Virtuoso commemorated 20 years of operating in Australia and New Zealand with an elegant luncheon on Sydney Harbour on Friday [2 February 2024]. The special event — which saw Matthew D. Upchurch, Virtuoso’s Chairman and CEO, on hand to welcome guests — brought together 120 Virtuoso agency members, preferred partners and team members to celebrate and reflect on the network’s growth in the region over the past two decades.
Mary Rossi Travel, Virtuoso Australia’s inaugural member agency, was appointed on 29 January 2004, closely followed by its first New Zealand member agency, Voyage Affairs – an early nod to the network’s commitment to becoming a key regional player in luxury travel.
What began as a single partnership has evolved into a vibrant and robust community with 60 members and over 1,700 advisors across Australia and New Zealand. One aspect that remains unchanged since entering the region 20 years ago is Virtuoso’s embodiment of its core principles of human connection, setting the standard for luxury travel and offering clients unparalleled access to the world’s finest destinations.
1. Roger Hudson and Claudia Rossi Hudson, Mary Rossi Travel, with Matthew Upchurch, Virtuoso / 2. Stuart Rigg, Southern Crossings Australia; Matthew Upchurch, Virtuoso and Sarah Farag, Southern Crossings, New Zealand / 3. Virtuoso’s Regional Advisory Panel – Anthony Goldman, Goldman Travel; Kelly Gelfand, Tribe Travel; Sharyn Kitchener, Mosman Travel; Matthew Upchurch, Virtuoso; Melinda Gregor, Gregor and Lewis; Anna McMurtrie, Wentworth Travel and Mike Dwyer, Main Beach Travel.
With a solid reputation for excellence anchored in these values, Upchurch reflected on the network’s impressive evolution in the region.
“Witnessing the growth of Virtuoso in Australia and New Zealand, as well as our continued expansion around the globe, is a testament to the enduring values that have been the cornerstone of our success,” Upchurch said.
“I fundamentally believe that we are better together, learning from our colleagues and peers, and building something together that is stronger than what we could have achieved on our own.
“Virtuoso is rooted in co-creation, and it has been my honour to co-create this network in Australia and New Zealand with these incredible professionals.”
Upchurch continued, “Our Members and leadership in Australia and New Zealand have also been instrumental in helping us be a better organisation that is both globally consistent and regionally relevant. Many innovations that we’ve adopted around the globe were born Down Under. And to top it all off, they are a whole lot of fun to be with.”
Claudia Rossi Hudson, previous owner of Mary Rossi Travel when it became Virtuoso’s first Australian member agency, said, “Joining Virtuoso 20 years ago was a transformative experience for Mary Rossi Travel.
Since then, the art of selling luxury travel has evolved significantly, as advisors have increasingly become experts in the client in order to deliver exceptional travel experiences. Virtuoso’s commitment to its members in this market has aided in redefining the role of the luxury travel advisor in this region and continuously elevating the value of service we provide to our clients.”
1. Virtuoso flag mounted aboard The Jackson / 2. Attendees aboard the Jackson on Sydney Harbour / 3. Matthew Upchurch, Virtuoso; Phillipa Harrison, Tourism Australia; Sharyn Kitchener, Mosman Travel / 4. Lisa Pile VP Sales and GM Asia Pacific, Regent Seven Seas Cruises. / 5. Discussion panelists, (from left) Claudia Rossi Hudson, Cher Roscoe, Mike Dwyer, David Brandon, and host Fiona Dalton, Virtuoso General Manager ANZ.
Fiona Dalton, Virtuoso’s General Manager, Australia & New Zealand, shared, “Over the past two decades, our community has thrived, and Virtuoso has set the standard in luxury travel for others to follow. We are excited for what the future holds as we continue to raise the brand profile of Virtuoso, our members and our partners in this market, with the enduring power of human connection at the centre of it all.”
Lead image: The Virtuoso AU/NZ contingent, with Matthew Upchurch, Chairman and CEO (right). From left are Michael Londregan, Zoe Dean, Edwina Lambkin, Kara Heaslip, Sophie Treasure, Kerrie Fellowes, Anna Davies, Fiona Dalton, Bhavini Aggarwal, Michele Duncan and Sussanah Teng.
Pictured above and below are a series of supplied photos on Friday aboard The Jackson on Sydney Harbour.