Travel Agents

How luxurious is our fair country?

Hannah Edensor

Virtuoso’s freshest list of luxury winners has deemed Australia and New Zealand worthy.

Taking out some of the top internationally recognised prizes for being awesome at luxury service, the Aussies and Kiwis had something to celebrate at Virtuoso Travel Week in Vegas, shining the spotlight on our fair, far away country.

“Australia and New Zealand have not only rated in the top ten most popular destinations for international leisure travel out of the United States, taking 5th and 6th place respectively, our representatives have been recognised for their expertise and high quality product,” Virtuoso Asia Pacific’s managing director Michael Londregan said.

“Our local Virtuoso members are a strong force in the world of luxury travel both in the delivery of individual advisory service and through the quality of their overall business offering and this week we have seen some of the best recognised during Virtuoso Travel Week.”

Amongst the winners are Allure Travel by CTM’s Kelly Gelfand who won Most Admired Advisor (Australia/NZ) and Goldman Travel which won Top Australia/NZ Production.

Londregan said relationships are the key to success in luxury tourism and Virtuoso had launched a number of strategic partnerships in the Asia Pacific region in 2015 including extending its partnership with Tourism New Zealand.

“Tourism New Zealand, which took out the Tourism Board of the Year award, has put great effort in to building its luxury travel strategy and has shown the importance of relationships in achieving successful outcomes in the luxury travel space,” he said.

“In the 2014 calendar year, the Tourism New Zealand/ Virtuoso partnership was worth NZ$100 million to the New Zealand economy and we are pleased to be welcoming a new partnership with Tourism Australia, further strengthening our brand in the region.”

Last week we revealed the Destination Partner winners in the field of luxury, but now it’s down under’s time to shine.

“Virtuosos – both travel advisors and preferred partners – have always raised the bar in the luxury travel industry,” Virtuoso’s chairman and ceo Matthew Upchurch added.

“The Virtuoso Awards shine a spotlight on the value that travel professionals bring to their clients in the form of distinctive, memorable experiences. We salute those who are innovating to serve Virtuoso Travellers in even better ways and breaking new ground for the industry.”

The 2015 Virtuoso Award recipients are:

Agency/Advisor Peer-to-Peer Awards (as voted by preferred partners)

  • Most Hospitable Agency: Lake Shore Travel Service – Glencoe, Illinois
  • Most Innovative Advisor: Kimberly Wilson Wetty, Valerie Wilson Travel, New York, New York
  • Virtuoso Rising Star: Katherine Norton, Brownell, Birmingham, Alabama
  • Most Admired Advisor – Australia/New Zealand: Kelly Gelfand, Allure Travel by CTM – Toorak, Australia
  • Most Admired Advisor – Latin America/Caribbean: Laura Asilis, Travelwise – Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
  • Most Admired Advisor – USA/Canada: Meg North, Brownell – Birmingham, Alabama

Supplier Peer-to-Peer Awards (as voted by travel agency members)

  • Best Airline: Emirates Airlines
  • Best Specialty Provider: Travelex Insurance Services
  • Sustainable Tourism Leadership: Natural Habitat Adventures
  • Best Luxury Cruise Line: Crystal Cruises
  • Best Contemporary Cruise Line: Oceania Cruises
  • Best Niche/Specialty Cruise Line: SeaDream Yacht Club
  • Best River Cruise Line: AmaWaterways


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