A record number of travel agents and consumers attended the Vancouver International Travel Expo on Sept. 29 and 30 at the Vancouver Convention Centre along the city’s waterfront.
Attendance was up 50 per cent over last year with more than 430 agents attending the special trade-only hours plus the consumer hours. About 6,200 consumers also visited the 203 exhibitor booths.
Featured exhibitors included Taiwan and Fiji, both new to the show, plus India, who hosted a large contingent of both Canadian and Indian tour operators. There were also a number of Caribbean islands, including Turks & Caicos and Jamaica exhibiting for the first time.
Filling the void left by the demise of travel agent trade shows, the VIT Expo grew from grassroots interest by both agents and suppliers.
“Several people said ‘can you put on a show? It’s been five years since there’s been a travel agent show’,” said Steve Klein, show manager. “When we started to talk to exhibitors, they said they’d would love to have a show, but wanted consumers as well.”
This year’s show also featured a full schedule of presentations from two theatre stages that included talks by destinations, cruise lines, hotels and tour operators for the trade, as well as photography workshops and travelogues aimed at consumers, plus the Travel Video Theatre with films of destinations around the world.
Prize draws included trips to South Africa and India, plus a Celebrity cruise, and camera packages.
The next Vancouver International Travel Expo is already scheduled for Sept. 28 and 29, 2018.