Flight Centre Travel Group's Independent Division has successfully concluded its inaugural Independent Icons trip, uniting independent travel agency owners and mobile advisors from Canada, the USA, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa.
The voyage featured 71 agents from 55 agencies and 11 representatives from nine suppliers, sailing the Danube aboard the SS Beatrice with Uniworld’s CEO Ellen Bettridge.
Over four nights, attendees experienced a curated celebration, commencing with champagne toasts and a white-themed evening starting in Budapest, followed by exploring the rich history of Bratislava and culminating in Vienna at a "A Touch of Gold" farewell soiree.
The trip left an indelible mark on the participants, with Julie Smigadis of Travel Our World expressing her gratitude for the invaluable experience and global networking opportunities,
“What an incredible experience getting the chance to meet the top agency owners from around the globe!” Smigadis said in a release. What company provides such a valuable experience to its independent agents? Being able to network and bounce ideas off successful colleagues from different parts of the world is a true game changer for my business mindset. I was lucky enough to connect with so many people that can further the reach of my own business here in Canada from both a colleague and supplier perspective. Uniworld was a class act and treated us like absolute Icons from start to finish.”
Adam Taylor, another attendee, highlighted the significance of sharing successes and challenges with colleagues from around the world, emphasizing the positive impact on his business mindset.
“Meeting colleagues from other businesses, and celebrating our success was just what I needed. Discussing what was working and perhaps not working in their market allowed me to take a step back and see everyone has something that may not be perfect in their area of the Globe. We certainly have some things to be thankful for. Uniworld delivered an incredible experience and look forward to working together with them on behalf of my clients," Taylor said.
Supplier partners, including TTC Tour Brands Australia and The Inclusive Collection, also lauded the event, with Andrew Young praising the lineup of entrepreneurs and expressing commitment to shared success.
“It’s a formidable lineup of entrepreneurs and small business guns you’ve assembled, and we stand with you, side by side, on a shared journey to new heights,” Young said.
The Icons were treated to special experiences, such as a Be My Guest event at Schieszl Winery, courtesy of Trafalgar, where attendees enjoyed wine tasting in the family’s 300-year-old wine cellar and enjoying hearty Hungarian fare, utilizing the produce grown on the land as well as a generous three-night stay from The Inclusive Collection, Part of the World of Hyatt for all advisor attendees.
Building on the success of Icons, the team has announced the planting of 1963 trees—a carbon offset equivalent of 322 tons—in collaboration with Trees4Travel and our sustainability sponsor, Allianz Global Assistance.
As the trip concluded, Anita Emilio, VP & GM of Luxury, and Independent Brands in Canada, extended her gratitude, emphasizing the celebration of partnerships and successes over the past year.
“As we reflect on the success of the Independent Icons trip, we're not just celebrating a journey; we're honouring the dedication and collaborative spirit of our Independent agency owners and suppliers. This incredible experience stands as a testament to their hard work, and I extend my heartfelt gratitude to our supplier sponsors who made it all possible. The Independent Icons trip has forged a dynamic platform for engagement, networking, and mutual learning. Plans are already in motion for next year's edition, promising even greater opportunities for growth, connection, and shared success,” Emilio stated.