Seminar Descriptions - 2014

Speakers/Schedule Subject to Change. Please check back often for updates.

For Speaker Bios Click Here

Travel Channel Theater
Sponsored By:
Destination Theater

Saturday - February 8, 2014

Main Stage MC:
Steve Giordano
President, Society of American Travel Writers

10:00am - 10:30am

Video Presentation: Yosemite - A Gathering of Spirit
The Yosemite Conservancy is proud to show an Advance Preview of the new Ken Burns and Dayton Duncan film "Yosemite - A Gathering of Spirit", honoring the 150th anniversary of the signing of the Yosemite Grant. In 1864, in the midst of a bitter and painful Civil War, Abraham Lincoln created the first publicly protected land in America. Yosemite would become the model for national parks here and around the world. For more info about the Yosemite park Anniversary,
click here.

10:30am - 12noon

Europe Through the Back Door with Rick Steves
Rick Steves, Author, Rick Steves’ European Guidebooks, Host, Writer & Producer, Public Television, Rick Steves’ Europe 

Rick Steves, public television host and author of over 50 guidebooks including the travel skills handbook, Europe through the Back Door, shares lessons he’s learned from a lifetime of travel. His entertaining, information-packed 90-minute slideshow lecture will teach you all the latest on stretching your travel dollar, avoiding crowds, packing smart, and eating and sleeping well. When he’s ripped off on the road, he celebrates, happy to go home and teach his traveling students about the latest scam. Learn from his mistakes rather than your own. After spending a third of his adult life living out of a rucksack in Europe, Rick knows exactly how you can enjoy maximum travel thrills for every mile, minute, and dollar in your next adventure.

Autograph Signing Immediately Following

10:30am - 11:00am

FOCUS: COSTA RICA
Living Well with Energy & Food Independence in Costa Rica’s Southern Pacific Zone
Jim Gale, Visionary & Developer, Osa Mountain Village and Serenity Gardens EcoVillage

Discover the beauty of the Southern Zone of Costa Rica and two model sustainable cooperative communities that offer an enviable and affordable quality of life.
Presented By:

11:15am - 11:45am

FOCUS: SOUTH PACIFIC
The Islands of Tahiti: Just Eight Hours from Los Angeles but Seemingly a World Away 
Jeff Crochet, Marketing Manager, Tahiti Tourisme North America

Tahiti. The word evokes visions of an island paradise. Just eight hour from Los Angeles but seemingly a world away. Closer than you think and easier to travel to then you might imagine. With 118 islands boasting high, rugged mountain peaks, coral reefs, turquoise-blue lagoons, white sand, palm-fringed beaches, and luxuriously intimate resorts, each island paradise has something for everyone.

Presented  By:

12noon - 12:30pm

FOCUS: RAIL TRAVEL
Amtrak Vacations. Explore America with Rail Inclusive Travel Packages. 
Jacqueline Malecki, Sales & Marketing Supervisor, Yankee Leisure Group Inc.

A great trip starts with good planning and Amtrak Vacations makes planning your special rail journey fun and easy. We combine the thrill of riding the rails with inclusive travel packages for one-of-a-kind vacations throughout North America. Learn about escorted and independent rail journeys, family adventures, rail getaways and our exclusive rail & sail vacation options. Leave the planning to us. Attend this informative session, visit AmtrakVacations.com or call 1-800-AMTRAK-2 (800-268-7252).

Presented By:

12:15pm - 1:15pm

What You Need To Know Before You Plan Your Next Vacation
Pauline Frommer, Editorial Director of the Frommer Guides and Publisher of Frommers.com 

In this fast-paced seminar, Pauline Frommer will give you money saving methods of travel, less usual destinations and ways to tailor your vacation so that it fits your personality.

Autograph Signing Immediately Following

12:45pm - 1:30pm

FOCUS: TAIWAN
It's Time for Taiwan 
Trust Lin, Director of Taiwan Tourism Bureau in Los Angeles 

Join Mr. Trust Lin, Director of Taiwan Tourism Bureau in Los Angeles, who will guide you through all the fascinating aspects of visiting Taiwan, the heart of Asia. Mr. Lin will share spotlights on Taiwan Tourism Events calendar with 6 main themes including Time for Love, Time to Marvel, Time for Two Wheels, Time to Shop, Time to Eat, and Time for Nature.

Presented By:

1:30pm - 2:30pm

Samantha Brown's "How to Travel Better"
Samantha Brown, Host of Travel Channel’s “The Trip: 2014”
 

Autograph Signing Immediately Following
 
Click Here to Learn More About Samantha Brown on the Travel Channel

1:30pm - 2:00pm

FOCUS: EUROPE
Europe Your Way, Hassle Free 
Patrina Mack, TravelZingo 

Meet TravelZingo which delivers a completely new approach for planning a vacation that takes away the headache yet ensures you have the most enjoyable trip possible, all effortlessly and in as quickly as 30 minutes. No more price shopping to figure out when and where to go. TravelZingo lets you focus on where to go first because our partnerships with travel consolidators deliver the best available pricing for any destination you choose. In our presentation, we’ll show you just how easy it is to select an itinerary from our library of thousands of travel expert designed itineraries, customize it to your travel preferences, book your vacation and have all your pertinent travel documents and destination content available for your mobile device when you depart.
Presented By:

2:15pm - 2:45pm

FOCUS: AFRICA
I Dream Of Africa
Piper Mackay, Professional Wildlife and Cultural Documentary Photographer, Photo Safari Leader Specialized in Africa 

Join professional photographer, Piper Mackay, as she leads you on an incredible journey through the savannas of the Serengeti in Tanzania, the great migration crossing the Mara River in Kenya, trekking with the Mountain gorillas in Rwanda and the through the dramatic desserts of Namibia. You will explore the Omo Valley, the most tribal rich region in the world, while she shares her adventures of staying with the local tribes and camping in the wilds of Africa. She leads photographic safaris throughout the African continent.

Presented By:

2:45pm - 3:30pm

Don Wildman, History Explorer and Museum Enthusiast, Host of Travel Channel's "Mysteries at the Museum"

As host of Travel Channel's “Mysteries at the Museum,” “Monumental Mysteries,” and "Greatest Mysteries," Don Wildman pulls back the curtain on an unseen America. In his first series for the network, “Off Limits,” Wildman crisscrossed the United States, going behind locked doors to uncover the secrets of our country’s man-made world. Whether unearthing notable tales behind artifacts and monuments across the U.S. or exploring hidden turfs, he discovers the fascinating behind-the-scenes of our everyday life. Wildman embraces the meaning of being a traveler, and shows how lifting the veil on our surroundings – from museum relics to buildings and bridges – can reveal unforgettably adventurous stories.
Sponsored By:
Click Here to Learn More About Don and Monumental Mysteries

Click Here to Learn More About Don and Mysteries at the Museum

3:00pm - 3:30pm

FOCUS: INDONESIA
Wonderful Indonesia, The World's Heart of Wonders
Mr. Vincent Jemadu,
Deputy Director of International Promotion for America & Pacific Region

Find countless wonders centered in Indonesia, starting from the wonders of nature such as prehistoric Komodo Dragon, the wonders of amazing Orangutan, the wonders of living traditions to the wonders of diverse culture and people.

As the biggest archipelago, the beauty of each island will captivate you, from the golden beaches to the verdant highlands. Your adventurous journey will give you exoctic experience in your lifetime. Be Our Guests.

Presented By:

3:45pm - 4:15pm
 

FOCUS: NEW ZEALAND
New Zealand: Adventures in Middle-Earth
Matt Greenham,
Air New Zealand Vacations

Join Destination Specialist Matt Greenham, as he explores the wonders of New Zealand and the amazing diversity of its North and South islands. New Zealand is a destination packed with adventure activities! For the thrill seekers there¹s no shortage of adrenaline-charged experiences from bungy jumping to jet-boating. This South Pacific country is blessed with a phenomenal playground of landscapes that inspires the spirit of adventure in all who visit. The truly spectacular scenery formed the setting for 'The Lord of the Rings' and 'The Hobbit' trilogies, and Matt will present on some of the key locations and tours associated with these visually stunning films. So whether you seek mild activities or are a hard core adventure seeker, you will find plenty of opportunities to experience the very best of Middle-earth; New Zealand!
 
Presented By:

3:45pm - 4:45pm

Europe Through the Back Door with Rick Steves
Rick Steves,
Author, Rick Steves’ European Guidebooks, Host, Writer & Producer, Public Television, Rick Steves’ Europe 

Rick Steves, public television host and author of over 50 guidebooks including the travel skills handbook, Europe through the Back Door, shares lessons he’s learned from a lifetime of travel. His entertaining, information-packed 60-minute slideshow lecture will teach you all the latest on stretching your travel dollar, avoiding crowds, packing smart, and eating and sleeping well. When he’s ripped off on the road, he celebrates, happy to go home and teach his traveling students about the latest scam. Learn from his mistakes rather than your own. After spending a third of his adult life living out of a rucksack in Europe, Rick knows exactly how you can enjoy maximum travel thrills for every mile, minute, and dollar in your next adventure.

Autograph Signing Immediately Following

4:15pm - 5:00pm







Best Travel Apps to Plan Your Best Trip Ever
Moderator: Jennifer Miner, Co-Creator & Editor, The Vacation Gals blog
Speaker: Brett Snyder, The Cranky Flier;
Sharlene Earnshaw, Editor-in-Chief, Trekaroo;
Kim Lachance Shandrow, Los Angeles-based Tech Journalist

There's more in the apps world than just Candy Crush and Cut the Rope! iPhones and other Smartphones make travel planning on the go a snap, but it helps to have the best travel apps on tap. Top travel and tech experts share their most recommended apps to make vacation be as easy, adventurous, or delicious as possible.

Sponsored By:

Sunday - February 9, 2014

Main Stage MC:
Steve Giordano
President, Society of American Travel Writers

10:00am - 10:30am

Video Presentation: Yosemite - A Gathering of Spirit
The Yosemite Conservancy is proud to show an Advance Preview of the new Ken Burns and Dayton Duncan film "Yosemite - A Gathering of Spirit", honoring the 150th anniversary of the signing of the Yosemite Grant. In 1864, in the midst of a bitter and painful Civil War, Abraham Lincoln created the first publicly protected land in America. Yosemite would become the model for national parks here and around the world. For more info about the Yosemite park Anniversary,
click here.

10:15am - 11:00am
 

FOCUS: TRAVEL PHOTOGRAPHY
Capturing the Essence of a Place with Your Travel Photography
Ralph Velasco, Travel Photography Instructor, Author and International Tour Guide

Travel photography instructor, author and international tour guide Ralph Velasco discusses the importance of using a Shot List for creating a cultural portrait of any destination. He'll define what a shot list is and explain how to effectively create and use one in order to bring back a more interesting and well-rounded set of images from your travels. Ralph will also discuss photographic storytelling as well as reveal his number one photo tip that is guaranteed to bring your photography to another level, and he'll be using images from his recent trips to Bhutan, Nepal, Morocco, Cuba, Mexico's Copper Canyon, Cambodia, Europe and more to visually demonstrate these simple-to-understand and easy-to-implement concepts of which a photographer, of any level, can take advantage.

Presented By: Ralph Velasco Cultural Tours

10:30am - 12noon

Europe Through the Back Door with Rick Steves
Rick Steves,
Author, Rick Steves’ European Guidebooks, Host, Writer & Producer, Public Television, Rick Steves’ Europe 

Rick Steves, public television host and author of over 50 guidebooks including the travel skills handbook, Europe through the Back Door, shares lessons he’s learned from a lifetime of travel. His entertaining, information-packed 90-minute slideshow lecture will teach you all the latest on stretching your travel dollar, avoiding crowds, packing smart, and eating and sleeping well. When he’s ripped off on the road, he celebrates, happy to go home and teach his traveling students about the latest scam. Learn from his mistakes rather than your own. After spending a third of his adult life living out of a rucksack in Europe, Rick knows exactly how you can enjoy maximum travel thrills for every mile, minute, and dollar in your next adventure.

Autograph Signing Immediately Following

11:15am - 11:45am
 

FOCUS: MALAYSIA
Dive and Adventure Travel in Malaysia 
Mario Cabading, Co-Owner of Scuba Travel Ventures

Join Southeast Asia Specialist Mario Cabading as he takes you on an incredible visual display introducing dive and adventure tours through Malaysia. He’ll discuss all the adventures and tours Peninsular Malaysia has to offer. Then be amazed as he takes you down through Borneo Malaysia to the fabulous diving including the Crown Jewel dive destination in Malaysia, "World Famous Sipadan Island". He’ll also discuss other adventures, like the Orang Utan Rehabilitation Center in Sandakan and river cruises where you can see the famous Proboscis Monkeys. Whether you are a diver or thrill seeking adventurer, Malaysia has plenty to offer. Visit Malaysia!

Presented By: 

12noon - 12:30pm

FOCUS: SOUTHEAST ASIA
Amazing Thailand
Ben Fleming, Marketing Manager, Tourism Authority of Thailand's Los Angeles Office

The Kingdom of Thailand is famous for its fascinating history, delectable food, buddhist temples, and spectacular geography. But it is Thailand's unique culture and friendly people who epitomize Thailand's "Land of Smiles" reputation. Join us to learn about the wealth of exceptional experiences that await travelers to modern Thailand from new luxury hotels and resorts through to boutique tours which introduce travelers to true Thai culture and hospitality.
Presented By: 

12:15pm - 1:15pm

Peter Greenberg, Emmy Award-winning investigative reporter and producer, Travel Editor for CBS News, and Host of Public Television’s New Series,The Travel Detective with Peter Greenberg

Don’t miss this fast-paced session where Peter will arm you with cutting-edge travel information and insider tips you need to know before you ever leave home—don’t forget to bring your pen and paper (or tablet) so you can take notes! 

Autograph Signing Immediately Following

12:45pm - 1:15pm
 

FOCUS: AUSTRALIA
AUSTRALIA… Top Travel Experiences
Anthony Saba, Goway Travel

Australia is a big place! There is a lot of ground to cover, and much to experience… and for many only a limited time to do it. Let us show you some of the top things to see and do.. so you can plan your ideal vacation experience Downunder!
Presented By: 

1:30pm - 2:15pm

Don Wildman, History Explorer and Museum Enthusiast, Host of Travel Channel's "Mysteries at the Museum"

As host of Travel Channel's “Mysteries at the Museum,” “Monumental Mysteries,” and "Greatest Mysteries," Don Wildman pulls back the curtain on an unseen America. In his first series for the network, “Off Limits,” Wildman crisscrossed the United States, going behind locked doors to uncover the secrets of our country’s man-made world. Whether unearthing notable tales behind artifacts and monuments across the U.S. or exploring hidden turfs, he discovers the fascinating behind-the-scenes of our everyday life. Wildman embraces the meaning of being a traveler, and shows how lifting the veil on our surroundings – from museum relics to buildings and bridges – can reveal unforgettably adventurous stories.
Sponsored By:
Click Here to Learn More About Don and Monumental Mysteries

Click Here to Learn More About Don and Mysteries at the Museum

1:30pm - 2:00pm

FOCUS: NORTHERN CALIFORNIA
YOUR ‘Yosemite Experience’ - What New Sightseeing Destinations You Should Add This Year
Whitney Lennon, Director of Marketing, Mammoth Lakes Tourism

Yosemite National Park is over 740 thousand acres and has 800 miles of hiking trails that overlook glacier-carved granite peaks, steep valleys and a breathtaking number of waterfalls. But that is just the beginning of what this region has to offer! You’ll find the areas surrounding Yosemite are just an extension of the park…with a twist. Whitney Lennon will take you on a tour of the destination offerings abound in the Yosemite National Park region that range from wine tasting to ziplining; from taking pictures of 14,000 foot peaks from a helicopter to visiting gold towns rich with mining history. Whether you prefer to sleep under the stars or watch the Hollywood version on the big screen TV in the comfort of your hotel room, Whitney can point you in the right direction for creating YOUR personalized ‘Yosemite Experience’ this year. Whitney will also highlight how you can participate in honoring the 150th anniversary of the Yosemite Grant Act; provide a recap on last year’s Rim Fire; suggested itineraries; and the latest information on how to avoid the congestion on the park’s busiest days.

Presented By:

2:15pm - 2:45pm
 

FOCUS: COSTA RICA
Marcela Bonilla, Costa Rica Tourism Board

Presented By:

2:30pm - 3:30pm

Samantha Brown's "How to Travel Better"
Samantha Brown, Host of Travel Channel’s “The Trip: 2014”
 

Autograph Signing Immediately Following
 
Click Here to Learn More About Samantha Brown on the Travel Channel

3:00pm - 3:30pm



 

FOCUS: NORTH PACIFIC OCEAN
Humpback Whales... a Success Story!
Brent Nixon, Expert Naturalist onboard Celebrity Solstice

Travel with marine researcher Brent Nixon in an exploration of this amazing Leviathan's struggle from highly endangered to present day pre-exploitation numbers throughout the North Pacific Ocean. Witness spectacular feeding efforts in the brisk waters of Alaska's protected inside passage from the warm comfort of your theater seat. Brent has over twenty-five years of field studies, stunning video footage, and awe inspiring still photography that bring this show to life. If you are looking for an energetic, humorous, fact-filled, thirty minutes of entertainment about one of Earth's magnificent mammals then this is your show! If you are expecting a college lecture...you will not find it at this showtime.

Presented By:

3:45pm - 4:15pm

FOCUS: SOUTH AMERICA
The Galapagos: Eco-Tourism at Its Best
Allie Almario, VP, Myths and Mountains

Ranked as one of the top eco-tourism destinations in the world, the pristine environment of the Galapagos Islands offer inquisitive adventure travelers one of the best up-close and personal wildlife encounters anywhere in the world. No where else in the world can you snorkel so closely with sea lions, penguins, white-tipped sharks and penguins. Photographers delight in how close they are to blue-footed boobies and Galapagos hawks. It's a model that works so well for both the traveler and nature conservationists but it comes with a price. And a lot of rules. Find out why your Galapagos adventure is almost guaranteed to be picture-perfect, what to ask your tour operator, and how to choose the right cruise for you.

Presented By:

3:45pm - 4:45pm

1,000 Places to See Before You Die
Patricia Schultz, Best-selling Author 1,000 Places to See Before You Die and 1,000 Places to See in the USA & Canada Before You Die

Best-selling travel author and TV producer Patricia Schultz discusses some of her favorite destinations from the newly revised 1,000 Places To See Before You Die and 1,000 Places To See in the USA and Canada Before You Die, followed by signing of her books.

Autograph Signing Immediately Following

4:15pm - 4:45pm

FOCUS: PHILIPPINES
The Philippines FUN Explorations: A Closer look at the Pearl of the Orient
Ms. Annie Cuevas, Philippine Department of Tourism

Presented By: