We’ve been a fan of the New York Times Travel Show for awhile now, and have been a media partner for the last several years. We were thrilled to team up with them again this year and recently headed to the East Coast for their annual event held at at the Jacob Javits Center in Manhattan.
One of the reasons we love this show so much is that they truly do draw a diverse and extensive number of vendors from around the world, centered around tourism and everything that tourism includes such as cruising, adventure treks, cultural events, food and wine destinations, festivals, luxury resorts & spas, safaris, water activities, tours & expeditions, wellness centers and yoga retreats. You name it, if you have an interest, there’s a vendor who can share with you the latest and greatest in your preferred category.
Longevity is another reason to love this show. Not only do we meet new people and learn new things about cultures, even in countries where we’ve traveled or lived, we also run into old friends from the industry and they’re consistently there year after year. They have built an incredible community with vendors as well as with the press and bloggers who show up every January to scour the exhibit hall and meet one-on-one with marketing folks at the International Media Marketplace (IMM), which is always held the day before the show kicks off.
The Show Floor at the New York Times Travel Show
Incredible India was a presenting sponsor and our own state California went all out this year as a Gold Sponsor, together with South Africa, who always has a big booth every year. Other sponsors included Abu Dhabi, Allianz Travel, Greece, MSC Cruises, Visit Florida, Hungary, Cayman Islands, Georgia, I Love New York, Israel, Puglia and a host of others.
I always have a blast going from section to section, particularly since I’ve been to every continent except for Antarctica and have lived in a dozen countries. Seeing the images and talking to locals bring you back to memory lane, so for a few hours, you can relive all the best things you loved about a particular destination. Best of all, I always learn something new — always!
In the Asia section, we hung out in the Philippines, Japan, China, South Korea, Indonesia (who wouldn’t want to go to a yoga retreat in Bali?) and India. We loved learning about the new routes through Japan of the Tobu Railway which we hope to review sometime this year.
So many colors, so many tastes, so many textures, so much….fun!!!
Let’s face it — with Anthony being 99% Italian and the fact that we love Italian wines, it was hard to leave the Puglia booth. They were there in droves this year and even offered some of their favorite wines to taste. And, who doesn’t love Italy after all? We’ve both been many times but never together so it’s high on our bucket list in the next two years.
The masks in Indonesia and particularly Bali are mesmerizing.
That’s not the only country with incredible costumes. One of my favorite trips south of our border was Guatemala — loved every part of it, from the culture, food and music to the mountains, nature and birds. We would definitely return and hope to…..so much more to explore!
On-site, there’s other things to do, see, look at and buy, including travel books.
Food, Wine, Spirits & Other Tasty Things
Did I mention the food? Many of the booths offer different dishes to taste. Puglia as I mentioned above, offered wine (Argentina always has wine tasting in their booth as well) and we had some scrumptious couscous with vegetables on Saturday afternoon.
There are also break out sessions and seminars you can attend all around food. New York State offered food and wine from their “trails” as did the Israeli’s, which was hosted by Chef Nir Mesika from Timna Restaurant in NYC (we should so review this foodie gem sometime — see the three restaurants we reviewed on this trip).
Italian food expert Elizabeth Minchilli and New York Times food writer Melissa Clark taught folks how culinary tourism is not only sustainable, but can take you off the beaten path. Margaritaville concept Chef Carlo Sernaglia shared his favorite island-inspired recipes and keys to cooking for the whole family. India also took people down culinary lane. Visitors learned why the world’s star chefs come to Kalustyan’s when they’re in NYC (it’s all about the spices baby)
Dance & Culture
Colombia exuded all things “fun” this year — they were taking videos and sharing them with visitors. Meander below and you’ll find the clip of us dancing at the end of our New York Times Travel Show video from this year. I’ve been wanting to get down there for awhile now.
One of the other things I love about the show is the diversity represented on the cultural stages where different countries have an opportunity to perform — from dancing, drumming, instrumentals and singing, you’ll be taken away to foreign lands, all under the Jacob Javits Center roof on a cold January day in the Big Apple. Be sure to also see our video as we include some of the performances on-stage this year.
Like Celtic music? So do we. God bless the Irish again and again! We are so due for a trip back to Ireland and in fact, we’d love to host a spiritual retreat there. The land always feels very sacred to us there. And yes, so many other places too. (see our highlights from Tahiti, Solomon Islands and Fiji this year alone).
In addition to the exhibit hall, there are travel seminars and break-out sessions in smaller rooms where you can go deeper on a particular topic or destination of interest. Pauline Frommer spoke about major developments in travel and Rainer Jenss, President & Founder of the Family Travel Association led a panel on family travel opportunities and possibilities outside the guide books.
The New York Times 52 Places traveler Jada Yuan led a session with New York Times editor Dan Saltzstein, we heard from experts in L.G.B.T.Q on Travel, Tours & Cruises as well as from Robert and Mary Carey, hosts of America’s number 1 Travel Radio Show along with TV and radio personality Rudy Maxa.
There was a session with Andy Steves on Flashpacking Europe, frugal travel tips, sustainable and socially conscious travel tips and advice, essential blogging and freelance tips, and one of my favorites: Heritage Travel: Walking in your Ancestor’s Footsteps. It was moderated by Geneaologist Lisa Vogele.
There was also a fun conversation with “Everybody Loves Raymond” creator Phil Rosenthal, who travels the globe to take in local cuisine and culture on Netflix’s series “Somebody Feed Phil.”
Healthy Aging Magazine editor Carolyn Worthington led a panel on Road Trips Across America (we’re fans and have done it twice now), and we learned from Dylan Thuras of “The Atlas Obscura Explorer’s Guide” which offers fun and unique places you just may not have yet explored or even heard about.
Internationally known food expert Padma Lakshmi held a session and there were others which held our interest, such as Luxury Travel for Less, Staying Well While You Travel, How to Cruise like a Traveler, Parisian food and more. Plenty to see, learn and do over the course of a weekend, so if you haven’t been, be sure to mark your calendar for next year.
Both wellness travel and spiritual travel are growing and we’ve always been fans. A few years ago, there was a wellness pavilion at the show and we did a separate round-up of some of the vendors who presented and exhibited. We cover a lot of wellness products, events and experiences on We Blog the World and have been expanding our spiritual travel coverage, both here as well as on Blue Soul Earth, where a travel arm is underway.
Yup, a proud media partner again.
This year, we spoke in the Meet-the-Experts pavilion about Spiritual Travel, which was held in an open area between the exhibit halls and the break out sessions on the lower level. It’s an opportunity for people who specialize in particular niche areas to talk about what they do best, from the environment and co-friendly tours, food/wine and cruises to spirituality, health, mountain treks, safaris and more.
The title of our session was called Spiritual & Transformative Travel: Learn to Connect to Ancient Wisdom from Other Lands.
In other words: it’s not about checking off bucket list items no matter how fascinating and exotic they may be. We spoke about how travel can be deeply transformative when incorporating consciousness and spirituality into the mix. We provided tips on how to be more mindful and purposeful about your decisions and activities on the road and how to become more deeply connected to the people and land you visit.
From our own personal experiences and stories to wisdom that we have learned over the years, we shared both wisdom and knowledge from ancient lands and how travel can transform you when you tap into its power.
Socializing, Networking & Connecting
There are always interesting people to meet every year as well: authors, chefs, writers, adventure geeks and more. And, of course, it’s a great place to hang with friends who share a passion for travel. Even if you’re not in the travel industry or have friends who are, don’t let that stop you. We met two women who are friends and live in different cities in the U.S. and they meet here every year — it’s great inspiration for trip planning.
When we fly into JFK from the West Coast, we almost always land at around sunset and regardless of what time of year it is, we are typically met with a sunset, even in January.
Take a look at our video wrap up from this year’s show.
Here are a few other links worth looking at from previous New York Times Travel Shows. Check out their website for more information and stay tuned for next year’s event. Each year, they draw more than 600 exhibitors from 170+ countries and 30,000 visitors.