LAS VEGAS — Virtuoso’s top members were honoured at its 31st annual Virtuoso Travel Week in Las Vegas, where over 3,000 of travel’s biggest names took part in week-long celebrations.
Taking place from Aug. 10-16 at Bellagio Resort & Casino, ARIA Resort & Casino and Vdara Hotel & Spa, the event was hosted by Virtuoso Chairman and CEO Matthew D. Upchurch, Senior Vice President of Marketing Terrie Hansen, and Senior Vice President of Global Member Partnerships David Kolner.
To determine this year’s winners, partners were asked to vote for agencies and advisors, after which travel agency members selected the victorious partners. Thousands of votes were cast, showing a high level of engagement.
“I’m always impressed and inspired by how our members and partners constantly innovate to deliver unforgettable travel experiences to their clients,” said Upchurch. “It’s appropriate that we honour our most remarkable Virtuosos on the final night of our annual ‘family reunion’, when we’ve celebrated an incredible week of forging human connections.”
Among this year’s winners is Travel Professionals International (TPI), which was awarded coveted 2019 Top Air Year-Over-Year Percentage Growth – Member Agency. According to Colton Chia, Director of Partnerships who accepted the award, the honour is especially significant as only a small fraction of the network’s 20,000 advisors and 1,000-plus travel agency members are recognized at Virtuoso Travel Week.
“We are thrilled to be recognized by Virtuoso for our advisors’ increase in air production,” said Chia. “Virtuoso Air is an important addition to our direct contracts, providing leading commission levels for growing markets.”
David Kolner, senior vice president, Global Member Partnerships at Virtuoso, added: “This network is always working to ensure the client experience is elevated to the next level, and Virtuoso members such as TPI deserve credit for their efforts in ensuring this happens.”
TPI advisor Kelly Krill also took home 3rd place in the Virtuoso Travel Photo Contest for her image, ‘Wild Orangutan Getting Fruit’. Her photo was featured in the Virtuoso gallery at the Bellagio throughout the week.
The full list of 2019 Virtuoso Award winners are:
Member Awards (as voted by partners)
- Most Hospitable Agency – US/Canada: Travel Edge
- Most Innovative Advisor – US/Canada: Keith Waldon, Departure Lounge
- Virtuoso Rising Star – US/Canada: Blaire Kochar, Brownell Travel
- Most Admired Advisor – Asia/Pacific: Anthony Goldman, Goldman Travel Corporation
- Most Admired Advisor – Europe/Middle East/Africa: Jenny Graham, Quintessentially Travel
- Most Admired Advisor – Latin America/Caribbean: Paola Prieto, ITG-International Travel Group
- Most Admired Advisor – Canada: Roger Kershaw, Travel Edge
- Most Admired Advisor – US: Josh Alexander, Protravel International
Partner Awards (as voted by members)
- Airline of the Year: Emirates Airline
- Service Partner of the Year: Travelex Insurance Services
- Sustainable Tourism Leadership – Preferred Partner: Nomadic Expeditions
- Cruise Line of the Year: Crystal Cruises
In addition, Virtuoso announced this year’s outstanding cruise performers at a reception on Aug. 13:
- Top Producer – Virtuoso Voyages: Ralph Bias, Amazing Cruises
- Virtuoso Rising Star – Cruise: Frances Sarrett, McCabe World Travel
- Most Innovative Advisor – Cruise Sales: Jonathan Phillips, Cassis Travel Services
- Best Virtuoso Voyages Experience: Kusadasi by Sea Song Tours – Turkey
- Virtuoso Cruise Ambassador of the Year – Member: Kimberly Wilson Wetty, Valerie Wilson Travel
- Virtuoso Cruise Ambassador of the Year – Partner: Chris Austin, Seabourn