Travel Leaders Group’s Executives and Advisors Featured at USTOA Conference

CEO Ninan Chacko Talks NDC; Advisors Address Partnering with Destinations


Orlando, Fla. (December 12, 2019) Travel Leaders Group CEO Ninan Chacko, CTC, outlined key issues for the travel and tourism industry regarding the airlines’ New Distribution Capability (NDC) as part of a Thought Leadership presentation to board members at the United States Tour Operators Association (USTOA) annual conference held at the Omni Orlando Resort at ChampionsGate, Dec. 2-6, 2019.

Travel Leaders Group’s Executives and Advisors Featured at USTOA Conference

Notre Dame has inspired travelers around the world for generations and this donation demonstrates we are one tourism community.

– Travel Leaders Group CEO Ninan Chacko

Travel Leaders Group’s Executives and Advisors Featured at USTOA Conference

Chacko discussed the changes and challenges to come with NDC, including how the travel advisor workflow would be altered and the impact on the consumer. He noted that NDC is “a work in progress” and airlines are at varying maturity levels.


In the long term, Chacko said, Travel Leaders Group views the Global Distribution Systems (GDS) as “the aggregator of choice” with the challenge for NDC being its ability to match the “speed and scalability” of the traditional offering. While adding ancillaries to the fare options is a positive, transparency for the consumer and the limitations NDC introduces for comparison shopping remain causes for concern. He noted that Travel Leaders Group continues to work with airline and GDS partners to address impacts on agencies and consumers.


At the Dec. 3 Destinations for Destinations Program, Travel Leaders Group Chief Marketing and Communications Officer Stephen McGillivray and Vice President of Marketing Brian Hegarty discussed the important role of the travel advisor in destination marketing. Travel advisors add tremendous value to the travel experience and deliver clients who stay longer, spend more and travel more frequently than other distribution channels, they told the audience of global tourism boards.


Mass market tourism is a victim of its own success and has created unfortunate impacts such as overtourism, they said. The marketing executives advised destination marketing organizations to “shift away from this mass market approach to precision, targeted, personalized destination marketing.”


During the destination event, Chacko presented a check for $6,000 to French officials in attendance to be donated to the Notre Dame Foundation. The money was raised by the Tzell Travel and Protravel Foundation through contributions from travel advisors which were matched by Travel Leaders Group.


Accepting the check were officials from Atout France, the France Tourism Development Agency responsible for promoting France in the U.S. market and developing the country’s tourism economy.


“We are extremely moved that the travel advisors from Tzell Travel Group and Protravel International spearheaded a fundraising effort to contribute to restoration efforts of our beloved cathedral,” said Nathalie Poto, Leisure Marketing Manager, Atout France.


“Notre Dame has inspired travelers around the world for generations and this donation demonstrates we are one tourism community,” said Chacko.


Chacko also moderated a panel of travel advisors exploring how destination marketers can work with travel advisors and agencies to grow tourism in a targeted manner and enhance the visitor experience.


Some key themes: the importance of the personal relationships the advisors develop with their supplier and destinations partners and how that contributes to confidence in delivering a customer experience that exceeds expectations; the impact of social media on exposing travelers to new destination options; and the influence the advisors have over their clients’ choice of a destination.


The panel included Travel Leaders Network members: Amanda Vallone, Roseborough Travel in DeLand, Fla.; Scott Moore, Travel & Cruise World in Winter Haven, Fla.; Kamen Blackwell, TripVAX Corp. in Jacksonville, Fla. and Linda Jelencovich of SuperTravel in West Palm Beach, Fla.. Allegra Lynch, another Travel Leaders Network agency member, also served on a tour operator panel.


The USTOA conference brings together leading North American travel companies with tourism suppliers and destinations from around the world.


Travel Leaders Group is one of North America’s largest travel companies – encompassing nearly one-third of all travel agents. Travel Leaders Group consistently ranks as one of the top travel companies nationwide.




About Travel Leaders Group

Travel Leaders Group ( is transforming travel with a commitment to our vacation and business travel clients through our progressive approach toward each unique travel experience. Having already assisted millions of travelers, Travel Leaders Group manages leisure, business and franchise travel operations under a variety of diversified divisions and brands. With over 6,000 agency locations, Travel Leaders Group ranks as one of the industry’s largest travel agency companies. Travelers also have access to The Travel Collection by Travel Leaders Group, a portfolio of select travel offers including discounts on international and domestic flights, value-added benefits at lodging establishments, shipboard credits on cruises and savings on escorted and vacation packages. Membership to The Travel Collection is offered at no additional cost to U.S. American Express Gold Card, Business Gold Rewards Card, Platinum Card® and Business Platinum Card® Members. For more information visit