Eugene resident & Springfield business owner named 2018 Elite Cruise Counsellor of the Year by Cruise Lines International Association

Springfield, Ore. (April 30, 2018) – Gary E. Smith, ECCS, vacation specialist and franchise owner of Dream Vacations – TravelPerks, was recently named 2018 Elite Cruise Counsellor of the Year by Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) at its annual Hall of Fame Awards reception during the Cruise360 conference in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. The Elite Cruise Counsellor of the Year award is the highest accolade a travel agent can receive in the U.S.

“Gary is a role model for travel professionals worldwide. His commitment to professional development and excellence led him to achieve CLIA’s highest certification, Elite Cruise Counsellor Scholar,” said Charles Sylvia, ECC, vice president of membership and trade relations for CLIA. “Gary’s tremendous knowledge, inimitable ethics and vast experience, coupled with his selflessness in fostering others, made him the ideal candidate to receive our 2018 Elite Cruise Counsellor of the Year Award. I applaud Gary for his tireless dedication and thank him for his monumental contribution to cruise travel.”

This prestigious recognition is awarded to one individual out of more than 10,000 cruise specialists, of which more than 600 were eligible CLIA-certified travel agents who have achieved Elite Cruise Counsellor or Elite Cruise Counsellor Scholar status. The winner has demonstrated commitment to professional development, is recognized as a leader in the industry, mentors other agents and has significantly impacted the travel agent landscape through contributions to their agency. CLIA Members and leaders from the CLIA STARBoard and Trade Relations Committee nominated and voted for the 2018 winners. 

“I am humbled to be named as the top travel agent nationwide by CLIA, the preeminent cruise trade organization in the world,” said Smith, Dream Vacations franchise owner of the Springfield location. “Being part of Dream Vacations and the support they provide has made this monumental achievement possible. I love having the opportunity to share my two passions – travel and educating others – every day through my two careers as a franchise owner and business professor in Lane County.”

Smith has owned his Dream Vacations travel franchise for 14 years. He was named “Rookie of the Year” in 2004 and was the top seller of vacations out of more than 1,100 travel agents, each year from 2014 to 2016. In addition to teaching business at Lane Community College, Smith educates other Dream Vacations franchise owners and travel agents nationwide on how they can grow their business. Smith achieved his success through constant evolution and a willingness to find new ways to build relationships with customers, suppliers, staff, and his community.

As part of World Travel Holdings, one of the nation’s top travel retail networks, Dream Vacations offers consumers the lowest possible pricing and highest levels of service on cruise and land vacations through its relationships with every major cruise line and many tour operators.

Dream Vacations is looking for individuals who are passionate about travel, helping others and are eager to go into business for themselves, but not by themselves. For more information, please visit or call 888-249-8235. 

About Dream Vacations
Travel agents with the top-ranked home-based travel agency franchise Dream Vacations have the resources to plan and create seamless vacation experiences for their customers while offering the best value. A member of the International Franchise Association, Dream Vacations is part of World Travel Holdings and has received partner of the year, a top-ranking status, by all the major cruise lines as well as national recognition for its support of military veterans. For more information about Dream Vacations, visit Like Dream Vacations on Facebook at, follow on Twitter at @Dream_Franchise and watch its videos at