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100 delegates descended on Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam at the end of October for CT Partners’ much anticipated Annual Business Meeting. Traditionally held each year at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Bangkok, the new location and a revised meeting format resulted in high excitement and energy levels between a record number of CT Partners’ members, 33 preferred supplier partners, and ATIA CEO Dean Long.

The theme of Transform was tackled during panel discussions, member breakout sessions and partner and keynote presentations, touching on a wide range of topics including distribution changes, AI adoption, generational booking patterns and outsourcing of talent.

A new speed dating format was introduced on the second day to allow one-on-one member and supplier meetings, allowing for an improved level of dialogue and engagement between businesses and resulting in a palpable buzz in the Park Hyatt Saigon ballroom.

Other highlights included acknowledging some of the important people who made CT Partners what it is today. There were heartfelt speeches from several members remembering the life and contribution of Bev Cohen, of Wentworth Travel and a founding member of CT Partners, who passed away earlier in the year. The Ian Edwards Award for the most supportive and fun-to-do-business-with supplier partner was awarded by popular choice to Rosanna Piaggio, National Agency Sales Manager of Singapore Airlines.

Jimmy Pham, founder of KOTO, provided a moving keynote, talking about his Hanoi based social enterprise providing disadvantaged young adults a second chance in life through hospitality and life skills training. Jimmy talked about the establishment of KOTO and the rewards and challenges of transforming more than 1700 lives for Vietnamese trainees over the past 24 years.

Following Jimmy’s keynote, ten KOTO trainees who were flown down to Saigon for the occasion, joined Jimmy on stage and received a trademark CT Partners ‘rockstar’ welcome. CT Partners later announced their intention to sponsor a KOTO trainee for the duration of their 2-year training programme.

Delegates then took part in a number of off-site experiences, including a Saigon Immersion challenge to discover District 1, a speedboat trip up the Saigon river to a glamorous evening event at The Deck, and a final night Gala Dinner hosted at the historic Reunification Palace, former headquarters of the South Vietnamese government, which was decked out in 60’s vintage Saigon memorabilia.

The post-event feedback was phenomenal. Judy Tanner from Aurora Travel said. “It was really uplifting. When you are a small business owner you tend to spend lots of time making sure your team and clients are feeling great but it isn’t often that someone “pumps our tyres up” I really needed that before I left for Vietnam and I am pleased to say the content and the spirit of conference really did pump me up!!”

A senior Airline Executive commented, “The CT Partners annual business meeting is always a totally worthwhile investment of our time and resources. The number of members who attend and actively engage on a business and personal level makes it an industry standout…. in fact, the industry standout! We feel like part of the CT Partners team and that makes our partnership even more special and rewarding as it is true teamwork and results in the best business outcomes for all”

CT Partners CEO Matt Masson, commented, “We were excited to be able to host this meeting in as vibrant and inspiring a destination as Ho Chi Minh City. A huge thank you to all our supplier partners for their support, and a special mention to Singapore Airlines, our major sponsor. We continue to cement our reputation as a trusted and respected partner of choice for our members, and those valued industry partners we choose to work with.”