Sightings: Virtuoso Honors Top Partners, Members at Travel Week

Virtuoso honored its top destination, cruise, lifestyle, member and advisor partners at Virtuoso Travel Week. The event is running August 12 to 18 at the Bellagio Resort & Casino, ARIA Resort & Casino and Vdara Hotel & Spa in Las Vegas, drawing a record-breaking 5,760 travel professionals from 103 countries, a 7 percent increase in attendance.

At the events Opening Ceremony Sunday Virtuoso Chairman and CEO Matthew D. Upchurch outlined the luxury networks growth in an opening keynote address. The opening event also included talks by Socialnomics author Erik Qualman and cinematographer Louie Schwartzberg, as well as celebrity appearances by Sarah Jessica Parker and supermodel and Auckland International Ambassador Rachel Hunter.

Virtuoso Partner Awards

During the event Virtuoso named the honorees of 20 destination, cruise and lifestyle partner awards. Ten of the awards were announced at the Destination Showcase dinner on August 14 at Bellagio:

Luxury Travel Advisor’s ULTRA Summit

May 21-23, 2019 | Reunion | Kissimmee, FL

This exclusive, invite-only event focused on the luxury travel market brings together world-class travel agency owners and managers with the most opulent, luxury suppliers to cultivate collaboration, share insights, and help carve a path into the future of luxury travel.
  • Best Curated Travel Partner: Made for Spain and Portugal
  • Best Escorted Tour Partner: Tauck
  • Destinations & Experiences Ambassador of the Year: The Pinto Family/Micato Safaris
  • Destinations & Experiences Partner of the Year: Classic Vacations
  • Best Multi-Generational Program – Cruise: Royal Caribbean International
  • Best Culinary Experience – Cruise: Crystal Cruises
  • Most Innovative Itinerary – Cruise: Silversea Cruises
  • Most Luxurious Guest Experience – Cruise: Regent Seven Seas Cruises
  • Best Virtuoso Voyages Experience: Decouvertes – Bordeaux, France: French Cooking Experience in Bordeaux
  • Tourism Board of the Year: Tourism New Zealand

On August 13 at a luncheon at Bellagio, the luxury network recognized outstanding preferred destinations and lifestyle suppliers:

  • Most Engaged Tourism Board – North America: Tourism Australia
  • Most Engaged Tourism Board – Global: Visit California
  • Most Innovative Tourism Board: Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development
  • Most Comprehensive Advisor Program: Argentina National Institute of Tourism Promotion
  • Hottest Destination of the Year: Tourism Fiji
  • Top Destination of the Year: Mexico Tourism Board
  • Ambassador of the Year: Ina Rodin, Croatian National Tourist Board
  • Most Innovative Lifestyle Partner: El Corte Inglés

Virtuoso Member, Advisor Awards

The week also saw Virtuoso honor its top advisors and members. During an August 11 reception at Bellagio, the organization announced the winners of its Virtuoso Active and Specialty Travel (VAST) Awards:

  • Top Producer – VAST: Michelle Bemis, McCabe World Travel
  • Most Innovative Advisor – VAST: Natasha Rhodes, Vision Travel Solutions
  • Most Innovative VAST Experience: Natural Habitat Adventures – Classic Polar Bear Adventure
  • Best VAST Partner: Micato Safaris

Virtuoso also honored the top performers within its network of over 800 travel agency locations in a presentation by Upchurch and David Kolner, Virtuoso SVP of global member partnerships. The presentation also included the organizations first-ever innovation awards:

  • Top Virtuoso Network Production: Protravel International – New York, New York
  • Top Latin America Production: ITG (International Travel Group) – Mexico City, Mexico
  • Top Australia/New Zealand Production: Goldman Travel Corporation – Bondi Junction, Australia
  • Top Europe/Asia/Middle East Production: Colletts Travel – London, United Kingdom
  • Highest Production per Advisor: Churchill & Turen, Ltd. – Naperville, Illinois
  • Top Year-Over-Year Growth (Percent): Travelex International Inc. – Hoffman Estates, Illinois
  • Top Year-Over-Year Growth (Revenue): SmartFlyer – New York, New York
  • Virtuoso Network Engagement: Cruises Etc. Travel LLC – Fort Worth, Texas 
  • Top Virtuoso Air Production: Travel Experts, Inc. – Raleigh, North Carolina
  • Virtuoso Innovation Award – Best Agency Office: Select Collection – Stockholm, Sweden
  • Virtuoso Innovation Award – Best Client Service Experience: Brownell – Birmingham, Alabama

Other Top News From Virtuoso Travel Week

The event also saw the debut of Virtuosos inaugural Community Globetrotting event, focusing on the adventure travel, cruising, wellness, and, for the first time this year, family travel, niches. Globetrotting supports Virtuoso Communities, an initiative that brings together Virtuoso advisors and partners in a specific travel category. 1,200 Virtuoso advisors and 135 partners participated in the event.

Top cruise brands also made major announcements during Virtuoso Travel Week, including the official christening of Crystal AirCruises new luxury jet, the Crystal Skye, as well as an announcement by Norwegian Cruise Line on several new features of the upcoming Norwegian Bliss.

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