The 14th annual Los Angeles Times Travel & Adventure Show established itself as the largest US show of its kind with record-breaking crowds, more than 550 exhibitors, and an exhibition floor that spanned five acres at the February 14 and 15 event. Despite holiday weekend distractions and a national economic malaise, more than 20,000 enthusiastic travel aficionados gathered to plan adventures, get expert advice, and receive discounts on destinations around the globe. Reflecting a 10 percent increase in attendance and a 37 percent increase in exhibitors over 2008, positive reaction centered on the show’s expanded offerings and a return to the Los Angeles Convention Center.
“The huge success of the show underscores southern California’s appetite for new smart travel experiences and different cultures,” said John T. O’Loughlin, Los Angeles Times executive vice president, Targeted Media and Marketing. “The Los Angeles Times is uniquely positioned to create innovative, signature events such as the Travel & Adventure Show, this spring’s Festival of Books, and the Emmy Envelope Screening Series that bring together our audience (region), our content, and our advertisers.”
“The Los Angeles Times Travel & Adventure Show has become the most important travel marketplace in the United States,” stated John Golicz, CEO of Unicomm, co-producer of the event and organizer of Adventures in Travel Expos across the country. “As the number one travel show in the country, we were pleased to connect so many experiential travel providers with thousands of seasoned travelers all looking to book their next adventure.”
Featured speaker Rick Steves, author and host of the long-running PBS series “Rick Steves’ Europe,” noted that Angelenos attending the show remain passionately committed to travel – perhaps more so than in past years. “Not only did the attendance feel higher than in 2008, but the caliber of traveler was high, too,” said Steves.
The Los Angeles Times Travel & Adventure Show, jointly produced by The Times and Unicomm, filled the expanded exhibition floor with tour operators and travel service providers, and presented speakers, panels, workshops, and entertainment. The show launched new features this year including a hands-on adventure ropes course, a zip-line ride above the show floor, and a culinary stage with live cooking demonstrations.
“The show provided us an opportunity to bring the flavor of Louisiana to Southern California – especially by presenting the culinary stage,” said Lynne Coxwell, marketing specialist at the Louisiana Office of Tourism. “The tourism industry is very important to our state’s economy, so it was essential for us to participate in this show, which continues to grow each year.”
The Los Angeles Times Travel & Adventure Show was presented by the Automobile Club of Southern California and The Greek National Tourist Office. Samy’s Camera was the event’s major sponsor. Louisiana Office of Tourism presented the World Culinary Stage with DineLA. National Geographic ADVENTURE Magazine, the Travel Channel, Hoy and KTLA 5 the CW were media sponsors.
Wendy Sabins, Automobile Club of Southern California’s senior vice president, marketing products and services, observed that attendees recognized the show as a resource for securing the best bargains in these challenging economic times, “As one of the presenting sponsors for the show, and as the largest travel agency in Southern California, it was fantastic to see so many people not just looking but booking vacations with our agents, taking advantage of our travel expertise, and finding tremendous deals.”