From the colorful fall scenery of New England to the charming streets of European cities, this season has been a time of exploration and discovery for our dedicated staff. In this blog post, we invite you to join us on a virtual voyage as we share our diverse autumn adventures, providing you with a glimpse into the breathtaking landscapes, cultural encounters, and memorable experiences we've encountered along the way. So, fasten your seatbelts and prepare for an exciting tour through the places GTN staff has traveled to this fall.
St. Andrews, Scotland
Chief Visionary Officer Meredith Calloway attended the ASTA Travel Masters Event held at the Fairmont St. Andrews in Scotland. This event includes a half-day meeting with travel industry leaders discussing updates with ASTA, followed by a two-day golf tournament at the Carnousty and Kingsbarns courses. It was a spectacular two days of golf, friendly competition and the opportunity to deepen industry relationships. The icing on the cake was the "Tee Time to Tea Time" event for women hosted by Windstar Cruises the day before the ASTA Travel Masters event. For this event there were 22 women golfers who enjoyed a 1-hour golf lesson, 9-holes of golf on the Fairmont St. Andrews course and High Tea with all the bells and whistles. The intention of the pre-event is to get more women out on the courses while encouraging female leadership in the travel industry. Golfing is a great networking activity and provides participants a better chance to have the opportunity for a seat at the table.
Peru, South America
Vice President of Member Experience, Kristin Matthews led a GTN FAM with preferred partner G Adventures & National Geographic. This trip was nothing short of amazing! Matthews, along with ten other GTN advisors, experienced Lima, Cusco, the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu in a way that showcased community based travel. They met wonderful people in every location who own and operate sustainable businesses thanks to the support of G Adventures. Keeping tourism dollars in Peru while giving travelers a cultural experience of a lifetime is what they are all about. And they don't call themselves G Adventures for nothing! Matthews and a handful of others in the group hiked the Inca Trail in order to get the best view from above Machu Picchu (the view you see in the photos above). This was definitely a challenge, but oh so rewarding in the end! Peru is an amazing country with even more amazing people.
Napa Valley, California
Meredith Calloway attended the Travel Age West | Travel Weekly Napa Valley Leadership Forum at Solage of the Auberge Resorts Collection in Calistoga, California. This is a two-day networking event includes various sessions and workshops filled with productive, forward-thinking conversations and relationship building. Of course, the added bonus of indulging in multiple wine tastings, winery tours, and amazing food all surrounded by some of the most beautiful scenery in Napa Valley.
Chief Executive Officer Jen Cochrane attended Virtuoso Chairmans Event in Taormina, Sicily. This is an invite-only event for Virtuoso's most engaged and productive member agencies, globally. In addition to recognizing those agencies for their production, the event is an opportunity for the leadership of those agencies to network with each other and with the Virtuoso leadership team. This year's event was hosted by three properties, the Four Seasons San Domenico Palace, the Belmond Grand Hotel Timeo, and the Belmond Villa Sant'Andrea, with optional tours and activities sponsored by Essence of Sicily, IC Bellagio, I.D.I Travel and Sicily Lifestyle. Sicily is a beautiful place with stunning vistas, a rich culture and amazing food and wine. The Mayor of Taormina and the town welcomed us with open arms — and a parade. It was the perfect locale for us to appreciate Virtuoso, our industry, our colleagues and our partners. I'm sure we all ate too much of the incredible cuisine, but great conversations and lots of laughter were abundant as well.
New York City, New York
Director of Partner Relations, Erica Whitaker was invited to attend the naming ceremony of Explora I, in New York City. We were docked overnight and we were able to experience the beauty of the ship, as well as enjoy the amazing restaurants onboard. I also had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Sylvia Earle, the world-renowned oceanographer, explorer, and conservationist who was named Explora I's godmother. This brand new ship is shaking up the industry and her journeys promiseD to be luxurious and truly special. I was honored to be among one of the first to experience this product.
Social Media & PR Coordinator, Lybbi Hebel led a group of seven GTN travel advisors on an exclusive FAM with Langham Hotel in Boston, Massachusetts. This gorgeous hotel is located right in the heart of the city in the Financial District, and was originally built in 1922 as Boston’s U.S. Federal Reserve Bank. After undergoing a $200M refurbishment, this property effortlessly showcases its historical background while maintaining the high standard of luxury that Langham is known for.
In addition to featuring this beautiful hotel, our hosts wanted to showcase some of what makes Boston such a wonderful destination! We spent the first night of this trip on a "Cocktails and Cannolis" walking tour of the North End where we learned about the history of the area while enjoying some delicious Italian fare. The next day, we got in the Halloween spirit with a day trip to Salem, MA. Our tour guide took us all through the city and showed us all the historical landmarks from the Salem Witch Trials while telling us all the stories and legends surrounding them.
Chief Sales & Marketing Officer Vanessa McGovern has been invited by Julia Simpson to attend the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) Global Summit in Kigali, Rwanda. She is eager to engage in tourism conversations at a global level as she is deeply, deeply passionate about the industry and the incredible role travel and tourism plays in our lives both locally and globally.
In addition to attending the Global Summit, the itinerary includes a day in Kigali to visit the Genocide Memorial and a Women's Cooperative. This trip also includes a small group experience hosted by Wilderness to trek with the gorillas and golden monkeys, where she will be accompanied by a very special group that includes Matthew Upchurch, CEO of Virtuoso Travel.