Hailing from the Bronx, NYC, Tom Garzilli, has travel and tourism running through his veins. His career, spanning nearly five decades, began when he joined the family’s wholesale travel business, Flyfaire Vacations in 1978, and American Express Vacations in 1989. He then went on to co-found, Custom Marketing Group, an award-winning destination marketing and publishing company in 1992 before joining Brand USA in 2013 as SVP, Partner Marketing. He was named Brand USA’s Chief Marketing Officer in 2016.
Tom’s approach to marketing destinations has been shaped by his entrepreneurial spirit, and at Brand USA, has led various team efforts to continually exceed Brand USA’s goal of raising at least $100 million annually, cultivate valuable co-op marketing opportunities for stakeholders and develop a number of destination ‘firsts’ which has elevated the way in which travelers and the trade perceive and, connect to the USA.
In 2018, Brand USA launched GoUSA TV, a streaming platform featuring original and created content showcasing the multitude of diverse U.S. experiences from the quirky to the iconic. One of the channel’s original series, ‘Small Town, Big Story’ recently won a regional Emmy for an episode on Ice Harvesting in South Bristol, Maine. Go USA TV is now available on more than 750 million screens globally. Tom has also co-produced Brand USA’s three giant-screen documentaries: ‘National Parks Adventure’, ‘America’s Musical Journey’ and ‘Into America’s Wild’. From the small screen to the silver screen, his mission has been to inform, inspire and entertain future travelers. Most recently, Brand USA set up a B2B podcast Brand USA Talks Travel and launched a consumer podcast in partnership with Atlas Obscura.
Tom is a firm believer in stakeholder amplification – providing a global platform to U.S. partners to tell their stories to the international travel trade and media. These include Brand USA Travel Week in 2019, a pioneering travel event which connects the U.S. travel industry to the U.K. & European travel trade encouraging stronger relationships and greater business opportunities. Over the years, the event has evolved to include a CEO summit and Media Forum. When the pandemic hit, the team pivoted to create Global Market Place, a custom-built always-on, virtual platform that connects U.S. destinations and attractions to the international travel industry via pre-scheduled meetings, enrichments opportunities and other educational events. Global Marketplace is also home to the International Pavilion – an online resource designed to provide comprehensive overviews of key international markets to help U.S. partners and stakeholders shape their international marketing initiatives.
Tom continues to push the boundaries of destination marketing.