Trade, Consumers & Suppliers Meet At Vancouver International Travel Expo

with Ming Tappin

Agents were able to spend time with suppliers ahead of the consumers at the VIT Expo. 

125 exhibitors representing all facets of travel were on hand to meet with agents & consumers.

Travel topics ranging from photography, social media & supplier presentations were featured.

Sharleen Dickson of Travel Masters (L) visited with Azmina Pirani of Bestway Tours & Safaris.

Vancouver hosted a travel show for trade and consumers last week in an attempt to relive the days of the beloved Addison Show that used to run yearly in the city. Named the Vancouver International Travel Expo, the show ran 23 & 24SEP at the Convention Centre and included 125 exhibitors.

Agents were invited to attend the show ahead of consumers on Friday afternoon. While this was a good idea for the trade to have one-on-one opportunities with suppliers, the timing was perhaps inopportune as it was scheduled from noon to 5 p.m. Attendance as a result was sparse. 

Yet those who came out - myself included - found it to be very worthwhile. There was a great selection of suppliers ranging from airlines to hotels, tour operators, tourist boards and cruise lines. Seminars featuring social media, photography and supplier presentations were available in 2 separate areas. For agents who don't have the opportunity to attend individual trade events, this was definitely a good chance to see everyone at one venue.

Travel Masters agent Sharleen Dickson was also very glad she came to the show. She was able to catch up on the latest news & offerings and also meet company execs from her preferred suppliers. Sharleen actually felt that she was able to have quality conversations with each supplier without being overwhelmed by crowds.

Although I did not attend the consumer portion, suppliers I spoke with after the show had mixed feelings. Some found it to be very successful with ample consumer interest, while others wished it was busier. One supplier lamented that, with so much travel information now readily available online, perhaps the days of attending a general travel show are now behind us. I would agree that while the next generation of travellers might be researching online, there are still consumers out there wanting face time with suppliers and take home brochures.

Having to pay for admission might also have affected attendance, although it came with a chance to win a bevy of prices including hotel nights, resort vacations, a cruise and lavish safari trips. 

As with any 1st time event, there are notable achievements, lessons learned and ideas for improvements. Kudos certainly go to Show Manager Steve Klein for his enthusiastic effort. The show is already slated to return next year at a larger venue. I am hopeful that Steve and his team will employ their best practices to generate higher attendance and develop a successful show in the future.

Ming with Clarie Rottare of Insight Vacations.

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