Marketplace Excellence Corp


NEW YORK (October 27, 2011) – I was in Georgia, the “Peach State”, last week for the first ever Faith Travel Conference and Expo at Atlanta’s Cobb Galleria.
Several hundred Georgians were attracted to the expo along with some of the top names in the faith travel business, ranging from destinations like Israel with its treasure trove of sacred places through companies like American Airlines which flies people to their holy lands, and the United States Virgin Islands alerting attendees their beautiful locations were perfect for meetings of faith organizations.
Faith tourism is one of the fastest growing segments of world tourism today, with more than 300 million people participating in faith travel every year.
The sector has grown from a niche market to a multi-billion dollar industry which comprises its own niches, such as conventions and meetings, leisure vacations, pilgrimage travel, cruising and retreats.
Hats off to the destinations, airlines, spiritual and community leaders, travel agents and tour operators who made the event a success. The next one, presumably in 2012, could do with a greater marketing boost to ensure attendance across a wider cross-section of the consumers, including the large number of African American church congregants in the state.
A highlight was a talk from “Travel Channel Goddess” Samantha Brown who has visited dozens of countries, hundreds of cities and countless hotels around the world and widely known for her “Great Weekends” show.
A resident of Brooklyn and Syracuse University graduate, Brown gave an inspiring address on the importance of travel:
“Travel is an investment in your life,” she told a packed audience at one of her two weekend talks.
‘The girl with the best job in the world’, as she is widely known, said in addition to visiting historic sites and attractions, travel was more about meeting and connecting with people. She encouraged expo attendees to “take a moment to wander and get away from tourist centers.”
“Go where the people live,” she encouraged, asserting every day life is actually an inspiring experience.
Brown confessed travel had changed her life in ways she was just beginning to understand and cited Berlin, Nicaragua and Cambodia as three of her favorite destinations.
And, what does the glamorous road warrior recommend for travel?
She suggests traveling with ear plugs to take the audible edge off airports and flights. Pinky balls to massage the body after a long, or red eye, flight, and peanut butter so you never have to go hungry when arriving at your port at midnight. Plus, she believes it’s a great conversation starter since the product is little known in many faraway lands.
Since returning to New York, I‘ve had my fair share of peanut butter, but I have faith in her message! I will now faithfully head on line to pick up those ear plugs and the pinky balls for my aching muscles. If both, or either, of those two work, Samantha Brown, you would have just earned another fan!
See you next week!
CAPTION: Samantha Brown speaks in Atlanta last weekend.