This week, the podcast is coming to you from the ABA Marketplace in Nashville, where nearly 3,000 tour and travel professionals convened to learn and network with their peers. From indigenous experiences in Alberta to the revitalization of destinations like Philadelphia and Branson, this episode is packed with valuable perspectives on collaboration, envisioning the future of travel, and the power of personal connections in the tourism industry.
In this episode, you’ll hear from these extraordinary leaders:
- Vince Accardi: President at Ontario Motor Coach Association and Motor Coach Canada
- Richard Arnold: President & Director of Fun Atlantic Tours Canada
- Marcy Barnes: Market Development Specialist, Tourism New Brunswick
- Aaron Brown: Marketing & Experience Manager at Visit Cheyenne
- Greg Caren: President & Chief Executive Officer at Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau
- Ryan Elliott: Manager – Business Development at Travel Alberta
- Bud Geissler: President, Group Collect and ABA Marketplace 2024 Chair
Insights from ABA Marketplace in Nashville
At the ABA Marketplace in Nashville, we dug deep into tourism partnerships, connections, and relationships. Our industry experts discuss the importance of building connections, the impact of border closures on the industry, and the resurgence of group travel post-COVID. Guests share their experiences of being part of the travel industry in 2023, make predictions for 2024, and highlight the vibrant energy of the travel industry right now.
Vince Accardi: President at Ontario Motor Coach Association and Motor Coach Canada
Vince and I discussed the increasing interest in indigenous experiences for group travel in Canada. He also touched on the upcoming recovery of the country’s tourism industry and why connection-building is the most vital part of attending shows like ABA Marketplace.
Richard Arnold: President & Director of Fun Atlantic Tours Canada
I loved hearing Richard’s thoughts on the challenges and rewards of promoting hands-on experiences in tour itineraries for a post-COVID new normal. He emphasizes the need to be dynamic and creative when planning tours and looks ahead to new opportunities and collaborations in 2024.
Marcy Barnes: Market Development Specialist, Tourism New Brunswick
Marcy highlights what she is most excited about for the tour and travel business in 2024, including new or expanded itineraries that come into the beautiful province of New Brunswick. She also discusses why networking is the most important thing at events like ABA Marketplace and how the event allows her to connect with buyers and build collaborations with other PMOs.
Aaron Brown: Marketing & Experience Manager at Visit Cheyenne
Aaron shares his excitement for the upcoming year in the tourism industry as someone who is new to the industry, particularly focusing on the trend of slow travel and why taking time to really connect with a destination is so important for visitors. His word for ABA Marketplace is ‘amazing,’ and it’s not hard to see why!
Greg Caren: President & Chief Executive Officer at Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau
Greg and I discuss the importance of authenticity in travel experiences, and he shares more about how his destination is meeting this need by highlighting their historical visitor attractions. He dives into the value of face-to-face interactions and the significance of industry events like ABA Marketplace in rebuilding the tourism economy.
Ryan Elliott: Manager – Business Development at Travel Alberta
Ryan discusses the importance of cultivating relationships and trust within the tour and travel industry, with a particular focus on the pivotal role of partnerships in driving shoulder season growth. He underscores the energy and passion crucial to the industry and highlights ABA Marketplace as a vital event for fostering connections and collaboration.
Bud Geissler: President, Group Collect and ABA Marketplace 2024 Chair
I was interested to chat with Bud about the travel industry’s adoption of technology, the shift towards cashless options for student travel, and the trend of longer and more exotic experiences for adult travelers. Bud also shares personal experiences that underline the transformative impact of travel experiences and how they shape people’s lives.
The Power of Partnerships
The enriching insights I got from travel industry leaders at ABA Marketplace underscores the transformative potential of partnerships and connections in shaping the tourism industry’s future. As the industry continues to rebound, the value of collaboration, innovation, and a shared passion for creating remarkable travel experiences emerge as guiding forces. Through a commitment to building meaningful relationships and fostering inclusive partnerships, the tourism industry is poised for a future defined by innovation, authenticity, and sustainable growth.
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