Virtuoso members in Canada are being celebrated as the “world’s finest” travel specialists as named experts on Travel + Leisure’s 21st annual “A-List.”
Announced Tuesday (Feb. 21), the prestigious list features 66 Virtuoso members, across multiple destinations and areas of specialization, including some Canadians.
“We are thrilled that Canadian advisors Kemi Wells of Wells Luxury Travel, as well as David Lowy and Jessica Renshaw of Renshaw Travel, were recognized by Travel + Leisure for their outstanding support of the luxury leisure traveller,” said Úna O’Leary, Virtuoso’s general manager for Canada, in a statement.
“The level of service, attention to detail and extensive expertise are at the heart of what they do every day to surprise and delight Canadian travellers. We congratulate them on this well-deserved recognition.”
Jacqui Gifford, editor in chief of Travel + Leisure, which is a New York City-based travel magazine, noted how this year’s list is featured in the publications access-themed March issue, which is designed to help readers “cut through the clutter as they plan their next getaway.”
“And, that’s exactly what our favourite experts excel at,” Gifford stated. “The 2023 A-List specialists serve up access to some of the very best experiences around the globe and offer personalized advice to help ensure your vacations are the very best they can be.”
Matthew D. Upchurch, Virtuoso’s chairman and CEO, said Virtuoso’s “decades-long prioritization of human connection has elevated the travellers’ experience and made the travel advisor a highly valued and respected profession."
He also thanked the team at Travel + Leisure for “recognizing so many Virtuosos and their ability to craft exceptional experiences, which are enhanced through interaction with our professionals.”
The Virtuoso travel advisors on Travel + Leisure’s A-List (by specialty) are:
Africa & Safaris:
Crisney Lane, Mosaic Safaris, an affiliate of Departure Lounge
Australia, New Zealand & the South Pacific:
Cassandra Bookholder, Camelback Odyssey Travel - a Direct Travel Company
Rob Clabbers, Q Cruise + Travel
Mary Ann Ramsey, Betty Maclean Travel, Inc.
Valerie Wilson, Valerie Wilson Travel, Inc.
Egypt & the Middle East:
Stephanie Fisher, Stephanie Fisher Travel, an affiliate of Huffman Travel
Malaka Hilton, Admiral Travel International, Inc.
Amalia Lazarov, an affiliate of Valerie Wilson Travel, Inc.
Ellen LeCompte, an affiliate of Travel Experts, Inc.
Rachel Shoemaker, Louisa White Travel, an affiliate of Gifted Travel Network
John Skelton, John Skelton Travels, LLC, an affiliate of Departure Lounge
Jim Strong, Strong Travel Services
Tesa Totengco, Travels with Tesa, an affiliate of Tafari Travel
Daria (Dasha) Westerfield, River Oaks Travel
United States, Canada & the Caribbean:
Jim Bendt, PIQUE Travel Design
Margie Hand, Andavo Travel
Jessica Renshaw, Renshaw Travel
Ragan Stone, Ragan Stone Travel, an affiliate of Departure Lounge
Air Travel Specialist:
Paul Tumpowsky, Skylark Travel Group, Inc.
Business Travel Specialist:
Jennifer Wilson-Buttigieg, Valerie Wilson Travel, Inc.
Destination Celebrations Specialists:
Jody Bear, an affiliate of Tzell Travel Group - New York
Kristin Chambers, TRAVELLUSTRE
Jack Ezon, EMBARK Beyond
Barkley Hickox, The Local Foreigner
Erina Pindar, SmartFlyer – Destination Celebrations & Private Travel Specialist
Entertainment and Sports Travel Specialist:
Linda Scroggins, Affluent Luxury Travel
Family Travel Specialists:
Laura Asilis, Travelwise, S.A.
Jessica Griscavage, Runway Travel, an affiliate of McCabe World Travel, Inc.
Christie Holmes, Global CommUnity, an affiliate of Departure Lounge
Julia B. Pirrung, an affiliate of Jetset World Travel
Carmen Teresa Targa, Condado Travel Inc.
Keith Waldon, Departure Lounge
Kimberly Wilson Wetty, Valerie Wilson Travel, Inc.
Betsy Donley, an affiliate of Camelback Odyssey Travel - a Direct Travel Company
Honeymoons and Weddings Specialists:
Josh Alexander, an affiliate of Protravel International - New York
Kara Bebell & Harlan deBell, The Travel Siblings – Honeymoons & Destination Weddings Specialists
Kristen Korey Pike, KK Travels Worldwide – Honeymoons and Weddings Specialist
Kemi Wells, Wells Luxury Travel – Honeymoon and Celebration Travel Specialist
LGBTQ Travel Specialists:
John Clifford, an affiliate of Montecito Village Travel – LGBTQ Travel Specialist
David Rubin, DavidTravel, an affiliate of Coastline Travel Advisors – LGBTQ Travel Specialist
Luxury Rails Specialist:
Eleanor Flagler Hardy, The Society of International Railway Travelers
Over-The-Top Trips Specialist:
Judy Stein, The Stein Collective, an affiliate of SmartFlyer
Private Travel Specialist:
David Lowy, Renshaw Travel
Wine and Gastronomy Specialist:
Michelle Murré, an affiliate of Travel Experts, Inc.
The complete Travel + Leisure A-List is available here.