After two action-packed days of reconnection, insights and good times in Singapore, FCTG Independent Australia’s first overseas conference in three years has wrapped for 2023, with the event hailed a resounding success.
This year’s milestone event saw over 180 attendees fly into Singapore, including 27 different suppliers, as well as FCTG Independent leadership and support team members.
Held at the Parkroyal Hotel on Beach Road, the conference theme was ‘SOAR’, with FCTG noting that the lead message was laser focussed on “the incredible potential and limitless possibilities that lie ahead for the growing FCTG Independent network.”
After introducing the entire support team on stage to the network in his opening address, general manager of FCTG Independent, Nick Queale, spoke of his immense pride for the network, saying, “You are resilient, you are strong, and you are here.”
It’s easy to forget that FCTG Independent is still a relatively new group that only began in Australia with the acquisition of Travel Partners in 2016. Something James Kavanagh, FCTGs global CEO for leisure travel, was keen to remind people of in his update noting, “We were late to the party in this space in Australia.”
However, referring to Simon Sinek’s book, The Infinite Game, Kavanagh explained that the pandemic had compelled the business to consider fresh perspectives and make strategic changes that have resulted in not just the group’s recent rapid growth but will also benefit the entire sector by “playing the long game.”
The network has since demonstrated remarkable growth by welcoming 87 new members in the last nine months alone. As a result, FCTG Independent has become the fourth-largest and fastest-growing division of Flight Centre Group, with 1700 independent agents worldwide.
With a clear intention to build on that momentum, FCTG has also invested 67 per cent more than last year for the independent division, further bolstered by the overall group’s significant investments extending to the network, including TP Connects, the group’s soon-to-be launched NDC provider.
New Chief Product Officer, Wendie Lee, will also focus on improving independent agents’ and agencies’ digital ecosystem and continuing to develop the group’s single sign-on portal, HOME, which has just reached 1000 users globally.
Reminding Independents of the company’s $1 billion in liquidity and financial backing, Kavanagh said, “When you’re working with us, you can know that you have a partner that’s not just here for now but is here for the future.”
Emphasising the point to close his address at the conference, Queale said, “You are in safe hands; let’s soar together.”
All about the conference
The two-day agenda featured leadership, breakout and supplier sessions, including a keynote from G Adventures founder Bruce Poon Tip. Attendees also enjoyed plenty of time to connect socially with a welcome function at the iconic Asian Civilisations Museum on Friday evening and a gala awards dinner at the Fort Canning Hotel on Saturday.
I also moderated a breakout session at the conference on Making Responsible Travel a Reality with guests Abbé Lunn – Key Partnerships Manager for Intrepid Travel, Chris Fundell – Head of Marketing Australasia for Globus family of brands, Steph Wilson – FCTG Independent Agent and Founder of Travel with Care and charity organisation Streethearts in Sydney and Kristy Fennell – Global Head of Flight Centre Partnerships for Covermore.
Last year’s FCTG Independent conference was held at the Hilton Surfer’s Paradise from 23-25 March 2022. Read all about what happened here.
To learn more about Flight Centre Travel Group Independent, email the team here.
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