Name: Melanie de Souza
Title: Executive director destination marketing
Company, city: Royal Commission for AlUla; AlUla, Saudi Arabia
First job: Sales executive for Oberoi Hotels
Where to next: The beautiful country of Georgia
A LITTLE BIT MORE
What actor or actress would play you in a movie of your life?
My indulgent answer would be Meryl Streep. I could also say Whoopi Goldberg!
What would you be doing professionally if you weren’t in your current industry?
I would be in a marketing role with a lifestyle brand, working in advertising or perhaps still with hotels, where I embarked on my career.
What is your favorite book, movie or television show?
Gruen, an Australian TV program that focuses on advertising and is hilarious and on the money!
What historical figure, dead or alive, would you love to have dinner with?
The refreshing Jacinta Ardern, prime minister of New Zealand. She’s an inspirational human being, politically savvy but still grounded.
What is your most recent project, and what was the inspiration behind it?
We are looking to bring Saudia Arabia more into the tourism space. AlUla is a special place, so it’s important to get the messaging right. Our domestic brand campaign, The World’s Masterpiece, brings to life how AlUla is rich in historical, geological and geographical significance, and how this ancient city, once the crossroads of The Silk Road and The Incense Route, has recently been rediscovered by the world. This is the first-ever destination brand campaign for AlUla and includes a film directed by renowned cinematographer Bruno Aveillan.
What is your favorite aspect of the job?
Leading a professional team of marketers, including a new generation of passionate and competent Saudis, in positioning what I have no doubt will be one of the greatest tourism destinations of the world
What’s the biggest business risk you’ve ever taken?
Committing to a large expenditure to close a deal before the relevant budget was formally handed down. I live to tell the tale!
Who is someone you admire professionally in the travel industry?
Alan Joyce, chief executive at Qantas, is a great leader. He does not shy away from making tough decisions, champions causes and is well-regarded by his team.
AS A TRAVELER
Tell us about a travel nightmare: Before Google Maps, I navigated my way in Japan on sales calls and deciphered street numbers without the requisite language skills. I’m thankful for the courtesy and friendliness of locals!
Share a comical travel experience: In my early days of official visits to China, I observed my Australian associates coming to terms with cultural expectations. I watched them get insanely drunk with the myriad rounds of official toasts and number of courses in a traditional official banquet, all while trying not to giggle. Fortunately for me, I had been well-coached.
What is your preferred method of travel — planes, trains, automobiles, cruise ships — and why? Planes are efficient to get to a destination when time is limited. I do have a soft spot for the romance of rail journeys.
What has been the best example of customer service you’ve experienced during your travels? I have had the privilege of staying at some fine hotels. They boast guest history records that are supreme. You are not asked the same question about your preferences twice, and friendly staff address you by your name and appear to be genuinely enjoying their roles.
Galataport Istanbul, a new cruise and lifestyle destination on the Bosphorus in Istanbul, welcomed its first ship, SeaDream II, on Oct. 1. Approximately 150 passengers and crew from Bulgaria Varna arrived at 10 a.m. for a two-day homeport operation before continuing to Bulgaria Burgaz.
The Global Business Travel Association’s (GBTA) Convention 2021 will be unlike any other convention before it, as we come together in person for the first time since the business travel industry drastically changed and look forward to rebuilding and reshaping the future. GBTA Convention 2021 will bring all of us together to learn from experts and each other, in-person at Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida, Nov. 17–19. The safety of our attendees is our top priority. View health and safety protocols.
The countdown to Halloween weekend is on! Are you are still unsure about plans? Do you go to a house party? Stay in to hand out candy? Try something different this year and join Philadelphia’s The Mütter Museum at its 6th annual Mischief at The Mütter.
There’s an aspirational rustic chic/farm-to-table restaurant genre often associated with Northern California’s wine country. When you drive down the main street of Napa, Sonoma or any of the other towns, it appears there are as many of them as there are vineyards. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with this genre, as the quality of the food is consistent and ambitious chefs earnestly endeavor to elevate home-style dishes to a higher standard.
Without a doubt, the pandemic changed the role of airports in the travel industry. Hamad International Airport’s role evolved in many ways since the pandemic hit. Now, more than ever, airports are responsible for creating a secure passenger experience. As the gateway to Qatar and the world, the safety and wellbeing of staff and passengers has always been at the core of Hamad International Airport’s strategy.
The InterContinental Mark Hopkins San Francisco announced a new amenity for guests in collaboration with Porsche. Porsche electric vehicle charging stations will now be located in the valet area of the hotel’s parking deck, allowing guests and visitors to top off the batteries of electric vehicles while enjoying a cocktail at Top of the Mark, enjoying farm-to-table fare at Nob Hill Club or staying overnight at the property.
This holiday season, escape to the Caribbean with Celebrity Cruises and reconnect with family and friends in luxurious accommodations that make you feel right at home. Savor globally inspired cuisine designed by our Michelin-starred chef, paired with the most awarded wine collection at sea. Elevate “me time” with a soothing spa treatment sure to renew. With both long and short cruises to celebrate in December, and even three special Ultimate Holiday Cruises that sail over Christmas and into the New Year, the time to gift an experience and create unforgettable memories is now. Celebrity Cruises’ Always IncludedSM pricing — drinks, WiFi and tips — ensures a seamless, carefree vacation with the ones you love.
It’s time to start dreaming of your next trip. Here’s some destination inspiration for you. Take a visual journey through Reykjavik with us.