings.

Hadyn loves New Zealand’s natural beauty, stunning diversity, rich culture and sharing stories about his homeland is his passion.

The draw of New Zealand is more than the destination; it’s everything that makes up the destination. Experiential highs, captivating history, unique accommodations, local immersion and iconic backdrops. New Zealand truly offers a sense of perfection from each traveller’s perspective.

Be sure to stop by the Aussie Experts Booth to meet Hadyn, ask questions and listen to his New Zealand storytelling.

Pauline Frommer

Pauline Frommer

Editorial Director of the Frommer’s Guides and Publisher of Frommers.com

Pauline Frommer is co-President of Frommer Media, LLC, with her father, travel legend Arthur Frommer. Together, they publish America’s most popular series of travel guidebooks, the Frommer guides, as well as Frommers.com, a website that welcomes more than 3 million unique users per month. She is also a nationally syndicated radio talk show host, and she pens an internationally syndicated newspaper column on travel for King Features. You may recognize her face as Pauline created weekly travel segments for CNN’s Headline News for 3 years. She’s also appeared on The Today Show, Good Morning America,  NPR’s Marketplace and Talk of the Nation, CNN, FOX, MSNBC and every local news station you can name. She was the founding editor of Frommers.com and edited MSNBC.com’s travel section for two years. Pauline is the proud mother of two well-traveled daughters and wife to Columbia University professor Mahlon Stewart.

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/FrommersTravelGuides
Twitter:  https://twitter.com/frommers

Kayli Gronski

On Stage Alaska presenter, Holland America

Kayli Gronski began working for Holland America Line in Alaska four years ago in Fairbanks. She has been captivated by rugged wilderness of Alaska. The state has quickly become her favorite hiking and camping playground as well as her home.

Sarah Hamilton

District Sales Manager, Brendan Vacations

“An té a bhíónn siúlach, bíonn scéalach” – Gaelic proverb | (“He who travels, has stories to tell”) I was born and raised in a village in the northeast of Ireland. I caught the travel bug when I joined The CBOI (cross border orchestra of Ireland) introducing me to the wonderful world of Orchestral Music, and the opportunity to travel around the World. Playing locally in Ireland, throughout Europe, and Preforming across the USA. While traveling, I fell in love with New York City. After completing my university degree, I moved to the city in 2010. Since then it has become my second home. Brendan Vacations has given me the opportunity to proudly share memories and my love of my beautiful country. I am fortunate to have the opportunity to inspire people to weave their own Celtic story through Brendan Vacations by taking their guests personally and connecting them to heartbeat of the Celtic isle, the people.

Ruth Rosewarne Kimerer

Tourism Development and Sales Manager, Visit Anchorage

Ruth Rosewarne Kimerer – Ruth moved to Alaska in 1993 to work a summer job at a road house on the Kenai Peninsula. The minute she saw the Turnagain Arm, she knew she was never leaving. She moved to Girdwood, Alaska to be a snowboard bum for a winter and instead became a marketer at Alaska’s premier year-round resort, Alyeska Resort which started her long career in Alaska tourism. With a move to Anchorage came a job with the mighty Alaska Railroad Sales and Marketing where Ruth learned the ins and outs of the railbelt, as far south as Seward, as far north as Fairbanks and everything in between. Now at Visit Anchorage, Ruth loves her adopted home and everything about it. Ask her anything and the response will be full of knowledge and passion for the great state of Alaska and Anchorage!

Judy Koziel

Business Development Manager, Pleasant Holidays

Judy has worked with Pleasant Holidays for 15 years and has more than 25 years in the travel industry.

James McBride

Business Development Manager, Princess Cruises

Travel industry veteran with over 40 years of experience working for hotels, tour operators and as a travel agent. Joined Princess Cruises in 1985 and proud to be part of its tremendous worldwide growth. 

Frank Nunez

CEO, My Medical Destination

Frank has been working in Medical Tourism for the last 8 years. His company puts forth the necessary effort in finding the most qualified specialists for your needs. He focuses on our closest neighbor, Mexico. Living in the U. S. and Mexico his entire life helps Frank understand both cultures. And, this makes him the best candidate. He has a degree in Psychology and worked for many years as an engineer for Qualcomm.  He specializes in many branches of medical tourism but the most popular are: Cosmetic Dentistry, Plastic Surgery, Weight Loss and many more.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mymedicaldestination/
Website: http://mymedicaldestination.com

Rudy Passera

Owner & WWII Interpretive Guide of Normandy American Heroes

Specialist of the WWII American European Campaign, my passion for history was sparked by my father’s passion since I can remember, having among others, visited at the age of 8, the infamous concentration camp of Auschwitz. After a successful international career with Halliburton, I decided to put my business experience to work toward something that truly inspired me: pay homage to those who fought, suffered and sacrificed their lives in WWII for our freedom. Why? One may only taste freedom when others around us are free….“Simone de Beauvoir

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/normandyamericanheroes/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/WWIINAH
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/rudypassera/

Susana Romero

Director, Celebrity Cruises, Director, Galapagos Sales & Communication

Susana calls Miami, Florida home and has been involved with the Celebrity Cruises brand since 1996. During her tenure, she has contributed in several capacities allowing her to have a unique and well rounded “expert point of view”.

Susana has been involved with the Celebrity Galapagos product since its inception in 2003, today she leads global sales and communication for Celebrity’s Galapagos portfolio. Most recently, she completed the launch of the Galapagos expansion project, adding two more vessels to Celebrity’s portfolio. She is currently involved in the building of Celebrity Flora, a brand-new all-suite vessel launching in 2019.  Susana has visited the Galapagos Islands several times and truly brings the destination to life!

Website: https://webapps.celebritycruises.com/galapagos/

Andrea Ross

Wild Frontiers U.S. Director

With British parents, Andrea Ross grew up in England listening to stories of colonial Africa and the Far East. At the age of 8 she took her first solo trip to Australia to visit her aunt and she hasn’t stopped traveling since.

In 2003 Andrea moved to Cambodia, where she started Journeys Within Tour Company in Siem Reap (just outside the famous Angkor Wat temple complex). In 2017, Journeys Within was acquired by Wild Frontiers – an award-winning adventure travel company based in the United Kingdom.

Andrea has been recognized as a top travel specialist for Southeast Asia by media outlets such as Condé Nast Traveler, Travel + Leisure, and Wendy Perrin. In 2017, Andrea was named an “Outstanding Mentor in Travel and Tourism” by the trade organization Women in Travel and Tourism International (WITTI), and Journeys Within has been included in Travel + Leisure’s “Top Tour Operators in the World” list for the past 2 years.

As the Wild Frontiers U.S. Director, Andrea oversees the expansion of Wild Frontiers’ presence in the States, while continuing to travel, speaking at clubs and schools, promoting philanthropic travel, and fundraising for Journeys Within Our Community and the Wild Frontiers Foundation.

Website: https://www.wildfrontierstravel.com/
Instagram: @wildfrontiers
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/wildfrontiers/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/wildfrontiersuk
Wild Frontiers TV: https://www.wildfrontiers.tv/
Twitter: @WildFrontiers

Sunnie Rossi

President, Aussie Experts (Affiliated with Travel 100 group)

In 1994, Sunnie made her first visit to Australia and New Zealand and fell in love and developed a passion for Australia and New Zealand. Since that time, she has made yearly visits to both countries in order to enhance her knowledge, maintain contacts, and stay in touch with current developments. Sunnie is a certified destination specialist with Australia (premier Aussie Specialist), New Zealand (Kiwi specialist), Fiji (Mati specialist) and Tahiti (Tiare specialist). In addition, Sunnie is a two-time winner of the prestigious Opal award given by the Australian Tourist commission for excellence in planning and selling Australian vacations. The Aussie Experts is a full service South Pacific travel company (affiliated with Travel 100 group) with the ability to issue airline tickets, custom design a perfect itinerary and instantly issue visas for Australia. In brief, Aussie Experts has the background, knowledge, and the expertise to tailor a trip to your specifications, time frame and budget!

Diane Ryan

Market Sales Manager, Celebrity Cruises

Diane Ryan- Market Sales Manager- Celebrity Cruises- 13 years in current position with Celebrity Cruises.

Patricia Schultz Travel Author - Travel Shows

Patricia Schultz

Bestselling Author, 1,000 Places to See Before You Die and 1,000 Places to See in The USA & Canada Before You Die

Patricia Schultz is the author of the #1 New York Times bestsellers 1,000 Places to See Before You Die and 1,000 Places to See in the United States and Canada Before You Die. A veteran travel journalist with 30 years of experience, she has written for guides such as Frommer’s and Berlitz and periodicals including The Wall Street Journal and Travel Weekly, where she is a contributing editor. She also executive-produced a Travel Channel television show based on 1,000 Places to See Before You Die. Her home base is New York City.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/patricia.schultz.560
Twitter: https://twitter.com/1000Places/media
Publisher: https://www.workman.com/brands/1000-places

Rick Steves Celebrity Travel Speaker

Rick Steves

Travel Writer, Host of Rick Steves’ Europe and Travel with Rick Steves

Guidebook author and travel TV host Rick Steves is America’s most respected authority on European travel. He grew up in Edmonds, Washington and studied at the University of Washington where he received degrees in Business Administration and European History. But his real education was earned on the road — since 1973 he’s spent 120 days a year in Europe. Spending one third of his adult life living out of a carry-on backpack has shaped Rick’s thinking and broadened his perspectives. Today he employs nearly 100 people at the Rick Steves’ Europe headquarters where he produces dozens of best-selling guidebook titles on European travel, America’s most popular travel series on public television, a weekly hour-long national public radio show, podcasts, travel apps, and a weekly syndicated travel column. Rick Steves lives and works in his hometown of Edmonds, Washington. His office window overlooks his old junior high school.

Facebook: Facebook.com/ricksteves
Twitter: Twitter.com/ricksteves

Robert Stieve

Editor and Chief, Arizona Highways magazine

Robert Stieve is the editor in chief of Arizona Highways magazine. He’s been serving in that role since April 2007. Prior to his arrival at Arizona Highways, he served as editor of PHOENIX magazine for eight years, and another three years as managing editor.

He’s worked for several newspapers and radio stations around the country, and was a speechwriter at the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. In addition to his work at Arizona Highways, he’s an adjunct professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University, and he serves as a board member of the Cronkite School and the Barry & Peggy Goldwater Foundation, whose mission is to preserve Mr. Goldwater’s archive of 15,000 photographs. He holds a master’s degree in journalism from the Cronkite School and a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Marshall University.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/arizonatravel
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/visit_arizona/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/ArizonaTourism

Arin Vaughan

District Sales Manager, Trafalgar

Arin Vaughan joined the Travel Corporation family of brands two years ago and now brings her passion for travel to the Mid-West as the Trafalgar, Brendan and CostSaver District Sales Manager. An avid adventurer, the impact travel has had on Arin’s life sparked a fire in her to get out and help other people experience The Good Life as well. It’s not just showing up in a foreign place. It’s digging in and understanding what makes a destination special. It’s connecting with the locals, discovering the history and treasures around every corner and knowing that traveling with companies like Trafalgar, Brendan and CostSaver offers year-round sustainability to communities, families and traditions.

Ralph Velasco Travel Show Speaker

Ralph Velasco

CEO (Chief Experience Officer), PhotoEnrichment

Ralph Velasco is Founder and CEO (Chief Experience Officer) of PhotoEnrichment Adventures (PEA), as well as a travel photography instructor and international guide. For more than 10 years he’s organized and led cultural tours, with a focus on photography, in destinations around the world, including to India, Cambodia, Vietnam, the Baltics, Spain, Romania, Morocco, Iceland, Cuba, the Adriatic, Central Europe, Tuscany, Mexico and others.

Ralph is also the creator of the Tour Organizer Training free webinar and online course series where he teaches everyday people to get paid to travel.  In this step-by-step course, he shows participants how to organize and lead their own special interest tours, whether around the world, or around the corner.

Facebook: http://facebook.com/ralphvelasco
Facebook: http://facebook.com/photoenrichment
Twitter: http://twitter.com/ralphvelasco
Twitter: http://twitter.com/photoenrichment
Instagram: http://instagram.com/ralphvelasco
Instagram: http://instagram.com/photoenrichment

Michael Weldon

Director, Trade Sales, Viking

Michael started his career with Sitmar Cruises back in 1985 and since then has owned his own agency for 14 years; was Director of Sales for American West Steamboat Company; worked for Norwegian Cruise Line for a while; then moved to Viking ten years ago and currently is the Director of Trade Sales.