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.
The Dean Galway recently opened in the western coastal Irish city, making waves in the hospitality industry. Spanning 5,000 square feet, the property incorporates historic structures of the city, including part of the 19th-century Galway Clifden railway tunnel and a 19th-century stone building.
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45 Park Lane recently opened CUT Terrace, a new alfresco dining experience created by Chef Elliot Grove. Featuring dishes from Wolfgang Puck’s CUT menu and drinks from BAR 45, Grove celebrates U.K. producers and flavors with each dish.
Just north of the bustling city of Jacksonville on Florida’s East Coast, historic Amelia Island is a slower, dreamier destination — especially for food lovers. Fresh catch is always a great place to begin, but the island also offers a wide selection of specialty food shops, brewpubs and great restaurants well worth exploring.
United Airlines remains firmly committed toward sustainability in aviation. The latest development in its eco-conscious goals includes working with Oxy Low Carbon Ventures to commercialize the production of sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) with biotech firm Cemvita Factory. Cemvita looks to develop a revolutionary new way to produce SAF by using carbon dioxide and synthetic microbes. Additionally, United Airlines Ventures (UAV) recently announced an equity investment in Fulcrum, and United has invested more in SAF production than any other airline in the world.
The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection celebrated an exciting moment recently when Evrima, its inaugural yacht, completed a series of successful sea trials. On June 9, in Santander, Spain, Evrima reached what is considered one of the final shipbuilding milestones prior to launch with the sea trials, a series of tests carried out when the yacht is sailing on open waters. Captain Steven MacBeath led the trials, alongside a team of senior officers, engineers, contractors and shipyard staff.
Max Beach Resort recently opened its doors in Florida’s Daytona Beach shores. As the area’s first professionally managed, short-term rental offering with enhanced guest amenities, the 12-story property sits on a stretch of East Coast beach overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.
ISN’T IT TIME? It's time to treat yourself to the vacation you deserve, and Celebrity Cruises® offers the perfect escapes. With an award-winning fleet of ships that sail to more than 300 destinations around the world, Celebrity will take you almost anywhere you want to go in style. Enjoy stunning staterooms and suites, culinary experiences imagined by Michelin-starred chefs and intuitive service. Celebrity makes sure your vacation is effortless from the start, which is why drinks, WiFi and tips are Always IncludedSM on every sailing.
Through June 30, United Airlines, Chase and Visa team up to reward cardmembers who donate to select non-profit organizations celebrating and advocating for the LGBTQ+ community. These organizations include The Trevor Project, The Human Rights Campaign and StartOut.