Home Travel News

Virtuoso celebrates 20 years in Australia and New Zealand

Virtuoso, the global luxury travel network, celebrated 20 years of operating in Australia and New Zealand with a lunch and cruise on Sydney Harbour last week.

Virtuoso, the global luxury travel network, celebrated 20 years of operating in Australia and New Zealand with a lunch and cruise on Sydney Harbour last week.

Virtuoso’s Chairman and CEO, Matthew D. Upchurch, was in attendance – having made the journey to Sydney from the United States. He was joined by Michael Londregan, Senior Vice President, Global Operations; Fiona Dalton, Virtuoso General Manager, Australia/New Zealand; and the AU/NZ Virtuoso team. 

More than 120 guests stepped aboard luxury vessel The Jackson, to be welcomed by Upchurch. The guest list included Virtuoso agency members, preferred partners, select media (including Karryon) and Virtuoso team members – all gathered to celebrate the network’s growth in the region. 

Virtuoso Australia’s inaugural member agency, Mary Rossi Travel, was appointed on January 29, 2004, closely followed by its first New Zealand member agency, Voyage Affairs.

Roger Hudson and Claudia Rossi Hudson with Matthew Upchurch, Virtuoso.
Roger Hudson and Claudia Rossi Hudson with Matthew Upchurch, Virtuoso.

The community now includes 60 members and more than 1,700 advisors across Australia and New Zealand. 

“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,” said Matthew D. Upchurch. 

Virtuoso_Stuart Rigg, Southern Crossings Australia; Matthew Upchurch, Virtuoso; Sarah Farag, Southern Crossings New Zealand
Stuart Rigg, Southern Crossings Australia; Matthew Upchurch, Virtuoso; Sarah Farag, Southern Crossings New Zealand.

“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,” said Upchurch.

Virtuoso-Matthew-Upchurch
Matthew D. Upchurch.

Fiona Dalton thanked all guests present, acknowledging the 75 owner managers in the room and the 11 table host partners. Lisa Pile, Vice President Sales and General Manager, Asia Pacific, of Regent Seven Seas Cruises, as the event’s official drinks sponsor, thanked the Virtuoso team and members on behalf of all the event sponsors. 

Dalton also thanked and introduced her local team. 

“They’re independently talented and collectively the dream team and I’m fortunate to work  with such a passionate group, and a committed group, who everyday who worked alongside me,” said Dalton. 

“This wonderful group of women wake up every single morning with only one goal, and that’s to serve you, the Virtuoso community. To Michael, who has passionately led this region since 2013, and every region outside of the USA since 2021: welcome,” said Dalton.

She continued: “Michael’s passion and unwavering commitment has led to Australia becoming a bit of a blueprint for every other emerging market in Virtuoso and although his remit is broad, he remains hopelessly devoted to you all, and we are so much the richer for his involvement and influence,” said Dalton.

Fiona Dalton_Virtuoso
Fiona Dalton, Virtuoso.

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.”

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.”

Virtuoso_Regional Advisory Board
Some of the members of the Virtuoso Regional Advisory board.

During the event, the Regional Member Advisory Board members who were present were all invited on stage for a rare photo opportunity with Upchurch. 

Anthony Goldman, Goldman Travel; Kelly Gelfand, Tribe Travel; Sharyn Kitchener, Mosman Travel; Matthew Upchurch, Virtuoso; Melinda Gregor, Gregor and Lewis; Anna McMurtrie, Wentworth Travel; Mike Dwyer, Main Beach Travel. 

As Chair of the Regional Member Advisory Board, Anthony Goldman, addressed the group and thanking his predecessors in the role David Brandon and Claudia Rossi Hudson.

Virtuoso hosted its 20th celebrations on The Jackson. Credit: Katrina Holden.
Virtuoso hosted its 20th celebrations on The Jackson. Credit: Katrina Holden.

“Without you paving the way we most certainly wouldn’t be here today….we have some wonderful guests here today and personally, it’s great to see Cher from Travelcall and also my father Tom Goldman, who’s here. So thanks for being here, everyone and thank you to the Virtuoso team. Really, you guys are stars and what you bring to the table, for us and the ways you serve us –  I do believe that you do such a great job to keep this machine rolling. Thanks very much to Fiona and her team,” said Goldman. 

As the event drew to a close, Dalton facilitated a panel group discussion with Claudia Rossi Hudson, Cher Roscoe, Travelcall ; Mike Dwyer, Main Beach Travel; and David Brandon, Savenio.

For more information, visit virtuoso.com