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
Sponsored By:

Saturday - January 11, 2014

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

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
Presented By:

11:15am - 11:45am

FOCUS: CALIFORNIA
Mammoth Lakes – California’s Gateway to Natural Wonders
Whitney Lennon, Mammoth Lakes Tourism

Get ready to check off your bucket list! Whitney Lennon invites you on a virtual tour of the natural wonders abound in the mountainous Mammoth Lakes region of California. Just a 45-minute drive from Yosemite National Park, the Mammoth Lakes area could be a national park on its own. Surrounded by 2 million acres of national forest, Mammoth Lakes is home to world-class Mammoth Mountain Ski Area, 101-foot Rainbow Falls, Devils Postpile National Monument and spectacular fall colors. Nestled in the Eastern Sierra Nevada Range, Mammoth Lakes is surrounded with breathtaking views of 11,000 to 14,000 foot peaks, hundreds of lakes and attractions such as Bodie State Historic Park, Death Valley National Park, Mt. Whitney, Mono Lake Tufa Reserve and the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest.

Whitney will highlight itineraries that will maximize your sightseeing trip to California, as well as provide tips for planning a trip to the mountains, traveling at elevation and time of year recommendations. A resident and tourism professional in California for over 15 years, she can guide you in the right direction for any trip to the Golden State.

Presented By:

12noon - 12:30pm





FOCUS: AUSTRALIA/NEW ZEALAND
A Luxury Journey Downunder
Sunnie Rossi, President, Aussie Experts (affiliated with InConcert Travel)
Peter Askin, Southern World Vacations
Carolyn Pope, Tourism New Zealand

Join us for a journey Downunder as we travel through Australia and New Zealand. This trip will showcase the unique experiences that luxury travel can offer. Golf on one of the top 10 golf courses in the world or dive the famous cod hole in the Great barrier reef. Whether you seek mild activities or hard core adventure you will find plenty of opportunities to experience the best of Downunder.

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 - 1:15pm

FOCUS: WORLDWIDE
Deborah Childs,
AAA Group Specialist

AAA Travel's Custom Vacation Collection can take you around the world. See the highlights of our 2014 group tours & cruises.

Presented By: AAA Custom Vacation Collection
Sponsored 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: SOUTH PACIFIC
The Islands of Tahiti: Just Eight Hours from Los Angeles but Seemingly a World Away
Jonathan Reap, Managing Director, 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:

2:15pm - 2:45pm
 

FOCUS: PREMIUM & LUXURY ESCORTED JOURNEYS THROUGH EUROPE
Experience Europe like Never Before!
Cynthia O’Kelley,
Insight Vacations

Cynthia O’Kelley, Tour Specialist, will teach you the ‘Art of Touring in Style” and introduce you to a collection of exciting destinations throughout Europe in 2014. Enjoy introductions to amazing people, authentic encounters, and extra personal touches that allow you to truly connect with your destination. Easy Pace, Country Roads, Luxury Gold; whatever your tour pace, there are a whole range of new and authentic local discoveries along the way that will ensure that you experience Europe like never before.
Presented By:
Sponsored By:

2:45pm - 3:30pm

Todd Carmichael, Coffee Entrepreneur, Adventurer and Host of Travel Channel’s “Dangerous Grounds”


As owner of La Colombe, coffee fuels his passion for adventure, and travel is his life. Carmichael explains how, when hunting down rare strains of coffee in some of the most fascinating and unseen places in the world, you never know what the next adventure will be. He relishes those unexpected moments and off-the-beaten-path experiences that you could never plan for, such as surfing the Nile river and navigating the mountains of Nepal in an ultra-light aircraft.

Autograph Signing Immediately Following

Sponsored By: Click Here to Learn More About Todd and Dangerous Grounds.

3:00pm - 3:30pm
 

FOCUS: U.S.
SeaWorld Entertainment Presentation

Meet SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment's animal ambassadors and learn important conservation information. SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment inspires millions, through the power of entertainment, to celebrate, connect with and care for the natural world. The Company has been creating innovative entertainment experiences that blend imagination with nature for more than 50 years and is best known for its 11 U.S. theme parks, attractions that hosted more than 24 million guests in 2013 and include the beloved SeaWorld®, Busch Gardens® and Sesame Place® brands. A global leader in animal care and conservation, SeaWorld Parks has helped rescue more than 23,000 animals in need - ill, injured, orphaned and abandoned - for more than four decades.

Join our animal educators at the Chicago Travel & Adventure Show as they share conservation information and introduce animal ambassadors such as Red ruffed-lemur, Common Boa, Eastern Screech Owl, Eastern Box Turtle, Guinea Turaco, African Hedgehog and more!

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

3:45pm - 4:15pm
 

FOCUS: CRUISE
Celebrity’s Galapagos: A Once-In-A-Lifetime Experience
Susana Romero, Global Sales Manager and Galapagos Expert, Celebrity Cruises

A seminar guaranteed to enrich your knowledge of one of the most amazing destinations on Earth. Celebrity’s own Global Sales Manager and “Galapagos Expert”, Susana Romero, will be leading you on an incredible journey where you will learn about our all-inclusive, environmentally conscious vacations packages in the Galapagos Islands. There is no place on Earth quite like the Galapagos Islands, and no better way to experience it than in Modern Luxury style, onboard Celebrity Xpedition, We are experts at combining up-close encounters with some of the world's rarest wildlife with generous amounts of the good life onboard… after all, we have been delivering the best vacation experiences in the Galapagos Islands for 10 years.

Presented By:
Sponsored By:

4:15pm - 4:45pm
 

FOCUS: WORLDWIDE
Mary Murrin, Business Development Manager, River Cruise Sales Specialist, Tauck

Presented By:
Tauck World Discovery

Sponsored By:

Sunday - January 12, 2014

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

11:30am - 1:00pm

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

11:30am - 12noon
 

FOCUS: CANADA
Getting to Know Northwest Ontario, Canada—Exotic Outdoor Experiences in Chicago’s Backyard
Paul Anthony Pepe, Manager of Tourism for the City of Thunder Bay, marketing lead for Northwest Ontario’s touring and outdoor adventure programs, Chair of Cruise Ontario

Imagine some of the planet’s most pristine natural environment, endless boreal forests, hundreds of thousands of lakes, rivers and streams, the planet’s largest freshwater lake and countless parks and protected areas to explore. Imagine this outdoor Nirvana woven together with thousands of years of human history and an eclectic cultural and culinary flavor. Now imagine this Canadian destination only an hour from Chicago.

That’s Northwest Ontario. Engage with Northwest Ontario tourism marketing personality Paul Anthony Pepe as he shares some of the region’s top iconic Canadian outdoor experiences that are as close as an hour’s direct flight from Chicago or a day’s drive. Learn more about such adventures as big water sailing vacations, iconic float plane adventures to a remote lodge or mushing a dog team through the boreal forest. Explore Lake Superior’s coast by motorcycle, paddle a canoe or kayak through the region’s provincial and national parks, eight thousand years of human settlement and the art it inspires or a luxury yacht cruise on Lake of the Woods. Canada’s great outdoor experiences are easy to get to and Paul will help get you excited about your next epic Canadian journey.

Presented By: Ontario Tourism – Northwest Ontario

12:10pm - 12:40pm
 

FOCUS: SOUTHEAST ASIA
Myanmar Today: Peaks, People and Parables
Dr. Antonia Neubauer, President, Myths and Mountains

Myanmar is a magical country where people kiss by sniffing and there are eight days in a week! Fairy tale pagodas in cotton candy colors of pink and blue dot the landscape, people cover their face with white powder from the bark of a tree, and clouds and mist cast a romantic tropical haze over the country. It is a country caught in a time warp, isolated from the rest of the world for more than 30 years and leaping precipitously into modernity. Each day new shops spring up. Modern hotels are under construction in every city. Restaurants are catering to a rapidly growing tourist market. Join Myths and Mountains President, Dr. Antonia Neubauer on a journey through Myanmar, the largest country in Southeast Asia, travel from the ocean to snow-capped peaks, and meet some of the 135 nationalities that live within the country's borders.

Presented By:

12:50pm - 1:20pm
 

FOCUS: ALASKA 
Land of the Midnight Sun and Adventures Year Round
Jara Haas, Visit Anchorage/Alaska Land & Cruise Adventures

Anchorage may be Alaska’s largest city, but that doesn’t mean the frontier is far off. Anchorage is a modern city surrounded by spectacular wilderness and filled with outdoor adventures and urban amenities. The city is home to comfortable hotels, but also as many as 1,500 moose. There are world class dining options, but also hundreds of miles of trails, perfect for hiking, biking and wildlife viewing. The city sits next to one of the largest state parks in the nation, Chugach State Park, with 500,000 acres of wilderness, wildlife and high adventure. Iconic national parks: Denali, Kenai Fjords, Wrangell-St. Elias, Lake Clark and Katmai national parks are all within easy reach of the city by road, rail or air.
Presented By:

1:15pm - 2:15pm

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: CRUISE
Royal Caribbean – The Royal AdvantageSM
Marianne Hessler, Royal Caribbean International

Join Marianne Hessler from Royal Caribbean International to learn more about the Royal Advantage. After 40 years of cruising, Royal Caribbean has learned a thing or two about innovation at sea. There's only one rule: Anything is possible. We push the limits of the imagination for a vacation that exceeds every expectation. The vacation you deserve. We call it the Royal AdvantageSM - our promise to give you the most innovative ships, exciting worldwide destinations and best personalized service to each and every guest.With hundreds of destinations in 72 countries on 6 continents to choose from, all you have to do is pick a spot and go. While you sail, enjoy first-at-sea experiences on our innovative ships such as the FlowRider® surf simulator, rock-climbing walls, zip line, ice-skating rink, AquaTheater shows and Boardwalk® carousel. Whether you're lounging at the pool, enjoying a gourmet meal in the dining room, relaxing with a massage in the spa or taking a break in your room, you will be wowed by our Gold Anchor Service®. AAA has 6 Custom Vacation Collection departures that have been customized with every detail in mind. Come and find out about our exclusive trips to the Caribbean, Europe, Canada/New England and Alaska.

Presented By:
Sponsored By:

2:05pm - 2:35pm
 

FOCUS: IRELAND
Martina Kavanagh, Ireland Travel Director, Trafalgar and Brendan Vacations

Presented By:
Sponsored By:

2:45pm - 3:15pm
 

FOCUS: CRUISE
Jamie Lund, Regent Seven Seas Cruises

Enjoy the most inclusive cruise experience ever. This is cruising as it was meant to be — a luxurious world where everything is included without exception and without compromise. Personal service soars into the sublime aboard our elegant ships, liberating you to follow your heart, fulfill your desires, and explore exciting new places in complete and absolute comfort. Expect gratifying luxuries. Anticipate the world’s most exotic destinations. Indulge in world-class cuisine. Trust that your voyage will be enlightening in ways you never imagined. Regent Seven Seas Cruises® promises an extraordinary experience. Enjoy … It’s all included

Presented By: Regent Seven Seas
Sponsored By:

3:20pm - 3:50pm
 

FOCUS: U.S.
Lou Macaluso,
Regional Sales Manager, Universal Orlando Resort

Come and discover what is new at Universal Orlando Resorts.

Presented by: Universal Orlando Resort
Sponsored By:

2:30pm - 3:30pm

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