Wednesday,  March 29, 2023  2:06 am

3rd annual Vancouver International Travel Expo connects agents and suppliers

3rd annual Vancouver International Travel Expo connects agents and suppliers
Steve Klein, show manager, VITE
Ming Tappin

Ming Tappin is a cruise industry expert and is the owner of Your Cruise Coach.

The Vancouver International Travel Expo took place last weekend and PAX spoke to show manager Steve Klein about the third annual event.

When asked for the reason to host such a show in Vancouver, Klein reflected back to the Addison Show days. 

“The Addison Show was a very successful trade event but since it stopped, there was no other way for suppliers to connect with agents on a large scale," Klein said. "We wanted to bring this valuable interaction back, and at the same time, open it to consumers as well. It took us a year to organize the first show, and now we’re back for the third time.”

READ MORE: Third annual Vancouver International Travel Expo is on its way

124 global suppliers

This year’s show featured 124 suppliers from around the world, covering airlines, hotels, tourist boards, cruise lines, attractions, tour operators, and more. 

“That’s a 35% growth in participation from our first year," Klein told PAX.

Travel agents were given exclusive time at the show to connect with suppliers.

“Our suppliers wanted both a consumer and trade audience, so we allot time for travel agents to preview the show before it opens to the public," he added.

Close to 400 agent were expected this year. For 2019, Klein plans to provide travel agents with one-on-one appointment times with suppliers to further add value to their attendance.

Gaining popularity with consumers

The show had hopes to draw 6,000 to 6,500 consumers as it has been widely advertised on social media through a new partnership with London Drugs, who is providing photo tips, travel accessories and travel medicine at the show.

Suppliers speak up

PAX also spoke to a few participating suppliers for their comments. Martin Aldrich of Adventure Canada – a Toronto-based tour operator specializing in expedition cruises - has attended the show since its inception.

“It is very worthwhile for us to be here, as our presence generates bookings, and we also get opportunities to present to consumers at the main stage," Aldrich said.

Martin Aldrich of Adventure Canada

Nieves Ricardo of Cuba Tourist Board echoed the same sentiments.

“As a tourist board, events like these are our only chance to connect directly with the public, so we are here to provide information for consumers interested in travelling to Cuba, and travel agents selling us," Ricardo said.

Nieves Ricardo of Cuba Tourist Board

Azmina Pirani of Bestway Tours & Safaris has also been a consistent participant in the show. 

“Being in the business that we are, we need to be here to spread the word about what we do – which is small group cultural tours," Pirani said. "We are a local company, which also makes it easy for consumers to come visit us after the show if they want to talk to us further.”

Azmina Pirani of Bestway Tours & Safaris

The tentative date for next year’s Travel Expo is Saturday, Sept. 28th, 2019.