Virtuoso Celebrates Top Members as Travel Week Concludes


Bellagio Terrace Pool

WHY IT RATES: More than 3,000 attendees were at the final gala during which Virtuoso recognized its top members. —Janeen Christoff, TravelPulse Senior Writer

Virtuoso wrapped its 31st annual Virtuoso Travel Week with a sold-out gala that attracted more than 3,000 of the biggest names in luxury travel. The network also took the opportunity to recognize its most revered travel agencies, advisors, and preferred partners with its coveted Virtuoso Awards.

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, the event shined a spotlight on the network’s most esteemed members and partners worldwide. Virtuoso Travel Week, held in Las Vegas at Bellagio Resort & Casino, ARIA Resort & Casino and Vdara Hotel & Spa, has taken place over the past week, running August 10-16.

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Network peers determine Virtuoso Award winners: partners vote for agencies and advisors, and travel agency members select the victorious partners. Thousands of votes were cast in this year’s awards, showing a high level of engagement in the honors.

“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 honor our most remarkable Virtuosos on the final night of our annual ‘family reunion,’ when we’ve celebrated an incredible week of forging human connections,” added Upchurch. “Those connections are the critical difference that sets Virtuoso apart and bolsters our collective reputation, motivating travelers to seek out our high-touch network.”

The 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 August 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

SOURCE: Virtuoso press release.