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Virtuoso's Australia forum signals industry optimism in 2022 and beyond

Virtuoso held its annual Australia & New Zealand Forum on May 9 and 10 in Adelaide, Australia. The event brought together 150 attendees, including owners and managers from Virtuoso’s travel agency members in Australia and New Zealand, as well as preferred partners, for in-person networking and professional development.

Virtuoso held its annual Australia & New Zealand Forum on May 9 and 10 in Adelaide, Australia. The event brought together 150 attendees, including owners and managers from Virtuoso’s travel agency members in Australia and New Zealand, as well as preferred partners, for in-person networking and professional development.

With agency executives stating they feel optimistic, hopeful and excited for what’s to come in 2022, Virtuoso focused on setting the stage for travel’s recovery by fostering the genuine human connections needed to bolster both sales and spirits while emphasizing the power of partnerships.

The 2022 Forum opened with a moving performance by Australian singer/songwriter Bonny Twigg.

Having composed a song, especially for the occasion, Twigg set the tone for the two days ahead and reminded the audience that the future is in their hands.

Virtuoso
2022 AUZ Virtuoso Forum- Matthew D. Upchurch

Virtuoso’s Chairman and CEO Matthew D. Upchurch then outlined the key activities and opportunities that exist within the Virtuoso ecosystem.

“In a world of commoditisation pressures, what enables us to succeed is combining the power of emotional intelligence and digital intelligence,” said Upchurch.

“We all work in service of the traveller, and the foundation we’ve built together enhances the connections we have with travellers, with our agencies and advisors, and with external partners that can add value to this ecosystem.”

Upchurch also spoke of the organisation’s global expansion with the appointment of five new general managers around the world, including Fiona Dalton, appointed as general manager for Australia-New Zealand earlier this year.

Fiona_Dalton
Fiona Dalton

Dalton followed Upchurch by highlighting the changing landscape of luxury travel in Australia and New Zealand.

“Virtuoso is growing and becoming a truly global brand that is globally consistent but regionally relevant.

“There are many opportunities that exist in this market for luxury travel advisors, with global outbound travel spend projected to surpass 2019 levels by the start of 2024,” said Dalton.

“We need to harness these opportunities and leverage the symbiotic relationships that exist in the Virtuoso network.”

Virtuoso
2022 AUZ Virtuoso Forum- Virtuoso team inc. Matthew Upchurch

Keynote speaker Dr. Richard “Harry” Harris had the room captivated as he shared his story of resilience.

Having worked in anesthesia, diving and aeromedical retrieval medicine, Harry and his dive partner Craig Challen were called upon to assist in the Thailand Tham Luang cave rescue of 12 Thai children and their soccer coach after 17 days underground.

His personal story of bravery, teamwork and courage resonated with the audience and encouraged attendees to reflect on the past two-plus years as they prepare for a brighter future ahead.

Virtuoso says the event was a resounding success, with members and partners overwhelmingly optimistic about what lies ahead.

Yvonne Verstandig from Trans World Travel Pty Ltd. said it best, “This was just the event we needed. It was perfectly curated and relevant to our business at the moment.”

For more information visit www.virtuoso.com