Our 2023 European Travel Agent Forum was a success! Senigallia truly gave us a warm welcome, and we could tell how much pride they have in their region.
The TravelSMG team first traveled into Rome to meet up and try to shake off the jet lag. We walked the city streets, enjoyed some good food … and before we knew it it was the next day and we made our way into Senigallia. We did stop along the way at Todini Winery for a tour and a tasting. This stop was exactly what we needed!
Before we knew it we were at our home for the next few days – beautiful Senigallia. Senigallia is a seaside town in the Marche region of Italy overlooking the Adriatic Sea. Landmarks of the city include the Rocca Roveresca, the Palazzo Ducale and the Rotonda a Mare. The city is surrounded by ancient villages and fascinating landscapes and offers the opportunity to taste the flavors and traditions of local gastronomy.
TravelSMG work continued the next morning when we met up with the Senigallia team to ensure the Rotonda and Finis Africae were set up and ready for the event itself.
Setup continued on Sunday 11/12 with the final touches being put into place before registration opened up at noon. We were so excited to welcome our Delegates and our Supplier Partners. After registration wrapped up it was then time to head to Foro Annonario for the official welcome reception.
Everyone was treated to a wine tasting from the Marche region plus incredible food. And to top it all off, cultural association L’esteticaw Dell’effimero (The Aesthetics of the Ephemeral) performed a beautiful historical dance reenactment in authentic Italian dress of the time.
The next morning the event officially kicked off at the Rotonda a Mare with our Welcome Session. We were joined by Senigallia Mayor Massimo Olivetti who welcomed us warmly.
The Delegates then separated into their 2 groups. One group headed over to Finis Africae for One-to-One Meetings. The other group stayed at the Rotunda for the start of the educational presentations. Inside Marche Live gave everyone an in-depth look at the Marche Region. From historical tours to amazing caves – the Marche region offers something for every type of traveler.
After our immersion into the Marche region we were then transported to Croatia by Zvonimir Androic (“Z”) from Via Croatia. Via Croatia is a full-service luxury DMC that works exclusively with travel agents. Delegates not only learned about the beautiful area, but also more about the itineraries and boat charters through Via Croatia.
For the afternoon both Delegate Groups swapped places. One group hopped on a bus and headed back to the Rotunda to take part in the Inside Marche Live and Via Croatia presentations. And, the other half made the journey over to Finis Africae for their first one-to-one meetings.
What are one-to-one meetings? They are the backbone of our smaller niche events and portfolio. Forming these relationships is crucial to both parties in having a successful career in the travel industry. These are mutual interest meetings where Suppliers can talk personally with the Advisors who will be selling their product. And Advisors can ask questions directly to the Supplier – giving them a greater confidence to sell that product to their client base.
The evening wrapped up with dinner (and more amazing wines!) at the beautiful TreCastelli Resort. We were treated to more cultural immersion with drumming and flag performances by Sbandieratori Tamburi Araba Fenice.
The next morning the 2 delegate groups were again split for the day. One group started the day off with another round of educational sessions. Archy from Globus Brands taught us about the company’s full offering. And Touring Balkan taught us how to travel like locals across the Balkan region. The other group during this morning timeframe enjoyed another round of one-to-one-meetings. And after lunch – you guessed it – the delegate groups swapped places again.
Hard to imagine our time in Senigallia was coming to a close. Our last evening reception gala was at Cantina Langelina. Not only did we watch pasta being made before dinner but after dinner there was live music and a little dancing. Everyone who helped bring this event to Senigallia spoke briefly about the event and its importance. And, things ended with a bang with a sparkler filled cake cutting and fireworks. An unforgettable experience for everyone involved.
And just like that, the European Travel Agent Forum came to an end. But rest assured core memories were made. Friendships were forged. Partnerships were developed. It was our most successful ETAF event yet. We can’t wait to start planning for next year!