Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) announces new STARBoard and Trade Relations Committee leadership

Cruise Lines International Association - CLIA (logo)Cruise Lines International Association, the world’s largest cruise industry trade association, providing a unified voice and leading authority of the global cruise community, announced the appointment of four leaders to helm its Strategic Trade Advisory and Review Board (STARBoard) and Trade Relations Committee (TRC) in North America.

Anita Pagliasso, Vice President of Industry Relations with KHM Travel Group, and Skip Fortier, Vice President of Network Expansion with Avoya Travel, will serve as STARBoard co-chairs.

Dondra Ritzenthaler, ECC, Senior Vice President of Sales, Trade Support & Service, The Americas with Celebrity Cruises, will serve as TRC chair, and John Diorio, Vice President, North American Sales with Virgin Voyages, will serve as TRC vice-chair. The two-year terms for the four leaders will run through December 31, 2024.

The STARBoard and TRC are steering committees. The STARBoard is comprised of CLIA Premier Member (agency and consortia) leaders and leaders from selected CLIA Travel Agency Members. The TRC is comprised of trade sales and marketing leaders representing CLIA’s Global Cruise Line Members and River Cruise Marketing Affiliates. Both groups receive regular updates from CLIA on its advocacy work, industry affairs, and North America Travel Trade Membership and Professional Development matters. The STARBoard and TRC provide CLIA leadership with counsel and support of initiatives; and create task forces as deemed appropriate.

“CLIA is delighted to have these dynamic and talented leaders helming our STARBoard and TRC,” said Charles Sylvia, ECC, Vice President, Industry and Trade Relations with CLIA. “Anita, Skip, Dondra, and John are unwavering advocates of the travel trade and staunch supporters of a strong and successful travel agency distribution channel for cruise.”

About the leaders of the STARBoard and Trade Relations Committee:

STARBoard Co-Chairs
Anita Pagliasso opened her home-based travel business, Ticket to Travel, in 1992, and soon after agents were looking to her for mentoring and guidance. Anita has become a renowned industry speaker, home-based travel agent advocate, author, and mentor to thousands. In addition to her role as KHM Travel Group’s Vice President of Industry Relations, she is the President of PATH, an Executive Board Member for The Travel Institute, NorCal ASTA President, and the Vice President for the California Coalition of Travel Organizations.

Skip Fortier has been in the travel industry for over three decades, starting with United Airlines. In 2008 Skip started his own agency affiliating with Avoya Travel and for four years was recognized as the Best of the Best in sales. In 2022 he was named one of the Top 25 Travel Agents in the US by Travel Agency Magazine. At the end of 2011 Skip sold his agency and was brought in by Avoya to run their agency expansion team. In addition to his responsibilities at Avoya Travel, Skip is a member of the ASTA Corporate Advisory Council, and on the Board of Directors for PATH.

Trade Relations Committee Chairs
As SVP of Sales, Trade Support and Service with Celebrity Cruises, Dondra Ritzenthaler, ECC, leads the sales organization for the Americas including the US, Canada, Mexico, and Latin America. Widely credited for raising awareness of the importance of travel advisors, Ritzenthaler has led the creation of a number of programs designed to help travel advisors build their business, including “The Celebrity Commitment.” And, under her leadership, Celebrity has been awarded “Best Premium Cruise Line,” by leading industry trade publication, Travel Weekly, for 14 consecutive years.

An integral part of the dedicated Virgin Voyages crew who delivers on being Brilliant To Do Business With for their First Mates (Travel Advisors) around the world, John Diorio leverages his 30 years of experience in sales, leadership, and industry relations to lead sales and support in North America. Prior to setting sail The Virgin Way, over four years ago, John was a member of The Mark Travel Corporation’s sales leadership team and held various senior leadership roles at Expedia Group in addition to providing strategic consulting in the travel realm.