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FCTG Independent: First conference in two years sparks reconnection, insights and good times

Last week, FCTG Independent hosted its first annual conference since March 2020, which featured 18 industry sponsors and 110 attendees from all brands including Travel Partners, Flight Centre Independent, Travel Associates at Home and Travel Associates Franchise.

Just how good is it to see large scale in-person travel industry events back after so long and so much heartache?

In what was another milestone moment for the industry rebuild, the 2022 FCTG Independent ‘Home’ themed conference took place at the Hilton Surfer’s Paradise from 23-25 March.

The energising and reuniting two-day event included an Acknowledgement of Country performed by Waveney Yasso, a “Master Your Mindset” session with Cherie Canning, former Flight Centre employee and Founder of Luminate Leadership, as well as a keynote address by renowned Consumer Futurist, Amanda Stevens.

FCTG Independent GM, Astrid Richardson, took agents and sponsors through an update regarding the substantial technology investment FCTG is putting into better service the division, putting independent agencies at the forefront.

While FCTG’s Executive General Manager, Product, Greg Parker, shared insights into the ways in which the company is positioned to ensure independent agencies can maximise their commercial returns from the travel they sell.

Greg Parker, FCTG Executive General Manager, Product

Speaking about the event, Ms Richardson said, “FCTG Independent is the Home of the Travel Entrepreneur. We’re building a powerhouse for independent travel agencies around the world, starting with our network in Australia.

“This year, our conference theme was ‘Home’. Not only is this to celebrate the launch of our bespoke technology for our independent community, but also to welcome our Australian network home, as we can once again thrive in the industry we love and cherish time with colleagues and new connections.”

Breakout sessions were designed to help the independent agents and agency owners in attendance drive growth in their businesses, with sessions including “An Entrepreneur’s Journey”, “Marketing Events and Networking for Your Business”, “How to Pitch, Win and Service Corporate Customers” and more.

The event opened with a poolside “Sail Away” Party hosted by World’s Leading Cruise Lines Brands, P&O, Princess, Cunard, Carnival and Holland America Line.

FCTG Independent Gala Dinner

The Thursday night Gala Dinner sponsored by Qatar Airways was held at SkyPoint. During the Gala Dinner, awards were given to top-selling mobile agents and agencies from all brands, as well as special awards for agents who had exceeded expectations in their support of the division.

Attending agent David Lyons, from Horizon Cruise and Travel (part of Travel Partners) said, “For those who missed the conference, you missed an amazing experience!

“Meeting all the FC Independents team, meeting with our great suppliers, listening to inspiring presenters including Head of Procurement, which for me was not only inspiring but also 100% reassuring.”

Amanda Stevens, Consumer Futurist

“Of the 12 years in the industry, it was one of the most enjoyable conferences! I am not sure if it’s the combination of the delay between connection in the travel industry or being a new Travel Partner [mobile agent], but that was one of the better ones I’ve attended!” said Jay Dean from, GO TRVL

The conference wrapped up with a supplier showcase, followed by a selection of activities sponsored by I Love New York. To finish up the event, agents and sponsors could choose from a spa experience, stand up paddleboarding, a craft gin tasting and distillery tour or a Sip and Paint session.

To find out more about FCTG Independent, head to www.fctgl.com/independent