California Travel Industry Association hires full-time president and CEO for the first time in its history


For the first time in the history of the California Travel Industry Association (CalTIA), it will employ a dedicated full-time president and CEO, naming John Severini to the post. Previously, this position was contracted with independent association managers and firms since its formation in 1981.

CalTIA is the unified voice for the California travel industry’s political concerns. By advocating directly to the state legislature, the governor’s office, local and federal officials, businesses, and the public, CalTIA addresses issues that ensure the health of the state’s tourism industry.

CalTIA also aggressively seeks to ensure continued funding for the California Travel and Tourism Commission (CTTC) and provides a variety of educational opportunities for the industry.

“CalTIA as an organization has evolved with the growing demands of its membership base,” said Gary Sherwin, CalTIA chairman for 2009-2010 and president and CEO, Visit Newport Beach, Inc. “The cornerstone of our new strategic plan requires a CEO with a strong business sense, entrepreneurial skills, and who can provide new revenue streams to support the organization. John is an outstanding choice for this new role, given his vast hospitality experience and strong fiduciary background, which is critical to CalTIA’s future. His appointment is truly a breakthrough for this organization.”

Severini’s career includes serving as president of Trafalgar Tours USA, where he directed US initiatives for vacation programs to Europe, USA/Canada, Australia/New Zealand, and the Orient. He has also held senior executive positions at the Walt Disney Company, which included vice president of national accounts for Walt Disney Attractions Inc., where he designed strategic campaigns and marketing initiatives for Disneyland, Walt Disney World, and Disney Cruise Line. He also served as vice president, sales and passenger services for Disney Cruise Line, where he developed marketing and sales strategies for the US and international trade communities, managed a new passenger services department of 300+ cast members and was part of the core start-up executive team, which oversaw the launch of Disney Cruise Line ships. Both roles included additional duties as a designated Disney spokesperson.
Severini has also served as vice president of sales for Royal Cruise Line; senior consultant and partner with KDS Marketing, Sales & Business Solutions; Executive vice president sales and marketing for R.S.S. Ventures, Inc. and chief marketing and sales officer with Ascend.

“CalTIA’s impressive accomplishments in governmental advocacy and education, combined with a talented membership base were core elements that attracted me to this association” said John Severini. “There are compelling reasons why travel-related businesses and individuals need to belong to this association, and I’m looking forward to working with their boards, membership, and related associations to grow CalTIA from strength to strength.”

Severini earned a bachelor of arts degree in advertising from San Jose State University. He and his wife Kim reside in Southern California. He will begin in his new position starting June 1, 2010.