Indiana Daily Student

Travel Media Showcase to come to Bloomington

In recognition of the city’s growing tourism status, more than 175 of the country’s foremost travel journalists will convene in Bloomington next August for the 15th Annual Travel Media Showcase.

Designed to give journalists, editors and travel bureaus the opportunity to network and improve the practice of travel journalism, the four-day event will begin Aug. 11, 2015, at the Bloomington/Monroe County Convention ?Center.

More than 1.84 million people visit Bloomington and its surrounding area each year, making it one of the state’s most visited destinations, according to Visit Bloomington.

Travel Media Showcase producer Joanne Vero said the city’s ability to cater to a wide variety of travelers was the key factor in its ?selection.

“Multi-generational travel is very big right now, and this destination is very aware of that and they’re able to highlight what could go for each different generation,” Vero said. “Family travel is the largest segment that is traveling right now, so when a destination shows they have something for all the different generations that may be traveling, their destination is picked.”

Securing selection as a TMS host city is a process that can take years, Vero said.

Visit Bloomington , the city’s main source of tourism promotion, led the way in planning and submitting the proposal to host the 2015 conference.

Erin Erdmann , Visit Bloomington’s convention sales and travel media director , said the showcase will provide an opportunity for the area to gain more exposure in traditional travel media outlets.

“Visit Bloomington couldn’t be more pleased to have our community selected as the 2015 host destination, especially since this is the first time Travel Media Showcase has been in Indiana,” Erdmann said. “Our goal, as always, is to provide an amazing visitor experience so the writers will be eager to create feature stories on Bloomington, Monroe County and surrounding areas.”

By pulling in $326 million to the area annually, hospitality and tourism make up Monroe County’s third largest economic sector.

Visit Bloomington Executive Director Mike McAfee said the showcase and the media exposure that comes with it will boost that figure in both the short and long term.

“Hosting many of the best travel media journalists in the business is a rare opportunity for Bloomington,” McAfee said. “The publicity and awareness generated by the stories they write after their time spent here will motivate more visitors to choose Bloomington and Monroe County as a travel destination, resulting in a positive impact on our economy that will be felt for years to come.”

That economic impact is one Vero said she has seen in nearly every city she has brought her ?conference.

In narrowing down potential host cities, Vero looks for under-the-radar destinations, resulting in growth for both the showcase and the cities it calls home.

“What I like to do is I like to introduce a destination that might not be constantly in the news or being spoken about,” Vero said. “I like to bring my media to experience something that they don’t even know exists.

“I do believe it is definitely a way to increase tourism and just about every host that we have had will see they get a higher amount of travel after the event happens.”

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