Paula Twidale has been appointed treasurer of the U.S. Tour Operator Association’s executive committee. Twidale is executive vice president of Collette Vacations, a position she has held since 2000. Overall, she has 31 years of experience in the travel industry. Twidale holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Rhode Island College. She is also a board trustee for the R.I. Public Expenditure Council and an active member of the Wings Club.
PBN: What are some of your responsibilities as an executive vice president at Collette Vacations?
TWIDALE: I oversee several customer-centric divisions that impact retention such as guest relations, air operations, tour management, transportation and document fulfillment. I also serve on the company’s strategic-planning committee [and] I am actively involved in our corporate mentoring and succession-planning program. In the community, I represent Collette Vacations’ interest as a board trustee for RIPEC and as an active member of St. Jude Children’s Hospital, Rhode Island chapter.
PBN: What is the U.S. Tour Operator Association? Are there any current issues it is working to address?
TWIDALE: [The USTOA] is a professional association representing the tour-operator industry, composed of companies whose tour packages encompass the globe. Each active member must post a $1 million bond or letter of credit as part of the traveler’s assistance program. USTOA sets high standards for integrity in tourism and has a mandate to represent its members pro-actively in government advocacy, industry issues and the furtherance of business opportunities.
Recently, we have established a Washington presence through our lobbying firm and continue to have open dialogue with government officials regarding issues that affect tourism and consumers, such as visa challenges, DOT mandates, hotel taxes, Cuba travel and more.
PBN: How long have you been involved with the USTOA?
TWIDALE: Collette Vacations has been a member of USTOA since 1989 and has been active throughout the duration. I have been representing our company at conferences for the past 11 years. I chaired the USTOA marketing committee last year. As board member, I participated in meetings on Capitol Hill regarding issues that have adverse effects on our industry and the economy. This year in my executive role as treasurer, I have assumed the chair for the financial-compliance committee. •