Once a year, hundreds of travel professionals and travel lovers assemble in New York at the cavernous Javits Convention Center to attend the New York Times Travel Show. Featuring a vast trade show floor of exhibitors ranging from destinations to tour operators, travel associations to luggage suppliers, the show gets bigger (or as they say in New York, biggah) every year.
This year there were over 150 booths and some 30,000 attendees including the Friday trade-only day, supplemented by hordes of consumers over the weekend.
The exhibitors were a fascinating combination from around the world, from the massive Brazil booth to the long lineup of Caribbean exhibitors and pretty much every cruise line you can name, to many smaller, more surprising destinations including Rwanda and Chernobyl. That’s correct, Chernobyl.
As well as the massive trade show area there were ongoing seminars. Amongst the array of talks, consumers (and agents) could learn all about Arctic travel, how to make the most of a trip to Rome, how to save money on cruises, what makes Guatemala so charming and how to make Japanese candy.
And the Friday Professional Development sessions for the trade, which included a huge number of home-based agent attendees, were excellent. I attended sessions on large-ship cruise trends; how to be a better travel agent; and one about how an American adventure tour operator is incorporating attitudes of kindness and gratitude into his itineraries.
Other sessions for the trade included panel discussions on destination weddings, culinary tourism, family travel, wellness and spas and luxury travel. The panel participants were no slouches either: the large ship cruising panel included VPs and Senior VPs from CLIA, NCL, HAL, Carnival and MSC.
Yes, it’s an investment to go to The Big Apple. But there’s no equivalent to the NYT show in Canada and I’d strongly recommend it for any agent looking for one-stop shopping on destination info, valuable professional development and – perhaps most important of all – the chance to make face-to-face contact with suppliers from around the world.
Stay tuned for Part 2 -- Trends revealed at the New York Times Travel Show. Prepare to be surprised!
Martha Chapman Columnist
An OJ columnist since 2006, Martha is responsible for the Biting Questions features as well as special seasonal series. A travel industry lifer known to all in the biz, she frequently covers industry events for Open Jaw.