MEET THE TEAM
With over 35 years experience in travel and tourism, Brett is Chief Executive of The Travel Corporation (TTC.com), a family-owned, international travel group operating in over 70 countries, on seven continents, with 40 offices and more than 10,000 employees. Well-diversified and entrepreneurially run, The Travel Corporation serves around two million guests per annum across its rich portfolio of over 25 award-winning niche brands including specialists in escorted journeys and guided holidays; luxury river-cruising; independent & youth travel and sightseeing specialists. The group also owns and operates the renowned, luxury Red Carnation Hotel Collection.
Brett is an enthusiastic advocate for sustainable travel and is the founder of The TreadRight Foundation (Treadright.org), a not-for-profit organization, which funds and supports numerous projects around the world that foster sustainable travel and tourism. Brett’s commitment to travel and tourism is also extended through his position as a Vice-Chairman of the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC.org) as well as his involvement with Tourism Cares (Tourismcares.org) events.
Guy Young is the Chief Engagement Officer for The Travel Corporation. He assumed this role in September 2016 with the main goal of expanding The Travel Corporation’s sales and executive presence, which included the opening of an office in Manhattan. Young works closely with senior leadership to identify collaborative opportunities between the brands. During his 18 years with The Travel Corporation, Young has held several executive positions. Prior to his current role, for 10 years he was President of Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection, and President of The Travel Corporation in Canada for 6 years.
Young began his career in the hotel industry, working the front desk at a hotel in Southern California. He is a graduate from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas where he earned his Bachelor’s in Business Administration. Young has also participated in several Leadership and Management programs including the top rated Executive Management program at INSEAD in Fontainebleau, France. Young was born in Johannesburg, South Africa and has lived most of his adult life in the United Sates. He currently lives in Larchmont, New York with his wife Melissa and two children, Benjamin and Evelyne.
Melissa DaSilva is President of Trafalgar, CostSaver and Brendan Vacations and has more than 25 years of experience in the travel industry in both the US and the UK. She is motivated by the impact travel has on people and is passionate about inspiring others to experience the Good Life through travel and the connectivity of those shared experiences of adventure, exploration, learning and laughter. Trafalgar guided vacations offer an effortless way to truly get under the skin of a destination while connecting with locals and fellow travelers, all while making memories to last a lifetime.
An avid traveler herself having been to more than 50 countries, Melissa currently resides in Southern California with her Brazilian husband and two daughters, with whom she has shared the travel bug.
Following 22 successful years in the premium and luxury space of the travel industry, Jon Grutzner was named President of Insight Vacations and Luxury Gold, USA in April 2018. Jon began his career in education and then joined the travel industry with Collette Vacations as a District Sales Manager in 1995. He has held numerous leadership positions including roles with Carlson Leisure Group, Readers Digest and Azamara Club Cruises.
Building upon his strong background of directing a field sales team and with national accounts, Grutzner excels at developing new business and sales opportunities while managing budgets and establishing a formidable presence in the marketplace.
Grutzner resides in Fairfield, CT with his wife Julie and daughter Madeline.
Sherwin Banda has spent more than 20 years working in international hospitality in the United Kingdom, South Africa and the United States. Born and raised in Cape Town, South Africa, he is based in Los Angeles but remains passionately devoted to all things African. In his role as President of African Travel, Inc. he is committed to matching the right Africa with the right client, while uplifting local communities and promoting wildlife conservation in Africa. The company’s extensive infrastructure in both the US and southern and eastern Africa has made it a leader in providing extraordinary, authentic journeys that are tailored to each client’s desires, travel style and budget.
Ellen Bettridge is the President & CEO of Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection. Ms. Bettridge joined Uniworld from Azamara Club Cruises where she served as Vice President, Sales and Marketing in the Americas. Previously, Ms. Bettridge was President, Americas at Silversea Cruise Ltd. Prior to Silversea, Ms. Bettridge held various positions at American Express for more than twenty years most recently as Vice President Retail Travel Business.
Cooper is determined to strengthen Contiki’s position within the 18-35-year-old travel demographic and support professional travel consultants advising this dynamic audience. “I have spent my entire adult life and career promoting my unwavering belief that travel makes living both richer and more rewarding” said Cooper. Prior to being appointed, Cooper was senior vice president, North America, for STA Travel, Inc., the global full-service travel agency catering to the student and youth markets. He began his career there as a travel advisor, a role he relished and where he consistently ranked among the top sellers nationally.
An inveterate traveler who grew up in Sheffield, England, Cooper’s love of exploration began as a teenager when he took part in Camp America in upstate New York, which is also where he met his wife. He recalls a nearly month-long trip to India and Nepal with his dad as a “life-changing” experience. Cooper now resides with his wife and three young children in southern California.