New York, 2nd February,2022- PATA New York Chapter is pleased to announce the winners of the recent online elections for the NY PATA Board of Directors for 2022- 2023.
The successful candidates were Joebert Opulencia, Catherine Heald, Kelly Ann Mills, Irene Sino, John Graham, Julian Banegas, Frank Hryszkanich, and Boris Miketic.
Honorary Board Members are Akbal Setia, vice-president Americas, Tourism Malaysia and Elizabeth Chin, immediate past chair (served three 2-year terms).
Congratulations to our newly elected board members, and our most sincere thanks to all candidates for running and providing our members with such difficult choices! Thank you very much to everyone who voted. Members of NY PATA had elected a new generation of board members to lead the chapter in the new normal. It was a landslide win for the 2022-2023 Board.
Joebert Opulencia – Tour Operator
I established ORIENTOURS in 1986, specializing in leisure and M.I.C.E. groups traveling to Asia & the Pacific, and inbound groups to USA from Turkey. As a pioneering figure in the Travel Industry worldwide, I continued to lead its operations, showing remarkable resilience and adaptability, despite several market challenges that have become the new normal. My success could be attributed to a business philosophy that places a premium on keeping my word.
I’m a frequent buyer at the PATA Travel Marts. I’ve been an exhibitor at NY PATA Trade Shows and have donated door prizes. With my professional resources, I can contribute to our Chapter in the travel recovery with innovation and sponsored events.
Catherine Heald – Tour Operator
I have been a member of PATA since I co-founded Remote Lands in 2006. I have founded and served as CEO of four technology and travel companies since 1989 in Hong Kong, Guangzhou, San Francisco and New York. After living in Hong Kong from 1987-94, I have traveled all over Asia, the world’s most fascinating continent. I am an Asiaphile who is endlessly curious and continuously seek to understand every facet of Asian culture and lifestyles of Asia. I have devoted my life and career to this massive and complex continent.
At Remote Lands we create unique itineraries with a particular interest in off-the-beaten-path Asia. I consider myself a global executive and would like to think that my international expertise would be valuable to NY PATA.
Kelli Ann Mills – Cruise
After attending school for travel and tourism, I spent 7 years with Liberty Travel as a travel consultant, owned a store front agency in Henderson, NV, and an internet-based agency in NJ. I also held BDM roles with Travel Counsellors and Hurtigruten before finding my home with Aurora Expeditions.
At Aurora Expeditions, we offer the opportunity to experience Indonesia, and I have exhibited multiple times at NY PATA Trade Shows in the past. I am excited to contribute to our Chapter by being able to bring that same enthusiasm to continue to promote, support and grow the goals of NY PATA.
Irene Sino – Tour Operator
I have over 30 years of experience in the travel industry, being the founder of Panorama Travel – one of the most reputable and reliable tour operators in the US located in NYC. With my extensive airline relations experience, I also hold the position of Picasso Travel VP of Airline Relations.
I have extensive experience serving on several executive boards including NY PATA where I served for two years. I can confidently state that I have a broad knowledge and expertise in most of the areas of national and international travel business.
Panorama Travel organizes and conducts a wide range of familiarization trips for travel agents on regular basis. I strongly believe that my out-of-box way of thinking, creative approach to business solutions and meticulous attention to details will be beneficial for New York PATA.
John C. Graham – Media
I started my travel media career in 1989 with OAG Travel Magazines. At Travel Agent magazine I helped create the Cruise/Tour Expo shows in 1995. I also wrote a bi- monthly column and was Advertising Director for Travel Agent International. I was Executive Publisher at Travel Trade Publications and Trade Shows.
In February 2018, Steve Perillo, CEO of Perillo Tours and I launched Travel World VR. We are the leading producers for travel 360/VR videos and the leading distribution platform. I propose to educate and assist our members on VR production and viewing. I am offering a discount, and I will give free Travel World Virtual Reality headsets to view. As a business leader, I have the knowledge and expertise needed to help NY PATA make sound business choices. VR videos on the Travel World VR app is no longer a luxury. 360/VR for tourism is the future of the travel industry.
Julian Banegas – Travel Advisor
I started my Journey in the Travel Industry in 1985 with Pan American World Airways and gained experience in tour operations, wholesale, and corporate travel. I am an expert in Jewish Heritage Tours, and also in Air & Product Development. Also, I’ve been with Trafalgar Travel for 15-years as supervisor. I serve as president of the Sociedad Honduras New York Inc.
As a NY PATA member and travel advisor, I’ve gained knowledge on many Asian destinations and discovered a new path of destinations in Asia-Pacific for my clients. I consider our Chapter my extended family. I have a passion for the NY PATA mission and ready to contribute to our Chapter by serving on the Committees and renewing travel trade relations in the post-pandemic era.
Frank Hryszkanich – Travel Advisor
I have been a travel agent for over twenty years. I’m a host agency and consistently deal with travel supplier reps and a large number of independent travel advisors. I have been doing monthly travel seminars for over fifteen years with my own association called the’ “Association of Home-Based Travel Agents.”
My professional contacts with the cruise industry that participates in my travel agency’s monthly seminars, can be an asset to NY PATA in developing the Cruise category. I have the motivation and ability to enhance the success and growth of our Chapter. I am 100% into learning. I propose to do education, training, and trade shows, which I really enjoy doing.
Boris Miketic – Travel Advisor
I am the president of Boris Worldwide Travel (a.k.a. Croatia Travel) for 30 years, located in Queens, NY. I have traveled extensively throughout Southeast Asia, China, and Japan, enjoying the food and culture tremendously. I’ve had good experiences flying on the many carriers to Asia particularly, first class on Hainan Airlines, first-class suite on SQ Singapore Airlines, and apartment-suite with shower on EY Etihad Airways.
I’ve attended the PATA Travel Marts 2016 in Jakarta, Indonesia, and 2018 in Langkawi, Malaysia. In Jakarta, it was an honor to have afternoon tea with the PATA chairman. Meeting and connecting with people seem to be my strength. I will work tirelessly to promote our Chapter and its values, and to increase membership with enthusiasm.
HONORARY BOARD MEMBER
Vice-President Americas – Tourism Malaysia
“Let’s work together for the betterment of PATA NY Chapter.”
IMMEDIATE PAST CHAIR
Elizabeth Chin, HLM
NY PATA Going Digital
Technology | Innovation | Relevance | Resilience