VL97_COVERTo kick off the new year, the January/February issue of Virtuoso Life spotlights the people, places, and products that promise to change the way you travel. In these pages, you’ll find articles on emerging destinations; new technology and trends in hotels, airports, and even luggage; and initiatives to make sustainable travel standard operating procedure.

2whereivebeenAs the issue began to take shape, I recognized a common theme: passion. We interviewed some fascinating people in various industries whose travels inspired them to start charities, become stewards of the planet, raise global citizens, build a better suitcase, and more. They’re passionate about what they do, why they do it, and who they do it for – and they’re passionate about travel. They travel for inspiration, for connection, for perspective – and even though most of us may think we’re just traveling for vacation, we, too, find those things when we get out of our own backyards.

Another common theme: the planet. Sustainability is more than a mere buzzword – the United Nations has declared 2017 the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development. As Virtuoso’s director of sustainability, Costas Christ, will tell you, it’s not just about saving the environment; it’s about protecting the culture and heritage of the places we visit – and recognizing the enormous economic impact of doing so. Virtuoso has long advocated for responsible tourism, and now that passion is getting personal: Virtuoso CEO Matthew Upchurch and his family have set out on a quest to walk the walk with their family vacations this year – and beyond. Read about their first trip, to The Brando in French Polynesia, on page 42.

So what’s your passion? We hope this issue inspires you to find ways – and places – to celebrate it in the year ahead.

Elaine Srnka
Editorial Director, Virtuoso

Where I’ve been: Paris
Top photo: My husband and I, with Dorchester COO François Delahaye, receive a warm welcome at Hôtel Plaza Athénée; the Pompadour Suite at Le Meurice; and agency executive Donna Guttman, Virtuoso Marketing SVP Terrie Hansen, and me with Michelin-starred chef Christian Le Squer.