It was a very busy Saturday at the Javits Center in New York City as travel suppliers from around the globe presented their best for the upcoming year at the New York Times Travel Show. After collecting my badge, I headed to the southeast corner of the floor and jumped right in.
My first notable stop was the Context Travel booth. I was first introduced to Context Travel during Benji Lanyado’s TwiTrip to Paris (a trip based entirely on live tweeted tips and suggestions), but I didn’t realize what they offered. Petulia Melideo, of Context Travel, explained how they offer scholar-led walks in Paris, Rome, London and a bunch of other cities. All of the walks are led by professors or graduate students who possess deep knowledge of the walk’s topic and have experience teaching that topic.
Next, I met Hande from Hello Tourism Turkey. We had a very nice chat about everything Turkey. When I mentioned that Kaş was a favorite of ours, she flashed a big smile. She immediately started digging through her briefcase to find and present me with a tiny flier for a little villa in Fethiye that a friend of hers owns. Hande also mentioned that her friend has a water taxi and can take us around wherever we liked. This looks like a hidden gem.
By this point, the expo had become very crowded so I avoided the center of the show and headed to the opposite side of the expo. Here I found the booth of GoPhilanthropic. GoPhilanthropic is a company that combines travel philanthropy and sustainable travel. For more on this interesting travel company, read my interview with company rep Lydia Dean.
Located just across the aisle was Adventure Society, a New York City social organization and tour operator focused on providing a diverse range of activities for the outdoor and social enthusiast. I had a nice chat with Serena Walker, Chief Adventure Seeker, about their local day and extended weekend trips geared toward singles and couples.
I noticed that only a handful of companies were booking live at the show. Liberty Travel had six travel agent booking stations and they were all absolutely jammed until about 4:30pm. In addition to booking, they had a few sales agents reviewing detailed travel information with attendees at multiple computer stations. I would think any company that had a booth, but wasn’t booking live, may have missed an opportunity.
Overall, the highlight for me was meeting so many interesting people at the show. From the folks mentioned above, to Boris from one of the Croatia booths who invited me to join him for a drive down the Croatian coast in his Porsche, meeting people who share my passion for travel is something I always find rewarding.