Travel South Confessions Of A First Timer

Entertainment,​ food,​ nonstop activities and people willing to​ talk your ear off were on​ the​ menu del dia,​ and the​ waitstaff just kept coming. This year’s showcase,​ hosted by the​ Richmond Metro CVB,​ managed to​ pull my heartstrings more than a​ little and threaten to​ stretch my waistband a​ whole lot.

I was one of​ 35 media representatives from all over the​ US and Canada and,​ as​ a​ neophyte to​ both Travel South and to​ trade shows in​ general,​ I felt both privileged to​ be invited and more than a​ little humbled in​ the​ face of​ all the​ experienced journalists and photographers attending,​ not to​ mention all the​ sales reps,​ VPs,​ various directors,​ managers and other professionals who were all a​ lot more experienced than me. I even found myself,​ at​ one point,​ wearing a​ little more makeup than I usually wear so that I would look older.

I became more comfortable,​ though,​ as​ I spent time with everyone on​ the​ various activities the​ showcase had planned for us. Every meal was sponsored by one of​ the​ suppliers and each had its highlights. West Virginia’s luncheon on​ Tuesday featured a​ local actor performed a​ synopsis of​ a​ famous colonial survival story and a​ children’s choir performed. Louisiana sponsored a​ Louis Armstrong jazz band Monday morning and talked about the​ development in​ the​ state. I had to​ grab for a​ tissue a​ few times,​ and was not the​ only one.

Saturday evening was the​ first event I attended. Four hundred years of​ Virginia music and culture in​ two hours was not a​ short order to​ fill. Native dancers,​ bluegrass bands (both experienced players and up-and-coming talents) were featured,​ along with a​ shag band complete with gubernatorial harmonica support (Va. Governor Mark Warner made a​ surprise appearance to​ sing and play harmonica during the​ evening’s very confettied finale).

Sunday featured daytrips to​ different parts of​ the​ city (complete with performances by historical actors). it​ was a​ fun way to​ bring the​ city alive in​ a​ ‘multicenturial’ way,​ and a​ great introduction for those of​ us who had never visited the​ city.

Monday was all business for attendees. While suppliers,​ tour operators and buyers networked in​ the​ booth area,​ the​ reporters and photographers started the​ day at​ a​ press conference. a​ big topic was the​ redevelopment in​ the​ Gulf Coast area. the​ representative from Mississippi had to​ pause for a​ second,​ admitting that talk of​ the​ topic made him very emotional.

After lunch,​ press continued with another tour of​ the​ city (with snacks and local wine samplings). Afterwards,​ we continued onto a​ cooking class,​ where we made snacks and drank local wine samplings. After our cooking class,​ we went to​ dinner and,​ well,​ you​ get the​ idea. it​ felt like on-assignment Thanksgiving (but without the​ familial drama). Great food,​ fun activities. (I then understood Joey in​ Friends’ Thanksgiving episode. I wanted my fat pants,​ too.)

By the​ evening,​ everyone was feeling more comfortable with each other. After dinner,​ there was more food and drinks at​ the​ Mardi Gras party (at this point,​ I couldn’t even look at​ the​ snack table),​ along with great music and dancing.

It was a​ fun finale to​ my voyage to​ Travel South. in​ April’s issue of​ Leisure Group Travel (,​ look for what’s new in​ the​ region in​ our Travel South/Southeast regional feature.

Be sure to​ tell us your stories from Travel South this year. Post a​ blog,​ or​ email me at​

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Travel South Confessions Of A First Timer Travel South Confessions Of A First Timer Reviewed by Henda Yesti on August 28, 2018 Rating: 5

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