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LAS VEGAS – Last Thursday night in front of more than 2,800 of the industry’s most prominent figures, international luxury travel network Virtuoso feted the year’s superlative travel advisors, agencies and partners, presenting them with coveted Virtuoso Awards.

The elegant gala marked the end of the 28th annual Virtuoso Travel Week, which expanded this year to three Las Vegas host hotels: Bellagio Resort & Casino, ARIA Resort & Casino and Vdara Hotel & Spa. Hosted by Virtuoso Chairman and CEO Matthew D. Upchurch, the gala honoured the most innovative and admired agencies and advisors around the world, in addition to global partner standouts.

In a recognition of Virtuoso’s impressive international expansion over the past year, the network debuted its Most Admired Advisor – Europe/Middle East/Africa, while the award for Most Admired Advisor – Australia/New Zealand was recast to reflect Virtuoso’s Asia/Pacific growth. Additionally, the former category of Most Admired Advisor for the U.S. and Canada was divided to allow an advisor from each country to receive honours.

The Virtuoso Awards are unique in that agencies, advisors and preferred partners are recognised by their network peers. Travel providers vote for agencies and advisors, while travel agency members vote for preferred partners. This year Virtuoso received more than 2,200 votes from advisors and suppliers.

“Virtuosos are never content to rest on their laurels, impressive though they are,” said Upchurch. “The Virtuoso Awards celebrate the agencies, advisors and partners who are constantly innovating to bring clients even more extraordinary experiences, which in turn create memories that last a lifetime. One of the many things I love about this network is how we’re always raising the bar on our own perception of excellence, and this year’s winners are setting a very high standard for our industry.” 

The 2016 Virtuoso Award winners are: 

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

  • Most Hospitable Agency: The Accomplished Traveler, New York, New York
  • Most Innovative Advisor: Sandie Wiesenthal, Protravel International, Beverly Hills, California 
  • Virtuoso Rising Star: Emily Prentiss, Valerie Wilson Travel, New York, New York
  • Most Admired Advisor – Asia/Pacific: Carol Morgan, Voyage Affaires, Auckland, New Zealand
  • Most Admired Advisor – Canada: David Lowy, Renshaw Travel, Vancouver, British Columbia
  • Most Admired Advisor – Europe/Middle East/Africa: Tina Rose, Protravel International, London, UK 
  • Most Admired Advisor – Latin America/Caribbean: Anita Besson, Matuete Worldwide, Sao Paulo, Brazil
  • Most Admired Advisor – USA: Rudi Steele, Rudi Steele Travel, Dallas, Texas

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

  • Best Airline: Emirates Airline 
  • Best Specialty Provider: Travelex Insurance Services 
  • Best Luxury Cruise Line: Crystal Cruises
  • Best Resort/Contemporary Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean International
  • Best Premium Cruise Line: Oceania Cruises 
  • Best River Cruise Line: AmaWaterways

Most Admired Advisor – Asia/Pacific: Carol Morgan, Voyage Affaires, Auckland, New Zealand

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