In only two years with Travel Agent, I’ve been to more trade shows than I can remember and will be the first to tell you that some are just a plain old waste of time— mainly because they simply aren’t organized well. I will not being saying any such thing about this year's TravelMart Latin America, or any TravelMart Latin America I’ve attended for that matter.
Nearly 200 staffers in Ecuador have been given the sole duty of making sure the show runs smoothly, and evidence was apparent when we landed in Quito. Before clearing customs, we visited a TravelMart booth that was set up for all attendees on my LAN Airlines flight from JFK International Airport. We were given passes at the booth to enter an express line to clear customs. Once we did, not just one, but five TravelMart representatives met us and waited for us to claim our bags before immeditaley shooting us to our hotel. Now, the show isn’t over yet so hopefully I haven’t jinxed it but I’m pretty confident I’ll be able to say this was perhaps the most sufficiently organized show I’ve attended in my time with Travel Agent.
“They get it,” Bill Coleman, creator of TravelMart told us, referring to the swift members of the Ecuador Tourism Board. And, according to Coleman, it’s not a fluke. In fact, every host destination begins ironing out all details of the show the day they are named as the host. Patagonia, Chile, next year's host, has already begun laying down the specifics from security to buses to hotel accomodations, Coleman says. Last year's TravelMart in Cartagena, Colombia was also impressive and well run.
It’s no surprise why the event continues to outdo itself every year, increasing the number of buyers and sellers annually. It’s no surprise that 50-70 supplier companies need to get on a waiting list every year. And it will also be no surprise when you see yours truly in Patagonia, Chile around September of next year.