Scenes from New York Times Travel Show 2013

new york times travel show

I got to dress up like a Samurai at the Japan exhibit — I’m the one in purple. The costume is very heavy!

The New York Times Travel Show, an annual consumer and trade show at the Javits Center in New York City, has become a must-attend event for travel media, tourism organizations, tour operators and travel enthusiasts. And indeed, they were all there this weekend, along with a samurai (Japan) and a sloth (SeaWorld) and about one million brochures.

new york times travel show

I posed in front of this massive Curacao mural — the freezing NYC weather has me dreaming about the Caribbean!

There are hundreds of booths and displays at the NYT Travel Show, as travel professionals fly in from all over the world to try to convince you to go to places like Antigua, Alaska and Azerbaijan (which really enticed me with a glossy booklet on the region’s carpets, as I still regret not buying a rug in Istanbul). And that’s just a sampling of the A’s…

thailand carved flowers

The Thailand booth showed off beautiful fruit and vegetable carvings. This bouquet of roses is actually carrots.

This was an extra-special New York Times Travel Show for me, because on Saturday morning I was panelist at Travel Bloggers Panel – Connect with Influential Media. It was moderated by Lillian Africano, SATW president, and the other panelists were Ed Wetschler of Recommend Magazine, Matthew Kepnes of Nomadic Matt, Laura Bly of USA Today and Don George of Gadling. We discussed Twitter, apartment rentals, Caribbean boutique hotels, the importance of researching a destination’s history before you visit and how the term “staycation” may finally be over but “girlfriend getaways” is here to stay.

new york times travel show

How cute is this sloth from SeaWorld?

On Friday and Saturday, I spent a few hours walking around the exhibitions, which were divided up geographically. It was pretty cool to be able to go from Maine to India to Australia to Panama and back up to Canada in just a few minutes.

The back area of the enormous room, however, belonged to SeaWorld. Now SeaWorld might be a tough sell when there are tour operators just a few feet away who can bring you to view penguins and dolphins in the wild. However, SeaWorld really stole show by bringing several live animals, including an adorable sloth who was wrapped around its trainer like a sleepy toddler.

new york times travel show

This cool Morocco arch was at least two stories high…

If there was one travel trend that was evident, it was authentic travel. In this age where you can see real-time photos from around the world right on your iPhone and there’s an app for everything, travelers are craving something different and tangible when they travel. Morocco captured this perfectly with its “Travel for Real” slogan that topped off a rather ambitious architecture structure. In this same vein, a lot of countries were showing off traditional costumes, song and dance. Or in the case of Ecuador, it was all three and it was very well executed. Mexico’s band was excellent too.

You know who weren’t represented at the NYT Travel Show? Marseille and Amsterdam, two cities that all of the top travel publications have predicted will the hottest destinations for 2013. Perhaps when you’re hot enough you don’t have to bother? In truth, Western Europe was underrepresented this year and in the other years that I went too.

The most surprising destination that I saw was North Korea. By this I mean it was a tour company, Uri Tours,that specializes in North Korea, as I can’t imagine that the DPRK has a tourism board although they sure need one more than anyone. The second most surprising destination that I saw was Westchester, a suburb of New York City. I really don’t recommend that you vacation there. But I guess you never appreciate what’s in your own backyard…

12 Responses to Scenes from New York Times Travel Show 2013

  1. Adam
    Twitter: travelsofadam
    January 21, 2013 at 8:07 pm #

    Haha! Nice write-up. I actually visited Westchester once to see a friend. We had a nice pizza but that’s about all I remember :)
    Adam recently posted..Instagramming Israel: Beer, hummus and city skylines in Israel

    • Liz Borod Wright
      January 21, 2013 at 8:43 pm #

      Oh, I didn’t mean that to be a slam against Westchester! I really like Westchester and my family actually lived there for a few years. All I meant was that if you have the choice between, say, Aruba and Westchester, then you maybe you shouldn’t choose Westchester. Although many people may prefer spending a week in Westchester than spending a week in North Korea. It all depends how adventurous you are…

  2. Andi
    Twitter: andiperullo
    January 21, 2013 at 10:08 pm #

    How cool that you were a panelist! That sloth is WAY too cute!!!!
    Andi recently posted..San Francisco & Napa Valley: Day 4 (Part 2)

  3. Steve
    Twitter: SteveWBT
    January 22, 2013 at 5:35 pm #

    The New York Show looks great – I recently attended the LA Adventure Travel show – lots of interesting speakers, but all the stalls were definitely missing that attention-grabbing fun element you found.
    Steve recently posted..Sometimes I just don’t get along with whole towns – Songpan, Sichuan

  4. wandering educators
    Twitter: WanderingEds
    January 22, 2013 at 10:15 pm #

    This is awesome – and funny, to think that a sloth is representing seaworld, instead of an aquatic creature. the confines of travel and conference centers, alas. what a great time!
    wandering educators recently posted..Calling Global Gourmets! Food Tours to Norway and Turkey

  5. Danee Sarman January 23, 2013 at 8:36 pm #

    Looks like a great show. Moroccan architecture is so unique- so that door seems like a cool idea to promote travel!
    Danee Sarman recently posted..An Egyptian Obelisk in Istanbul

  6. Larissa
    Twitter: changes_long
    January 24, 2013 at 12:24 am #

    Always fun to go to these and see some aspect of a destination that you never knew about :)
    Larissa recently posted..Strolling the mosaic sidewalks of Lisbon in search of pastel de nata

  7. Jennifer January 24, 2013 at 4:56 pm #

    Fun write-up of the NY Tines Travel Show! I went to its west coast equivalent, the Los Angeles Travel & Adventure Show, earlier this month. It was hugely popular, with tons of exhibitors/booths, several ongoing activities throughout the weekend, and interesting speakers. The NY and LA travel shows are run by the same company, so they are probably pretty similar.
    Jennifer recently posted..Ice Castles at Mall of America

  8. Micki
    Twitter: barefootnomads
    January 24, 2013 at 6:19 pm #

    I’d love to check out the travel show – sounds like a great way to get a feel for what different countries have to offer.
    Micki recently posted..Wandering through Merida’s Colonial Centro: A Photo Essay

  9. Anita Mac
    Twitter: wheretogoam
    January 28, 2013 at 6:52 pm #

    It was my first time at a travel show, and I have to say…WOW! I was impressed. I felt like I had walked into another world as I toured the various booths. Great experience….I know I will be back next year!
    Anita Mac recently posted..Monday Morning Series: Poolside in Mexico’s Mayan Riviera

  10. Elaine J. Masters February 1, 2013 at 8:33 pm #

    I am addicted to travel shows! Stumbled into the LA Times Travel Expo a couple of years ago and didn’t want to leave. Friends are going for several days this year and I’m actually leading a group from San Diego for a day-trip there and back by train. Can’t wait to share the pictures as you have.
    Elaine J. Masters recently posted..Taking the train – a west coast rail romance

  11. Lilian
    Twitter: LSue23
    February 4, 2013 at 8:44 pm #

    The New York travel show sounds amazing…is there a West Coast version that you know of?
    Lilian recently posted..Top 5 Dishes & Drinks I’ve Tasted in Victoria-NOT in a Restaurant

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