NEW YORK -- Before cutting the ceremonial ribbon on Monday at Valerie Wilson
Travel's new office at 605 Third Ave., founder and CEO Valerie Wilson said her
company's 10.5-year lease at the space was an indicator of the health of the
"Signing a ten-and-a-half-year lease at this stage in
time when everybody starts talking about whether a travel agent or advisor is still
going to be around, we made the decision we would be around 11 years from today
and longer," Wilson said.
For 33 years, the company was headquartered at 475 Park Ave.
South. Finding a new home, which it officially moved into in February, was a
"I was relatively reluctant to leave the building,"
Wilson said to laughs, especially from daughters Kimberly Wilson Wetty and
Jennifer Wilson-Buttigieg, both co-owners and co-presidents of the company. "Jennifer
and Kimberly said, 'Well, let's go looking in New York City and see what we can
find. So two years ago, we started looking downtown to uptown to west side to
east side, and we settled on 605 Third, and I want to say I'm thrilled with the
The office is outfitted with new furniture with the
exception of some chairs "and my office," Wilson quipped.
Wilson-Buttigieg took a moment to reflect on her mother's
legacy in the travel industry and, specifically, luxury travel.
Wilson was a "pioneer" in the luxury space,
Wilson-Buttigieg said. When she first started in the industry more than 30
years ago, Ritz-Carlton hadn't yet been formed. Four Seasons only had two
hotels. American Airlines had just started its frequent-flyer program.
"Val, you are an icon in this industry, and one to be
reckoned with every day of the week," Wilson-Buttigieg said.
Wilson Wetty thanked Valerie Wilson Travel's employees, whom
she said make the company a home.
"You are the ones who make Valerie Wilson Travel truly
what it is, and this home is your home for the future," she said.