WHY IT RATES: The return to Vienna demonstrates Virtuoso’s strong connection with the Austrian Tourist Office and the Venice Tourism Board while highlighting the luxury offerings in the city and beyond. —Janeen Christoff, TravelPulse Senior Writer
Virtuoso will welcome top industry leaders to Vienna next year for its 2020 Virtuoso Symposium, taking place March 17-21.
The event is returning to the legendary Austrian city for the second time in celebration of a significant milestone, as Vienna saw one of the network’s biggest announcements occur during the 2000 Symposium. At that event, the former API Travel Consultants rebranded as Virtuoso and, in the ensuing 20 years, has built a worldwide brand synonymous with excellence in luxury and experiential travel.
The strong relationship between Virtuoso, the Austrian Tourist Office and the Vienna Tourist Board was a key factor in securing Symposium for the city. The high-level business event gathers the most influential decision makers in up-market travel for networking and experiences as well as discussions on industry trends, challenges, and opportunities. Throughout the conference, the spotlight is on the host destination and its highly desirable luxury offerings.
With approximately half of the anticipated 500 Symposium attendees being travel agency owners or managers spanning the globe, Vienna will have a golden opportunity to display its upscale offerings to this influential group, who can encourage their elite clients to visit the city and country. Austria is a destination on the rise; in 2018 it welcomed 45 million hotel arrivals and 150 million overnight visitors from around the world. That marked a 4.1 percent increase in hotel arrivals and 3.5 percent increase in overnights year over year. Travel and tourism accounts for 15.9 percent of the country’s gross domestic product, totaling (U.S.) $66.4 billion.
The Austrian Tourist Office and the Vienna Tourist Board are sponsoring the event with additional support from the following Virtuoso-preferred partners:
—Hotel Bristol, A Luxury Collection Hotel
—Hotel Imperial, A Luxury Collection Hotel
—The Ritz-Carlton, Vienna
—Park Hyatt Vienna
—Palais Hansen Kempinski
—Hotel Sacher Wien
—Palais Coburg Residenz
—Mondial Destination Management
“Austria holds a special place in Virtuoso’s history and there is nowhere more appropriate to mark the 20th anniversary of our brand than where is all started: Vienna,” said Matthew D. Upchurch, Virtuoso Chairman and CEO. “This city celebrates virtuosos of all types – artists, musicians, performers – so it’s only fitting that we would bring the world’s best travel advisors, masters at the artform of travel, to Vienna. By experiencing the rich culture and beautiful sights, they will encourage even greater inbound tourism among their clients, ensuring more people come to enjoy the splendours of this remarkable city.”
“We’re excited to welcome Virtuoso back to Vienna,” said Michael Gigl, Region Manager USA & Australia for the Austrian Tourist Office. “Over the last 20 years, our and the Vienna Tourist Board’s relationship with Virtuoso has grown ever stronger, and this partnership is truly an essential part of our presence in the global luxury travel market. Vienna is one of the most exciting cities in the world and a perfect fit for Virtuoso’s discerning clients.”
Virtuoso has over 1,000 travel agency locations in more than 50 countries throughout North America, Latin America, the Caribbean, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Africa and the Middle East. Its 20,000 elite travel advisors are responsible for (U.S.) $26.4 billion in sales annually. They tap their preferred relationships with more than 1,800 of the world’s best hotels and resorts, cruise lines, airlines, tour companies and premier destinations to provide clients with exclusive amenities, rare experiences and privileged access.
Vienna will be one of the very few cities alongside Hong Kong and Cape Town to host this impressive gathering twice. Virtuoso selects the world’s most dynamic locales as Symposium hosts, from Cairo to Cannes, Singapore to St. Petersburg, Madrid to Mexico City, Buenos Aires to Berlin. The network’s latest Symposium was held May 7-11 in Melbourne, Australia.
SOURCE: Virtuoso press release.
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