From the Presidents Desk

From the President’s Desk

As the year draws to an end I take this opportunity to first and foremost thank all of you for electing me as your WITIA President am greatly humbled and look forward to working together with all of you for WITIA’s success.
I also take a moment to celebrate all the members for the continued engagement in the field of Hospitality and Tourism while sharing, supporting each other in business as we empower members in the industry. That has created an abundance of kindness across the world in inspiring people to travel despite the challenges brought by the pandemic.
This year has been filled with a multitude of challenges and victories too. One of the challenge was the educational planned for this year could not take place due to the uncertainty created by the pandemic non the less we were able to explore the world virtually through the Hand of friendship sessions conducted by members.
We also had new members join the Alliance.
There also opportunities to serve on WITIA’s Board some vacancies to be filled are namely the Vice President, Executive Secretary, Secretary, Social Media Coordinator, Communications Team Coordinator, Membership Coordinator Americas, Membership Coordinator Australasia and Membership Coordinator Europe & Middle East positions - Nominate yourself.
We look forward into 2023 with enthusiasm and anticipation of new opportunities building up in all our locations worldwide for Sustainable Tourism.
Working together this past year has been a pleasure and I am grateful being part of this noble team. So I thank you all for the hard work and commitment you've shown over the past year. Our combined strength is what makes us successful as an Alliance.
I wish you all a Merry Christmas and Prosperous year 2023.

Joyce Kienji


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Global Partner Offer

Zara Tours / Zara Tanzania Adventures

Zara Tours/Zara Tanzania Adventures is a local company, established in 1986 located in Moshi, Tanzania, providing high quality travel and tour services in the East Africa. Over the years Zara Tanzania Adventures has evolved into Tanzania’s largest Kilimanjaro outfitter and one of the largest safari operators in Tanzania.

Zara Tanzania Adventures has more than 36 years of experience as a qualified mountain climbing Kilimanjaro, hospitality, accommodation and Safari tour operator in Tanzania, Zanzibar Island and East Africa tours. We currently employ more than 80 registered English, Spanish, Russia, French and Germany speaking Guides.

We have a fleet of more than 50 well-maintained vehicle and 8 accommodation facilities including Springlands Hotel in Moshi, Highview hotel and Highview coffee lodge in Karatu, Serengeti wild camp, Serengeti wildebeest camp and Serengeti safari lodge in central Serengeti, Ikoma wild camp in northern Serengeti and lastly Ngorongoro wild camp and Ngorongoro safari lodge in the Ngorongoro conservation area. 

Safety, efficiency and reliability have earned us the reputation of being one of the best-valued and most reliable operators in the region.  And over the years we have been awarded the number one tour operator in Tanzania by the Tanzania National Park Authority. (Our Awards)

When you travel with Zara Tanzania Adventures you also help the people and environment of Tanzania. Long before the term “Sustainable tourism” became fashionable, we already spent big effort in setting up our tours in a socially and environmentally responsible way. Our latest efforts include the foundation of the ZARA Charity in 2009 with several projects.

Contact information:

Zara Tours

P.O. Box 1990



Toll Free: number +1 - 866 550 4447

Wasp number        +1416 700 3324




Instagram:    Twitter:        


Member Spotlight

Managing Director – Groups & incentive


Bertille Hocquet

People call me Bertille, it’s a French name that means: Warrior !

I feel like it represents who I am pretty well as being a woman and a business owner is an everyday fight.

Born in France in a very rural part of Picardie I never imagined, as a child, that I would end up in Florida.

My first passion was dedicated to dancing! I was in a program, when I was 15, that allowed me to study while dancing. My whole life revolved around it. I danced in different types of environments, from Opera to TV sets. I was destined to be a professional dancer. But being on stage most of the time allowed me to meet my husband and now the father of our 2 daughters.

At 24, my husband, Franck, had other plans for us and we both left France to join a receptive tour operator in Fort Lauderdale. Needless to say, I knew nothing about tourism nor office work and my English was very rudimentary. But after 4 years, I felt confident that I could not only do my job well, but also open and manage a DMC. That’s when CONTACT USA was born.

Since 2005, Contact has been growing stronger and stronger. With a team of nearly 20 dedicated employees, working from our office in Plantation, in France and in Canada, we are able to respond to all the requests whether it’s for groups, incentives, FIT’s, MICE etc..coming to the US. No request is too small or too big.

I was first introduced to WITIA through Suzie Campbell from Travel to Marketing. We share a common interest in exchanging knowledge and experiences worldwide. Obviously, as women, we learned quickly that the best way to succeed is through supporting each other.

My days are divided between my work obviously, but also my girls. They are both born in the USA but are fluent in French and enjoy our culture. We are going back to France on vacation but also to support my oldest daughter Lisa who is a singer and has recorded a few hits in both countries! I’m also supporting two French pop-art artists: LEO & STEPH ! And if I still have time, I love to host and cook!

Between Franck being elected as a French deputy and the inspection tours that are required, we are always meeting new people and visiting new places. Last week for instance, we were invited to the White House while our French President came to Washington. We are welcoming every new opportunity and even though we had to go through tough times, we are so relieved to see our business resuming to normal. We know that we are going to have ups and downs again, but the strength of Contact resides in the beautiful team we were able to create.  



By Dr Carmel Thompson

WITIA Director of Professional Development

Dear WITIA Colleagues

This is our final Newsletter for 2022 and I am wondering if you are feeling like Santa is, in the picture above, i.e. that time is fast running out.  Xmas Day is just around the corner, and there is still SO SO MUCH to do!!   I know I am.

The past 12 months in particular have gone by so fast but at least we are now experiencing “green shoots” in the travel and tourism industries.  Our travel agents tell us they are incredibly busy taking bookings for domestic and international travel in 2023 and beyond.  COVID may still be around but many of us have decided that this will not stop us we will ensure we take precautions like keeping up vaccinations, wearing masks and avoiding crowded indoor activities, but it is not going to stop us from returning to travel and taking holidays.

I have been wondering what activity I could suggest for you our members this month that is not tedious but still enjoyable at this time of the year.  I have decided that it could be useful and fun to compile a photo book, memories of either a holiday or a Christmas family function.  We all take dozens of photographs on our mobile phones or ipads of special occasions but then in many cases never look at them again.  A photo book of our best ‘snaps’ with little comments underneath creates a much more interesting recollection of the event.

There are a number of applications that assist you to put together your own personalised photo book and they will even print you a couple of copies (or more if you want them) at a reasonable price and send them to your address.  Snapfish appears to be one of the more popular ones.

Below you can find some simple steps to create a photo book through Snapfish including Youtube video’s.

  1. How to Create Photo Books in the Snapfish App
    1. Step 1: Select Photo Books Category Tap on the Photo Books category on the home page and select the size you want to create.
    1. Step 2: Select Your Photos You’ll see a prompt letting you know you’ll need at least 22 photos for this project. ...
    1. Step 3: Arrange Pages ...
    1. Step 4: Play with Layouts and Backgrounds ...
    1. Step 5: Order Up! ...
  • People also ask:
  • How do you make a book cover on Snapfish?
  • How do I make a photo book?
  • How many photos do I need to make a book?
  • How do I change the size of a photo book?

This link is if you become adventurous and want to go further.

 I wish you all a Very Merry Christmas.  Stay happy and keep well!!!!


WITIA Director - Professional Development



Remembering Cindy Passannante

It is with sadness that WITIA announces the unexpected death of Cindy Passannante, WITIA’s Director of Marketing, Americas. We extend our sincere condolences to Cindy's family.

I had the pleasure of working with Cindy over the past 4 years whilst she was on the WITIA Board. She was an innovative Director of Marketing for the Americas region and endeavoured to build membership in the region. Cindy hosted Hand of Friendship meetings for our American members. At the time of her passing Cindy was planning an extensive mentoring program to assist less skilled WITIA members. Cindy's family has permitted us to post this announcement in our newsletter. They have also asked me to share the link below, in case any WITIA members would like to share stories or leave a message on the online memorial page.

Leah Gage

Past President


Cindy Passannante Obituary - Gresham, OR
Celebrate the life of Cindy Passannante, leave a kind word or memory and get funeral service information care of . Read more.

If you would like to read the Member Profile of Cindy, by Beverley Auerbach, profiled in February 2021 WITIA WORKS! follow this link


Member News

WITIA WORKS! -  Newsletter Co-ordinator

The Board is appealing to members for someone to step-up and take on this role.

The future of WITIA WORKS! in its present format, depends on this position being filled.



We invite you to discover the eternal treasures of Classical Greece and the seducing charm of the Greek islands, one of the most unique islands of the Cyclades, Paros, the unique volcano island of Santorini, and the secret gem of the Aegean, the island of Amorgos.

The “Jewel of Amorgos”, the easternmost island of the Cyclades group in Greece, Aegialis Hotel & Spa is located overlooking a peaceful bay. A family run property aims to offer its guests an unique experience of the local authentic life of a Greek island. The high standard of service and facilities, and the unique views ensure a memorable stay.

The dates on the flyer are for travel in low season valid from 1st March 2023 to 15th May 2023. For other date periods, please enquire for costs.

FAM 2023
We invite you to discover the eternal treasures of Classical Greece and the seducing charm of the Greek islands

The FAM flyer has been loaded onto the WITIA website, under the Educationals tab.

For further details please contact:

Irene Giannakopoulos

Owner & CEO

Aegialis Tours - Aegialis Hotel & Spa

Tel: +30 2285 0 73393  -  Mob: 693 6608678

Address: Aegiali - Amorgos Island 84008 - GreeceE-mail: /

The tour is administered and run by the member host, and all enquiries should be sent direct to the relevant contact, as detailed on the FAM Flyer.

The Educational bids for 2024 are being accessed by the Educational committee and should be announced by March 2023.



Celebrations for Life Membership

Kerry Brooks and Leah Gage

At our recent Annual General Meeting a WITIA life membership was awarded to foundation member Kerry Brooks.

Kerry has served on the WITIA committee since 2006 and devoted countless volunteer hours behind the scenes not only in her role as Sponsorship chair but also has assisted Board members on many projects, including membership and website.

Thank you Kerry, we appreciate everything you have done for WITIA and for your continued support of our organization. We hope that awarding you life membership of WITIA will help to reflect the gratitude we feel for your contributions and work for our alliance.



Congratulations Joyce Kienji from Nairobi Kenya, elected President of WITIA at the AGM held in November. 

Joyce is a Tourism and Hospitality professional, with leadership rolls and awards from KWAT, Eka Hotel, KEPSA, UNICEF, and UNWTO programs.

Joyce is an Africa Tourism and Leisure winner, speaks 5 languages and has a Bachelor of Human Resource Management.

Best wishes to Joyce as she guides WITIA into the future.


WITIA Gold Coast members met at the Emerald Lakes Golf Club to celebrate Christmas and enjoy each other’s company.

The gathering was made even more special to have Sydney WITIA Member, Angela Turek, fly to the Gold Coast to join in the celebrations.  New member, Anna Shannon, founder of Travel Agent Finder, has recently moved to the southern end of the Gold Coast and great to also welcome her to the gathering.

This local function gave us the perfect opportunity to present WITIA’s newest Life Member Kerry Brooks with a commemorative clock.

Members were most generous in bringing gifts for children, who will be attending the annual event of the Gold Coast Christmas Day Community Lunch.


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