SoCalASTA Diamond Awards 2016

SoCal ASTA Honors Two Industry Legends at Diamond Awards Gala

D75_6659-Edit Diamond Entire honorees 2016

BEVERLY HILLS, CA, January 28 – The Southern California chapter of the American Society of Travel Agents (SoCal ASTA) honored industry legends Matthew Upchurch, CEO of Virtuoso, and Edie Rodriguez, CEO of Crystal Cruises, with its prestigious Diamond Award at the organization’s annual black tie event held January 23 at the Beverly Hills Hotel. 

Upchurch and Rodriguez were recognized for their outstanding, unique, lasting, and extraordinary contributions to the travel industry and for their ongoing support of ASTA on a national level.

From agency owners to top front-line travel advisors, the annual event was attended by more than 270 of the “who’s who” in the luxury travel industry in Southern California.

The evening’s other notable award winners were:

• SoCal ASTA Susan D. Tanzman Advocate Award: Assembly member Jacqui Irwin from California’s 44th Assembly District for her recently authored bill AB1107 that updated the California Seller of Travel law;
• SoCal ASTA Travel Agent of the Year: Bell O. de Souza, Mansour Travel Company
• SoCal ASTA Allied Cruise Member of the Year: Susie Hogan, Oceania Cruises
• SoCal ASTA Allied Land Member of the Year: Joshua Poole, Starwood Hotels & Resorts
• SoCal ASTA Allied Air Member of the Year: Ted Brady, Emirates Airlines
• SoCal Allied Travel Insurance Member of the Year: Pam Ross, Travel Guard

SoCal ASTA President Pamela Irwin thanked SoCal ASTA members and volunteers for their continued support and for their efforts in making the evening a success. She also thanked the Beverly Hills Hotel for hosting the Diamond Awards for the third consecutive year. Assembly Member Jacqui Irwin presented each honoree with a Certificate of Recognition from the California Legislative Assembly. 

SoCal ASTA will donate a portion of the proceeds from the evening’s silent auction to ASTAPAC, California Coalition of Travel Organizations, and several local charities including: St. Vincent Meals on Wheels, Chrysalis and The Fred Jordan Mission.

So Cal ASTA is Partnering with the Travel and Adventure Show to Promote Consumer Awareness of Travel Agents. Our chapter will have a booth at the shows in San Diego and Long Beach to promote using an ASTA Travel Agent when booking travel. We are looking for volunteers for 3 hours shifts during show hours each day from 10am – 5pm. Parking will be reimbursed for all volunteers!

The dates are: San Diego January 16 – 17, 2016 ● San Diego Convention Center and Long Beach February 27 – 28, 2016 ● Long Beach Convention Center.  Please sign up at and contact Suzanne at Sports Empire – or 562-920-2350 if you have any questions.

Please contribute today for ASTAPAC.  Just click here.


Our December SoCal ASTA  joint Holiday Luncheon with Skal Club Los Angeles was lovely afternoon for all.

Check back for details on our Afternoon Tea and Advocacy event coming soon.

Our SoCal ASTA Millenials and Mentors meeting at the London Hotel, “Dancing with the Stars and PNR’s”.  Thank you to everyone that came and to Myste, Gabriella and the London Hotel for making it possible.

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