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Virtuoso 2008 in Athens

The annual conference of travel organization “Virtuoso” was held at the Hotel Grand Bretagne in Athens from February 28 to March 3rd. Members of the elite travel industry, established tour operators, travel agents and providers met in Athens last month to discuss the latest trends, challenges, possibilities and future of luxury travel. The conference was invitation-only with a total capacity of 350 delegates.

The conference is unique in its field and amongst its guests were managing directors of the most exclusive hotels, resorts, spas, cruise ships, yacht charter suppliers and tour operators along with the owners and executives of the most established luxury travel offices worldwide, notably from the United States, Canada, South America, Australia and New Zealand. Delegates followed a series of presentations from specialists in the field and were treated to a variety of events around Athens so as to discover the city from all angles.

Managing director of Virtuoso, Matthew Upchurch, said: “The uniqueness of the hotel and destination we choose every year is a trademark of the conference concept.” He explained, “Athens belongs to a list of destinations, one that includes Lake Como, Vienna, Cairo, Singapore, Cambodia and St. Petersburg, and our aim is to present this city to our delegates in the most unique way.” Mr. Upchurch asserted, “Although Athens is famous for its port from which one escapes to the Greek islands, we would like to show just how much more this city has to offer.”

Virtuoso tour operators were offered a tour of the new Acropolis Museum and were received by Minister of Culture Michael Liapis. The five-day conference included a visit to the Byzantine Estate, Arion Resort & Spa (also a member of The Luxury Collection chain) and day trip to the island of Ydra.

In Ydra, Virtuoso representatives were particularly impressed with the participation of the mayor, local authority and island residents in the traditional feast organized in honor of the conference delegates.

“Greece A La Carte” full service destination management company was responsible for the transportation of the delegates and arrangement of events beyond the conference.

Virtuoso is one of the world’s leading leisure travel networks. It is a by-invitation-only organization comprised of more than 6,000 elite travel advisors associated with over 300 agencies in 22 countries in North and South America, the Caribbean, Australia and New Zealand, as well as over 1,000 of the world’s best travel providers and premier destinations.

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