In 2004, Christopher Guidone established Big Picture Tourism Consulting, LLC in Moorestown, NJ and landed a contract with the New York State Division of Tourism ( I LOVE NY ) the same year. The outcome strengthened awareness and secured contracts with tour operator members of the Receptive Services Association of America (now IITA.org) in order to increase New York State tourism products and destinations available to international operators, online travel agencies and wholesalers. He represented the partnership at various overseas trade shows promoting a new brand, NYC+, created to leverage the relationship between New York City, with lesser-known and visited destinations and attractions throughout New York State, furthering increased tourist spending and driving economic development of New York's travel assets. This work continues today as I LOVE NY's leading international tourism program, Wine, Water & Wonders of Upstate New York (www.winewaterwonders.com) has chosen Big Picture Tourism in 2015 to manager their international expansion in China, France, Germany, UK and newly added in 2018, Australia.
Since moving his company to NYC In 2013, Guidone collaborated with AlliedTPro, a major inbound tour operator, as it launched a new brand of tours call “brite spokes by Kuoni”. He also acted as a marketing and sales consultant for a key Times Square attraction called THE RIDE, re-establishing this brand with existing and new clients in order to increase sales and profitability. Another inbound tour operator, RMP Travel, hired Big Picture Tourism help increase exposure through attendance at IPW, ABA and OMCA.
A native of New York City (Brooklyn) and Bachelor of Science graduate of the School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management, at East Stroudsburg University in Pennsylvania, Guidone began his career in the sales department of the Stouffer Valley Forge Hotel in King of Prussia, PA prior to accepting a position as tour and travel sales manager for the Holiday Inn — Historic District in Center City Philadelphia. It was here, in 1990, that his tourism experience was launched.
In 1992, the Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau (now PHLCVB) recruited him to act as tourism sales manager to promote the City of Philadelphia to the domestic travel trade. Four years later a new position was created in response to Philadelphia’s increased international air service and Guidone was made director of international sales. His responsibilities included the development of international tourism visitation to the Philadelphia region through attendance at international trade shows such as Pow Wow, International Tourism Bourse (ITB), World Travel Market (WTM), La Cumbre, Pow Wow Europe, ABAV, FITUR, Top Resa as well as participating in international sales missions, tour product launches and press events including inaugural flight promotions with US Airways and KLM/Northwest Airlines. Other responsibilities included overseeing international representation offices in Europe, South America and Japan as well as cooperative sales and marketing projects with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
A pioneer in starting Philadelphia’s outreach to LGBTQ visitors meant helping to bring IGLTA’s 1997 Annual Convention to the City of Brotherly Love.
After 10 years with the Philadelphia CVB, he joined the Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation (now VisitPhilly) as project director. Focused on destination marketing and development for the CruisePhilly brand, Guidone’s role provided the Port of Philadelphia and Camden with a level of support not often found in other port cities. He was also involved with the start-up project, “Once Upon A Nation”, a program of Historic Philadelphia Incorporated, to enliven Philadelphia’s historic district through storytelling and increased group tour programming. He also managed Philadelphia’s AAA hotel packaging program while at GPTMC.
Guidone also held a position as director of sales and marketing for a 180-room oceanfront resort in Rehoboth Beach, DE (the Atlantic Sands Hotel and Conference Center) in addition to the role of tourism sales leader for the Delaware Tourism Office, a division of the Delaware Economic Development Office, where he headed up Delaware’s outreach to increase business from the meetings and conventions segment.
Other accomplishments include his serving as president of the Greater Philadelphia Chapter of the Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI) from 1995-1997 as well as serving on the board of directors of HSMAI from 1997-1999. Additionally, Guidone served as Director of Marketing & Membership Development for the Receptive Services Association of America (now IITA.org) and has served two terms on its board of directors as DMO committee director, winning an award from his peers for outstanding service by a DMO in 1997.
A prior SKAL member of the Philadelphia Chapter, Guidone was inducted as a member of the NY SKAL Chapter in November 2014.
Guidone currently resides in New York City and when not busy with work, enjoys photography as well as the diverse cultural attractions and international cuisines of The Big Apple.