January 30, 2018

Until this past weekend, I'd never been to the New York Times Travel Show before and was very excited to represent Off Season Adventures. Friday's itinerary consisted of panel discussion on various topics, while Saturday and Sunday were open to the public for them to walk around and get inspired about their next destination. As soon as I walked through the doors that morning, into the hundreds of people and under the towering ceiling, I knew it was going to be a fantastic time.

I began the day with a panel discussion focusing on Africa. There were great tips on specialty and niche excursions in many of the countries, as well as a speech from a vlogger, World Wide Nate and his recent African Adventures. Panelists included Sunit Sanghrajka from Alluring Africa, Wazha Dube from Index Africa and Young Travel Professionals, and Lloyd Murray from Palace Travel. The biggest takeaway from the panel was that Africa is accessible and not as foreign as people may think. It is the perfect destination for families and travelers looking for a unique experience.

The day continued with the Keynote Address, the State of the Travel Industry. Top leaders in the tourism industry, from tour operators to airlines, spoke optimistically about travel statistics in both 2017 and looked forward to another great year in 2018. They also declared it the "Year of the Travel Agent".

Next, I made my way to the Latin America panel where I heard from Julian Guerrero Orozco from ProColombia, Nick Stanziano from SA Expeditions, MaSovaida Morgan from Lonely Planet, and Alejandro Castro Alfaro from the Costa Rica Tourism Board. This panel was refreshing because of the focus on sustainability. Ecotourism efforts in Colombia, Costa Rica, and Peru are at an all-time high and it was fascinating how these three organizations are moving in the right direction.

Day two had two main highlights: the "Sustainable and Socially Conscious Travel" panel and the sheer number of people! Beginning the morning with the panel was a great, positive start to the day. Darrell Hartman from Jungles in Paris, Kat Lo from Eaton Hotels, and Mark Lakin from Epic Road brought such insight to the social aspect of sustainability. It was great to hear from companies and individuals that are putting so much thought into how they interact with local communities, although I thought that a deeper conversation about environmental sustainability was needed.

I wrapped up the day by weaving around the booths-- the crown jewel of the Travel Show. Thousands of people filtered in and out of the Center throughout the day to see more than five hundred booths. So many countries were represented by these booths from every continent. Fortunately for you, I've now made a few great contacts, so stay tuned for Off Season Adventures' next destination!