Photo credit: Yvette Caslin with Steed Media Service

The National Tour Association, along with the Faith Travel Association, took a trip to Atlanta for Travel Exchange 2016 from Jan. 31-Feb. 4. Travel professionals converged from all over the world at the Georgia World Congress Center to develop business relationships and learn about some of the greatest tourist destinations in the U.S. and abroad.

Booths representing various tourist spots were spread throughout the conference space. Travel representatives for Mexico; the Norwegian Cruise Line; Broadway; Las Vegas; Salt Lake City; Simi Valley, California, and elsewhere set up eye-catching displays. For instance, Huntsville, Alabama, showcased the city’s signature country music with singer Joseph Baldwin performing well-known hits, and Milwaukee, home of the Harley-Davidson Museum, displayed one of the bike brand’s old-fashioned models.

Travel Exchange 2016-9

The new OUE Skyspace L.A. skyscraper also had its own booth accompanied by breathtaking photos of the structure, which is still under construction. The Los Angeles observation deck will be a thrill attraction that is 1,000 feet high — the tallest building west of Chicago — with 360-degree views of the city. It will also be available for weddings, corporate meetings, and many other special events.

Photo credit: Yvette Caslin with Steed Media Service

Brian Jemison, OUE Skyspace L.A. representative

“The building has been there for 25-30 years, it was a US Bank tower. Now OUE owns it, and it’s now doing $60 million construction inside,” said Brian Jemison, Skyspace L.A. director of sales and marketing. “Skyspace’s attraction part is basically the modern version of the Empire State Building on the West Coast.”

OUE Skyspace L.A. is scheduled to be completed by June 2016.

Photo credit: Yvette Caslin with Steed Media Service

Dyrelle Haynes, Macy’s representative

Macy’s beauty specialists also set up a booth to advertise the company’s new [email protected]’s program. While the employees from Atlanta’s Lenox Mall location gave brave participants mini-makeovers, [email protected]’s supervisor Dyrelle Haynes explained how the project works and how it benefits tourists.

[email protected]’s is a new program rolled out at a few stores in select districts. We offer personal shopping and specialize in special events, such as fashion shows,” she explained. “We offer 10 percent off to all tourists, whether international or domestic within 100 miles of whatever location you’re visiting.”

Cirque du Soleil Paramour (Photo credit: Kacie Whaley with Steed Media Service)

Cirque du Soleil Paramour (Photo credit: Kacie Whaley with Steed Media Service)

Travel Exchange also offered seminars several times each day, such as How to Work with a Tour Guide, Women in Travel, and Travel Exchange 101. The convention also delivered great food and exciting entertainment for attendees. Over a plate of baked chicken and salad in the ballroom next door to the convention space, attendees were treated to terrific performances sponsored by Broadway Inbound and NYC & Company. Singers from the Tony Award-winning Broadway production Jersey Boys treated the audience to a few tunes, and acrobats from Cirque du Soleil Paramour put on an awe-inducing show.

The next stops for Travel Exchange will be in St. Louis from Feb.26-March 2, 2017, and San Antonio from Dec.14-18, 2017.

Kacie Whaley

I'm a writer and philosopher.