This section of the SKAL USA Website is prepared to feature SKAL USA Members who have national and international recognitions in the industry.
Christopher L. Thompson is president and CEO of Brand USA, the nation’s public-private partnership dedicated to increasing international visitation to the United States through marketing and promotional efforts. In this role, Chris is responsible for accelerating the organization’s efforts to build and execute effective marketing strategies to increase U.S. travel exports, create jobs, strengthen the economy, and help enhance the image of the United States with people all over the world. Under Chris’ leadership, Brand USA has nearly tripled its partnership network and more than doubled its partner contributions and program offerings.
Chris has over 30 years of experience in the travel and tourism industry. Prior to joining Brand USA on Nov. 1, 2012, Chris was president and CEO of VISIT FLORIDA. Under his leadership, Florida realized record growth in international visitation.
Chris is a long time Skål Member. He has been a “Skålleague” in Tallahassee and Jacksonville, Florida and now in Washington, DC. Recently Chris was in attendance at the 2018 North American Skål Congress, where he received the first ever National Tourism Leadership Award presented by Skål International-USA. His recognition will set the standard at the level we seek for future awardees.
He began his career in tourism with the Division of Tourism in the former Florida Department of Commerce in April 1983, and he became bureau chief for domestic tourism in April 1986. In November 1988, he joined the Leon County (Florida) Tourist Development Council as the organization’s first executive director, and in April 1991, he took leadership of the Tallahassee (Florida) Area Convention and Visitors Bureau as president and CEO.
In August 1995, Chris founded MarketServe, Inc., a professional management, marketing and planning services company based in Tallahassee, Florida. Two years later, he joined VISIT FLORIDA as senior vice-president, partner development. He was promoted to chief operating officer in May 2003, and named president and CEO in May 2009.
Throughout his career, Chris has been honored with a number of industry awards and recognized for numerous accomplishments, including being named the first recipient of Skål International’s USA National Tourism Leadership Award in 2018 in recognition of his “very meaningful contribution to the growth and success of tourism in the United States.” In 2015, Chris received the NTA National Tour Association’s (NTA) Pioneer Award for his accomplishments in producing significant changes in the travel industry. He was named one of the “Top Twenty-Five Most Extraordinary Minds in Sales and Marketing” by the Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International in both 2009 and 2013.
Chris is currently on the board of Destinations International, where he is on the organization’s Executive and Global Leadership committees. He is also a member of the Advisory Board for the Eric Friedheim Tourism Institute, an entity within the Department of Tourism, Recreation, and Sport Management at the University of Florida.
A Certified Destination Management Executive (CDME) since May 2010, Chris has also been a member of and served on the leadership boards of numerous other national, regional, state, and local trade associations and organizations. The list includes the U.S. Travel Association; U.S. Travel and Tourism Advisory Board (to the Secretary of Commerce); Travel and Tourism Advisory Council (to the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, Miami Branch); Association of Travel Marketing Executives; Southeast Tourism Society; and Skål.
Additionally, Chris is a trustee and a member of the Executive Committee for the Federal City Council, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to the improvement of the District of Columbia. Chris earned a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration from the University of Florida in 1980. He and his wife, Susan, have two grown sons, Christopher and James.
Marcelo Mattos This quarter our Spotlight Skålleague is Marcelo Mattos. Mr. Mattos has been a member of Skål for 34 years now. He is a current member of Skål International Orlando. Mr. Mattos has been volunteering on Skål USA committees for the past three years. He has served on the Fundraising Committee, the Public Relations, Communications & Website Committee, and the Advertising & Sponsorship Committee. The biggest service he has offered to Skål is creating the Skål App! This app is available for downloading for smart phones (IOS & Android). Marcelo has created this app on his own at no cost as a volunteer project for Skål USA. If you have not downloaded the Skål App yet please go to your App store on your smart phone, search “SKAL CLUB” and download it for free today! This app connects you to Skål USA, Skål International Websites and newsletters instantly with one click! Skål USA appreciates Marcelo Mattos for all of his work and contributions to Skål USA! Mr. Mattos is the present CEO and Executive International Director of FENACTUR (Brazilian National Federation of Tourism), and President of Brazil Connect US. Brazil Connect US is the Association of a 24 state union, with 15,000 travel agencies in Brazil. Mr. Mattos is also the US President of the Clube do Feijão Amigo (the Friendly Bean Club) that includes over 100,000 travel industry members worldwide. He has over 40 years on his professional experience in the travel industry and hospitality. Mr. Mattos is the founder and tour operator of Transconsult Travel. It is one of the largest Brazilian tour operators with 10 + Million in sales per year. The travel company based in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo sends more than 5,000+ people per year to central Florida. He has extensive experience in consumer and trade markets all related to the travel and hospitality industry in Brazil and Florida. His accomplishments also include being an integral role in Travel Telecommunication International (TTI) in Brazil, becoming the second largest telecommunication company for Brazilian travelers visiting Disney World and Florida with an exclusive contract with American Airlines. During this time he was participant on all of the main trade shows in Brazil and USA including ABAV, BRAZTOA, POW WOW, Florida Huddle and many others. Between the two companies they achieve more than 15+ million in sales annually with 65+ employees in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo. Mr. Mattos deals directly with major airlines, attractions, and hotels. His companies extended from Brazil, to Argentina, and other South American countries. Mr. Mattos is also one of the founders of ABAV and SINDETUR (Brazilian National Association of Travel Agents), established in 1980. You can find Mr. Mattos’s contact information below: Marcelo Mattos, CEO President of BRAZIL CONNECT US
Since 1972, Manny Beauregard has been a major player in the luxury travel arena. In 1976 he took over ownership and management of Hallmark Travel, Atlanta’s most prestigious name in the carriage-trade market. Over the course of the next 4 decades, Hallmark Travel consistently ranked highest among luxury travel agencies in the Southern United States and was appointed the first Virtuoso agency in Atlanta. In the summer of 2004, he successfully merged his firm with Valerie Wilson Travel, Inc., a globally recognized leader in luxury travel. Manny oversaw the day-to-day operations of the Atlanta office and served as Director of the Atlanta branch. In 2009 Hallmark Travel Inc. became an independent company again maintaining a continued association with Valerie Wilson Travel. Hallmark Travel continues to cater to the affluent leisure market, and enjoys a relationship with the prestigious Virtuoso network of travel specialists.
Through it’s affiliation with Valerie Wilson Travel, Hallmark Travel’s clients enjoy exclusive benefits thru memberships in Cunard’s Inner Circle, Abercrombie & Kent’s 100 Club, Ritz Carlton STARS program and the Four Seasons Preferred Partner Program to name a few. The company is among the leading producers for many of the world’s elite travel suppliers in lodging, cruising and touring.
Having served as the Southeast Representative on the Virtuoso Properties Committee for several years, Manny is particularly knowledgeable of the luxury hotel market worldwide, especially those in partnership with the Virtuoso network. He is keenly aware of current trends, new and proposed properties and the intense competition in the luxury segment of the industry. He has served on the Travel Agent Advisory Boards of Cambridge Beaches in Bermuda, The Canadian Tourism Commission, Intercontinental Hotels Luxury Advisory Board, Greaves Travel and the Advisory Boards of Boscolo Hotels based in Italy and Jamaica Inn in Jamaica. Manny is Past-President of the Atlanta chapter of SKAL International.
In 2015, Manny co-founded The Beauregard-Vellek Fund; a non-profit charitable avenue, which supports grants to a number of philanthropic interests, including scholarships to students enrolled in Hospitality Management degree programs in a number of colleges and universities.
With 45 years experience in the travel industry, Manny is recognized by TRAVEL & LEISURE magazine as an “A-LIST SUPER AGENT”.