By Denise Mattia
The 10th Annual New York Times Travel Show at the Jacob Javits Convention Center in Manhattan from January 18th to the 20th opened with a ribbon-cutting ceremony presented by American Express. Featured were over 500 exhibitors representing over 150 countries. Sponsors included Thailand, Peru, Bermuda, South Africa, Puerto Rico in addition to travel associations and magazine publications.
At the Adrenaline Zone, thrills were within easy reach with adventurers testing their abilities at the bungee trampoline, climbing the wall and taking a chance to win prizes in addition to visiting the penguins at SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment.
For safari lovers the Africa Travel Association and the Association for Promotion of Tourism to Africa offered a glimpse into a world where creatures large and small roam the land, while the Zambezi Safari and Travel Company gave scuba divers an insight into the underwater world. Keep an eye out for a destination farther north: Morocco is becoming increasingly popular.
At the Asian section and pavilion stages, Indonesian and Japanese dancers moved gracefully to traditional rhythms, giving viewers a glimpse into Asian cultures. Everyone stopped to watch a huge calligraphic sign from Taiwan being created and to listen harmonies played on authentic instruments from there and Central Asia’s Silk Road destinations.
Visitors warmed their hearts with rum from the Caribbean, with booths that rang with regge from Jamaica and steel pan drummers from St. Kitts and Nevis, while swaying hips from Barbados’ women in native dress turned many an eye. Colorful brochures were given to those vacationers who were planning scuba and cultural destinations in Belize. Visitors clustered around the Bonaire, Cayman, Curacao, Dominica the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico booths.
On the North American side of the pavilion, Canada’s Quebec, Newfoundland, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island (wish they’d brought oysters) offered long weekend ideas. With great restaurants and growing industries that produce wine, coffee, nuts and oils as well as wood and paper products, Canada has become a popular destination.
The United States was well represented too, with more than 70 booths displaying the best of beaches, mountain scenes, vineyards, museums, amusement parks and entertainment. New Jersey’s famous boardwalk remained in pristine condition, despite erroneous reports of damage from hurricane Sandy.
Across the pond (actually just across an aisle), visitors stopped to have their picture taken with the sea-dwelling sponge at the Norwegian Cruise Line‘s booth. Both VisitBritain and Atout France drew crowds, with Marseilles being a Capital of Culture and London getting Europe’s tallest building when the Shard opens this spring.
Door prizes, drawings, giveaways and a charity auction completed the exciting, fun-filled three-day calendar of events.
About Denise Mattia
A writer and photographer, Denise Mattia’s works are published nationally and internationally and include all aspects of leisure travel: art , culture, resorts, spas, food and wine and sports’ activities. She's the founder of the soon to be launched Yum-Yum-Traveler, a site devoted to reviewing restaurants in addition to her travel articles from around the world. She lives and works in Manhattan, where she was born.