When Roni Weiss cornered me at the AOL offices a few years ago to pitch the concept of a new travel conference I had my doubts. We have travel conferences. We have travel societies, Facebook groups, Twitter wars and blog chats. We need to travel more, chat less and improve the conferences that we already have, I suggested.
I stand by that assertion. But I also think that there’s space to grow in an industry that’s starting to diverge. I’m told that the Travel Festival this weekend is more about the appreciation and inspiration of travel and writing versus the abject pandering for sponsorships or freebies. I think that there’s definitely room to grown in that realm.
And some pretty great people are coming out in support. In addition to the panel that I’m on with Ross Borden from Matador and Joe Diaz from Afar, Matt Gross (the formal Frugal Traveler), Matt Kepnes (ie, Nomadic Matt), David Farley, Andrew Evans (National Geographic’s Digital Nomad) and Robert Reid (Lonely Planet) will all be there, along with a handful of other really great travel people in the community. These are people that have written the guidebooks, edited the stories and survived the battles of the travel industry over the last few decades. I’m sure they have plenty of insight to give.
In case you’re interested, several Gadling folk will be there including Mr. Farley, above. David will be speaking on the Czech Republic and announcing winners of the writing contest at noon, while Ross, Joe and I will be speaking on new media strategies. I’m pretty sure that there will be drinks somewhere in that equation as well.
Come on out and join us. The festival runs over multiple days and you can find more info here.