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The Group Travel Leader Small Market Meetings Going on Faith

Sponsors Bring Entertainment To The Mix

The new Select Traveler Conference continued BankTravel’s 18-year tradition of offering sponsored meals and entertainment from start to finish. In addition to the opening evening event at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center, two breakfasts, two lunches and another dinner rounded out the impressive lineup in Huntsville, Alabama.

The Monday morning breakfast was sponsored by East Coast Touring Company and its president, Bob Buesing, who introduced his staff to the delegation through a multimedia presentation. This Pennsylvania-based company offers travel planners several specific travel options such as visiting Ireland and river cruising on the vessels of the American Queen Steamboat Company.

Tuesday’s breakfast was hosted by longtime breakfast sponsor Trips, whose owner, Brian Doughty, always comes up with a surprise. This year, using volunteers from the audience, he produced a hilarious game show about traveling in New England. Dressed in New England-style headwear like antlers and lobster garb, the panel battled to the end to win prizes.

Monday’s luncheon was sponsored by Collette and featured its destination partner, South Africa. Tony Etienne discussed the big-game excitement of that destination and pointed out how affordable a trip to Africa can be. He then introduced speed painter Tim Decker, who created original canvasses of Ray Charles, Albert Einstein and Lady Liberty that were given away to lucky delegates.

Tuesday’s closing luncheon was hosted by another longtime supporter: the Globus Family of Brands. Israel and the Holy Land were the featured partners this year, and Globus sales executive Michael Lundquist shared his personal travel photography from the destinations based on a recent trip. Joe Diaz, longtime Israel spokesperson, also addressed attendees.

For dinner on Monday night, it was all Music City as the Nashville Convention and Visitors Bureau kicked off its promotion of next year’s conference in downtown Nashville, Tennessee. Following dinner, host Laurel Bennett introduced rising star Jason Eskridge, who, with his band, played to a delegation that was primed for action. Lots of delegates danced the night away until the encore was over and the band left the stage.