Global luxury travel advisor network, Virtuoso, this week is celebrating 20 years in Australia and New Zealand in 2024. The Australia and New Zealand expansion was one of the first big international launches for the US-based group, which has since grown exponentially in the region.
To mark the occasion, the invite-only travel organisation hosted a soiree in Sydney. Held on Friday 2 February 2024, the lunchtime event took place on board The Jackson superyacht, the same vessel recently commandeered by Veuve Clicquot for its exclusive summer sailing series.
The gathering included travel industry professionals, media, Virtuoso members and partners, and Chairman and CEO himself, Matthew Upchurch, who flew into Sydney for the event.
Upchurch thanked Virtuoso members both new and old, and shared an origin story of the Australian expansion. As Upchurch tells it, the United Kingdom was the original target for the first big expansion, but a visit to Australia – and exposure to our larrikin nature – swayed the Virtuoso powers that be in favour of an antipodean branch.
Virtuoso thanks Regional Member Advisory Board
With proceedings led by Fiona Dalton, AU/NZ General Manager and an acknowledgement of country delivered by Phillipa Harrison, Managing Director, Tourism Australia, Virtuoso thanked its Regional Member Advisory Board for their continual hard work and support, naming each Anna McMurtrie, Karen Majsay, Melinda Gregor, Mike Dwyer, Kelly Gelfand, Anthony Goldman, Danny Engelman, Leith Sisson and Sharyn Kitchener.
The afternoon also included a panel discussion with long-time members, Claudia Rossi Hudson, Cher Roscoe, Mike Dwyer and David Brandon, who shared highlights from their time within the network, and how it’s helped their businesses.
Representatives from many of Virtuoso’s partners were in attendance with tables sponsored by each 50° North Nordic, Oceania Cruises, Switzerland, Tourism Western Australia, Accor, Shangri-La Group, Uniworld Boutique River Cruises, Explora Journeys, Viking, Destination Canada, and Regent Seven Seas Cruises were the drinks sponsors.
Afterwards, guests were invited to kick the weekend off early with casual drinks and beachside vibes at Bungalow 8 on King Street Wharf.