World-class speakers, exclusive access, breathtaking settings, networking opportunities, along with record attendance – all were key parts of the success of the 2010 Virtuoso Symposium in Mexico City.

The highlight of the Opening Session was a surprise speech by President Felipe Calderón of Mexico (pictured left). President Calderón spoke for 15 minutes, then held a Q&A session with attendees. “We want to put our country in the hands of your clients,” he said. “The government and our citizens are ready to serve with open arms as we say, ‘This is where your home is.’ ”

More than 100 media attended and a picture of President Calderón with the Virtuoso logo behind him was featured in all the major newspapers in Mexico City the next day.

“The Affluent Client Now” was the theme explored by Virtuoso’s top Members and Suppliers at the network’s 30th annual leadership forum.

“Virtuoso’s annual Symposium represents one of our contributions to help improve global tourism through thoughtful and responsible actions,” said Virtuoso CEO Matthew Upchurch. “We invite tourism thought-leaders from various Industry segments and countries to discuss and better understand the key issues facing us today and in the future. This year, we are proud to bring this important event to Mexico and lead by example.”

Upchurch emphasized that Virtuoso wanted to show its support to Mexico in the aftermath of significant challenges to the country’s tourism industry, such as H1N1 and drug-related violence.

In addition to discussions about affluent travel, Symposium featured a series of memorable events at exclusive venues, including Wednesday’s dinner at Las Alcobas, a newly opened Virtuoso property. Attendees enjoyed an exquisite dinner in a restaurant that is still four weeks away from its public opening.

Thursday’s Welcome Reception at the St. Regis – Mexico City featured a special guest: Arturo Sarukhan, Mexico’s ambassador to the United States. Friday, attendees lunched at a private hacienda rarely allowed to be used for events. Friday night’s dinner at historic Vizcainis had attendees speechless as they saw the courtyard illuminated by thousands of candles.

Saturday’s dinner was held at the Franz Mayer Museum, where attendees dined in a beautiful courtyard. And Sunday’s lunch was held at an authentic charreada (Mexican rodeo).

The final night gala dinner at the National Museum of Anthropology was held in an area that has only hosted one other event, a dinner for President Obama last year. Attendees were welcomed by Rodolfo Lopez Negrete, CEO of the Mexico Tourism Board. The world-renowned National Folkloric Ballet entertained guests.

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