LATTE can exclusively reveal that Virtuoso has abandoned proceedings for an Asia Pacific version of the luxury network’s Travel Week held annually in the USA in Las Vegas. Plans for the showcase in Sydney were well advanced, but have been put on ice for 2020 due to the COVID-19 travel crisis.
The first-of-its-kind event for the region had been earmarked for May 2020, with 500 delegates registered.
Michael Londregan, Managing Director of Virtuoso Asia Pacific, said the Sydney event had already lined up sponsors and preferred partners to participate.
“It was going to be us bringing a version of Travel Week Las Vegas to this region for the first time.”
“We were really excited about it and the event was in the gate, ready to run,” Londregan told LATTE.
Along with a multitude of other events that have been shelved around the world, the coronavirus pandemic had brought about the postponement of the inaugural Virtuoso Travel Week Sydney.
While disappointed, Londregan said the money that Virtuoso members and supplier partners would have invested in the event, had it gone ahead, are now needed to ensure they survive during the current crisis.
At this stage, Londregan was unable to definitively advise whether Virtuoso Travel Week in Las Vegas – scheduled for 8-14 August 2020 – would be proceeding. A virtual conference, however, may be on the cards.
“What we will probably be doing is looking at virtual events holistically for the second half of the year anyway,” he said.
“Whether we do or don’t, we need to understand that some markets may not be able to travel for a long time. Some segments of the market, some individuals such as those that may be older or risk-averse to travel.”
“We are looking holistically at digital platforms for virtual events regardless and I think that might be maintained quite a long time into the future,” Londregan said.