Uniting Top Travel Talent Aboard Uniworld’s S.S. Beatrice. FCI Icons Event Marks New Era for Independent Travel Consultants
JOHANNESBURG, 14 November 2023 – Flight Centre Independent (FCI) is pleased to announce the successful conclusion of its inaugural global FCI Icons event, a historic convening of top performers from Flight Centre Travel Group’s Independent businesses worldwide.
The event took place aboard Uniworld’s S.S. Beatrice from 1 to 4 November 2023, sailing from Budapest to Vienna. A total of 76 travel advisors and agency owners representing 55 independent agencies from South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, the USA, and Canada came together to celebrate their achievements and to network, share knowledge, and learn from each other, as well as from FCI’s main suppliers and the global leadership team.
Allie Sparrs, FCI’s Global Head of Brand and Marketing spoke about the event’s significance. She noted the full attendance from top agencies and being honoured with the presence of Ellen Bettridge, Uniworld’s CEO, for the entire trip. Danielle Galloway, Global Managing Director, FCTG Independent and Premium Divisions, was also onboard, making it a truly international gathering of travel trade talent and leadership.
The exclusive event brought together an impressive group of sponsors including Uniworld, TTC Tour Brands, Adventure World, Lindblad Expeditions, Cover More, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Expedia TAAP, and the Inclusive Collection, part of World of Hyatt. This created valuable opportunities for networking and education. Other sponsors who supported the event virtually were Intrepid, AAT Kings, Back Roads Touring, and Norwegian Cruise Line.
Attendees enjoyed exclusive experiences like Trafalgar’s Be My Guest luncheon at Schieszl Winery and an unforgettable silent disco after-party hosted by Singapore Airlines, complete with SQ business class pyjamas.
“The Inclusive Collection, part of the World of Hyatt, also generously provided all agents with a three-night stay at one of their properties, showcasing the recognition bestowed upon all the agents, not just the ‘icons’, throughout this special event,” said Sparrs.
One of the FCI Top Performers who attended, Gary De Sa, called it an “unforgettable trip”. He highlighted “being exposed to interesting and unique offerings from sponsors, to meeting and engaging with many of our peers from around the world and all of that while being spoiled rotten aboard the S.S Beatrice!” Another Top Performer, Ane Steyn, echoed this sentiment, expressing gratitude for the memories created with colleagues and suppliers from five continents. Wendy Murray, shared the sense of privilege felt by all, noting the importance of being able to spend time with colleagues from across the globe.
“It’s always good to know people in other countries if you ever need assistance with a destination or supplier in their country. It was also great to find out how their business works and what clients they have. Our suppliers were just great. We were treated like royalty for the entire time,” said Murray.
The FCI Icons event not only celebrated achievement but also underscored FCTG’s commitment to sustainability, with carbon emissions offset through a partnership with Allianz and Trees4Travel, aiming for a 100% carbon-neutral event.
As General Manager of Flight Centre Independent Brands, Chantal Gouws reflected: “As we look back on the success of our first FCI Icons trip, we are immensely proud of the experience created for our top performers. Their dedication is what makes FCI the extraordinary network it is today.”
The FCI team looks ahead to the 2024 Icons event, with plans to continue setting new benchmarks for excellence, recognition and rewards in the travel industry worldwide.
The next Icons destination was unveiled on the final night at this year’s event. The Maldives will be the tropical backdrop where FCI’s top-selling agents from 2023 will be recognized and rewarded for their outstanding sales results during an exclusive trip next year.
FCI would like to extend an enormous thank you to all the sponsors. Without them, this event would not be possible.
2024 Icons destination reveal video: https://youtu.be/SsHa_qoAdso
Kim Taylor, Big Ambitions
Phone: +27 (0)76 825 5508
About Flight Centre and FCTG Independent
After starting with one shop in the early 1980s, Flight Centre Travel Group (FCTG) (ASX:FLT), has enjoyed remarkable growth to become a $20 billion business consisting of more than 30 brands. One of the world’s largest travel agency groups, it has company-owned operations in 23 countries and a corporate travel management network that spans more than 90 countries. FCTG was listed on the Australian Securities Exchange in 1995 (ASX: FLT). Flight Centre Travel Group employs more than 11,000 people globally.
FCTG Independent is a global network of over 1,400 independent travel agents and agencies across the USA, Canada, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand.