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The Group Travel Leader Small Market Meetings Going on Faith

Select Traveler Conference Planners are Bullish

If there was one recurring theme heard throughout the 2017 Select Traveler Conference, it was this: “Don’t be afraid to travel.”

During a presentation, Bob Buesing of East Coast Touring told the 325 assembled delegates a moving story about his 19-year-old father coming ashore on D-Day in France during World War II and how he overcame fear. “When it comes to travel, go for it,” said Buesing. “We’re all Americans and should never give up. I’m a travel seller. You’re travel buyers. Don’t fear traveling anywhere, whether it’s Israel, Turkey or Europe. Travel is what we Americans do.”

The conference held in Ontario, California, featured trip planners and program directors from banks, colleges and chambers of commerce around the nation, as well as travel industry representatives who presented their sites as potential destinations for travel groups. “We really appreciate Select Traveler picking Ontario to be its host city this year,” said Larry Kaufman of the Greater Ontario Convention and Visitors Bureau.

The Select Traveler Conference kicked off with a buyer breakout session at which dozens of ideas were exchanged. “There’s a lot going on in the world,” said Mac Lacy, publisher of Select Traveler magazine. “At the breakout, they discussed the negative aspects we deal with in Europe and other places. And yet the tour operator industry as a whole has been on a very strong run lately, and that’s great news.”

Sandra McComb of Glenwood State Bank Heritage Club in Glenwood, Iowa, loves inventive ideas. “It was good to hear both sides. Everybody has the same problems — but maybe someone found a way to correct it, so it’s nice to hear. Or maybe someone has a success story to give. When moderators later share all the comments from the tables, it will be helpful.”