Associate Board of Director: Nicholas Faranda
Manager, Global Tourism Sales, Disney on Broadway
Please describe your experience as a volunteer within or outside the travel community.
Over the years as a SYTA member, one of my favorite moments again and again has been volunteering at the annual conference. When members first walk into the registration hall it’s electrifying to see their excitement for the week ahead.
Please describe your professional experience in the student travel industry.
This year I am excited to be celebrating 10 years in the student travel industry! Working at Disney Theatrical Group has allowed me to lead our group sales and tourism efforts for hits such as THE LION KING, MARY POPPINS and ALADDIN on Broadway. Over the years, I’ve had the privilege of representing Disney around the world to student tour operators through tradeshows and sales missions. Recently in 2018, my experience expanded to include group sales and tourism sales for guests booking our musicals in London.
Please describe other professional or personal experience that would benefit you as a Board member.
My job at Disney has provided me the role of a lifetime. My experience running our group sales team is very similar to running a business, I’m not just a sales person. Wearing many hats from advocating and developing new policies to budgeting, marketing and creating magic for our guests. Outside of Disney my passion for travel is the center of my life and has contributed to my professional growth and understanding of the world.
Please describe why you would like to serve as a Board of Director (Associate).
Since I first entered the student travel industry, SYTA has been a beacon of guidance, advocacy, connections and so much more. Being a board member would allow me to lend my voice further to student travel and continue SYTA’s mission.
What do you see as the challenges facing the student travel industry? What can SYTA do to meet those challenges?
One of the biggest challenges right now will be how we come together to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic. The way we do business tomorrow is now completely different from how we did it pre-pandemic. Our industry has lost years of institutional knowledge due to staffing changes and needs to navigate the massive expansion of safety policies that vary by destination and supplier. Needless to say, we’re at a crossroads and need to unify to become one voice while supporting each other as we rebuild.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with the Nominating Committee?
I would like to thank you for the considering me for this position, I will always remember my very first SYTA conference back in 2011, just two weeks after starting at Disney. The warm welcome and sharing of knowledge at that year’s conference in New York City was a key factor in my eventual success in our industry. If there’s one thing we know for sure, it’s that travel does change a person’s life.