Photo by Brian Summers
From left, Greg Sullivan, cofounder of AFAR; Victoria Houle, Director of Development at Planeterra; and David Harris, President of Ensemble at Ensemble’s annual conference
The 2019 conference theme was Travel with Purpose.
At Ensemble’s annual conference, new CEO David Harris announced that after more than 50 years in business, the company celebrated its best year in 2018. This year preferred supplier sales from members will eclipse $1.4 billion, which represents 8 percent year-over-year growth.
The conference theme this year was “Travel with Purpose.” Susan Mercredi, owner of Top of the World Travel, called it an extremely inspiring conference, with programming designed to make you think about what that really means. “It was great to hear from suppliers making positive changes to ensure we are delivering tourism responsibly,” she said.
Harris brought new energy to the show. “I have known David for many years as a fellow agency owner, and admired him for his integrity, strong work ethic, vision, and most importantly, the time he makes for people,” says Mercredi. “I am very happy with the direction he is leading the team and the shareholders.”
Ensemble also announced a groundbreaking partnership with Cool Effect, including the consortia’s purchase of travel offsets for all attendee flights to attend the conference. The partnership enables Ensemble members to offset their clients’ flights quickly and easily using its Offset Tool. Ensemble also awarded its first-ever Purpose Awards to G Adventures, Air New Zealand, the Travel Corporation, and Lindblad Expeditions.
AFAR cofounder and CEO Greg Sullivan spoke to attendees about Learning AFAR, AFAR Media’s scholarship and travel program. “I loved hearing about the travel scholarships AFAR provides and how this program puts young people that would not be able to experience it otherwise into a new and different culture to learn and grow outside their comfort zone,” says Terri Jo Lennox, president of Travel Time.
“I was really impressed by Ensemble’s theme of Travel with Purpose and how it permeated most everything at the conference,” says Sullivan. “People rose to the challenge to explain how what they are doing is contributing to the world and to continue to think how we can do better. My hat is off to Ensemble as an organization for leading this conversation and contributing in their own ways, such as through their impressive carbon offset program with Cool Effect and their large contribution to Make-A-Wish.”
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