Brightspark Travel Managing Director Retires to Spend More Time with Family and Focus on Philanthropy

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Bill Irwin, Portfolio Managing Director of TUI Student Travel, North America, Assumes Acting Interim Managing Director Role

After 43 years in the student travel business, Brightspark Managing Director Mitchell Slotnick retired effective July 1, 2011. Slotnick turned 70 at the end of July and while remaining passionate about the student travel business, is looking forward to spending more time with family and taking part in hobbies and interests during his retirement.

Effective July 1, Bill Irwin, Portfolio Managing Director for TUI Student Travel North America, became acting interim Managing Director until a replacement has been decided upon. Mitchell will continue to serve in an advisory role to Bill.

Mitchell started Educational Tours with his wife, Valerie, in l969. With a Ph.D. in accounting from Northwestern, Slotnick previous taught at Loyola University while running his own consulting business. Due to the growing tour business, Mitchell left academia in 1988 and his consulting in 1998 to devote full time to Educational Tours. As a result of its growth and reputation Educational Tours was acquired by TUI Travel PLC in 2006, with Slotnick remaining in the position of Managing Director. Managing Educational Tours during the next four years as a successful business within the North American student group, Slotnick was asked in 2010 to integrate four US student companies under the new Brightspark brand, specializing in not only educational groups but also performance and event groups.

Slotnick has felt very comfortable over the last year with the status to date of the bringing together of the four student travel companies. He is proud of the outstanding Sales, Marketing, Operations and Financial professionals that surround this business and will continue to operate Brightspark for many years to come.

The entire Brightspark team feels very confident that Brightspark will be the leader in educational, performance and event student travel satisfying the vision of ‘A Bigger World for Every Student’.

For someone that has been in the business as long as he has with as much knowledge and experience he brings to the education division, he will be missed by many on a day in/day out basis. We thank Mitchell for everything that he has done for student travel in general over these four plus decades and for TUI Student Travel in particular.

About Brightspark: Brightspark ( was formed when Educational Tours, National Events, New Horizons Tour & Travel and Travel Adventures, all wholly owned subsidiaries of the global company TUI Travel PLC, came together in 2010 to simplify student travel for teachers. The four sister companies, each a student travel leader in their own right, have more than 100 years of combined travel experience. Brightspark offers educators custom travel services and solutions, including exclusive tours to a broad range of national and international destinations as well as streamlined tour planning and management services. Based out of Deerfield, Illinois, with regional offices across the country, Brightspark is a wholly owned subsidiary of the global company TUI Travel PLC, which brings hundreds of thousands visitors annually to the United States and serves more than 30 million visitors worldwide.

About TUI Travel PLC: TUI Travel PLC is the world’s leading international travel group which operates in approximately 180 countries worldwide and serves more than 30 million customers in over 27 source markets. Headquartered in Crawley, near Gatwick airport in the UK, the Group employs approximately 50,000 people and operates a pan-European airline consisting of 146 aircraft. The company is organized and managed through three business Sectors: Mainstream, Specialist & Activity and Accommodation & Destinations. For more information visit

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Nonna Kofman
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