Midwest Travel Community Reunites at Celebratory Golf Outing

It was a day of celebration and long-awaited reunions as the Chicago-area travel community gathered at a golf outing on July 19 in Illinois.The 2021 Chicagoland Travel Industry & Hospitality Golf Event took place at Eaglewood Resort & Spa in Itasca, Ill. It was an 18-hole scramble just for fun, along with a dinner, raffle and auctions of trips, which raised money for Make-A-Wish. Julie Berry, executive director of sales and marketing at Eaglewood Resort, and P. Craig Ochoa, a longtime travel executive now affiliated with You’re #1. (Photo by Theresa Norton) Beyond the golf, though, was the palpable sense of relief and happiness that the travel industry was together once again, after a difficult year for the industry. Last year’s golf outing was canceled during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Most executives were working at home, not able to conduct in-person visits. Some were furloughed, laid-off or having to transition to jobs in different industries.“We wanted to come together to show the rest of the world that we are still here – especially in Chicago because the Midwest was hit so hard and it was such a hard lockdown,” said Cheryl Gatto, director of new business development for Viking Travel Services in Westmont, Ill. Anne Mickey, strategic account manager for The Travel Corporation’s The Velvet Collection, and Tom Panici, business development director for Carnival Cruise Line. (Photo by Theresa Norton) “So many travel agencies have either merged or closed, but they’re coming back now,” she said. “Those of us that had been in the industry for a long time wanted to sit down and come together as one unit, one voice, to say we’re still here, we haven’t gone away, and you need us more than ever.”Gatto looked around at the group mingling and catching up. “Look at how happy everybody is! We’re so completely jazzed to see each other,” she said.The event was chaired on a volunteer basis by Dan Trankina, business development manager for Pleasant Holidays, along with P. Craig Ochoa, a longtime travel executive now affiliated with You’re #1, a promotional products company; Roger Kraemer, director of sales-Midwest at CIE Tours International; and Graham Mosey, owner of World Group Travel and affiliated with Beef Shack eateries. Trankina also thanked Patty Hall, who handled many administrative tasks. Michele Herron Penn, regional sales manager for Couples, a sponsor of the golf outing, and her husband, Raymond Penn. (Photo by Theresa Norton) Afterward, Trankina said that he felt “a sense of pride” that the event came together so successfully. “This industry is very resilient,” he said. “This was special because people hadn’t seen each other in so long. It was a very special, warm feeling.”Julie Berry, executive director of sales and marketing at Eaglewood Resort, was thrilled to see the travel industry reunite at her property, which went through its own travails and closures in 2020. From left, Pam Carroll of Gadabout Travel in Palos Hills, Ill.; Katy Cannizzaro, strategic account manager of Royal Caribbean International; and Anne Mickey, strategic account manager for The Travel Corp.'s The Velvet Collection, which includes Uniworld Boutique River Cruises. (Photo by Theresa Norton) “It is a celebration. The smiles on the players and all the sponsors are incredible, they’re just so happy to see people live,” she said. “We’ve all been working from home or on furlough and trying to stay in contact with each other. Kudos to Dan and Craig for putting this all together and staying in touch with everybody and doing it for a good cause.”The date has been set for next year’s Chicagoland golf outing – July 18, 2022 – so mark your calendars. Adblock test (Why?)