20 Sources for Travel Writing Press Trips and Conferences 2019
Want to travel the world and get paid for it? Looking for invitations for international tourism board group press trips or curious about how to get hotel, airfare and destination support for an individual media trip? You’re not alone. These are some of the most popular questions I get asked as a Canadian travel writer.
Public relations firms and destination marketing organizations (DMOs) are responsible for inviting journalists on press trips or arranging media visits, both group and individual. Where can you find the best travel writing conferences and meet with PR professionals?
Table of Contents
- 20 Conferences with Press Trip Opportunities in 2019 and 2020
- 1. North America Travel Journalists Association
- 2.TBEX Europe and TBEX North America 2019
- 3. Travel Media Association of Canada
- 4. IPW
- 5. Society of American Travel Writers
- 6. The World Travel Market (WTM)
- 7. International Food, Wine & Travel Writers Association
- 8. Travel Classics Writers Conference
- 9. Visit Europe Media Exchange ( VEMEX)
- 10. GoMedia Canada Marketplace
- 11. Travel South Showcase
- 12. Travel Media Showcase
- 13. Adventure Travel World Summit
- 14. The KITI
- 15. Travel Massive
- 16. Mid-Atlantic Media Marketplace
- 17. Adventure Travel Mexico
- 18. Tianguis Turistico
- 19. Women in Travel Summit
- 20: Tourism Boards
- How to Work with Public Relations Companies
- Other Resources for Travel Journalists
20 Conferences with Press Trip Opportunities in 2019 and 2020
Here are some of the best conferences and resources for travel writers, bloggers or other media professionals who want to network with travel industry pros and discover the best press trip opportunities in 2019 (updated May 30, 2019).
1. North America Travel Journalists Association
The annual NATJA conference offers its members the opportunity to meet with US, Canadian and international tourism representatives, attend personal development sessions, network with other travel writers/editors and participate in destination tours as well as pre and post press tours.
In 2019, the NATJA Conference & Marketplace was held in Syracuse, New York from May 15-May 18, 2019. In 2020, it will be held in Puerto Rico. A wide selection of Pre and Post Press trips will be available for attendees. NATJA membership is by qualification and there is a fee to attend the conference. Get details at North America Travel Journalists Association
2.TBEX Europe and TBEX North America 2019
If you’re a travel blogger, podcaster, videographer or writer, TBEX offers an opportunity to network with fellow new media creators and industry professionals such as PR representatives, major brands, tourism boards and destination marketing organizations.
The fee to attend is relatively low and there are generally attractively discounted accommodation options and a wealth of pre and post trips.
TBEX North America will be held between September 11-13, 2019 in Billings Montana. For bloggers, this is one of the best sources for press trip opportunities and collaborations in North America. Get details at TBEX
TBEX Europe 2020 will be held in Catania, Sicily in Italy between March 13-20, 2020. get details on TBEX Sicily.
3. Travel Media Association of Canada
Canada’s national trade association representing qualified members of the travel media will hold their 2019 conference in Sault Ste Marie Ontario from June 19, 2019 to June 23, 2019. Monthly Munch n’ Mingle events and directory listings offer the opportunity to meet with industry pros. Membership in TMAC is by qualification and there is a fee to attend the conference.Get details at Travel Media Association of Canada
Related: If you’re headed to Victoria and have to pass through Vancouver, check out these ideas for great day trips from Vancouver.
The 3-day U.S. Travel Association’s IPW is the travel industry’s top international marketplace and brings together 6,000 attendees including more than 1,000 U.S. travel organizations as well as international media. During the event, travel journalists also have the opportunity to participate in specialized press tours and can also sign-up for official post-FAMs offered by the state. In 2019, it will take place in Anaheim, California, June 1-5 and in 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada from May 30-June 3, 2020. Get details at IPW
5. Society of American Travel Writers
Qualify to join this prestigious organization and you’ll be attending conferences ( and pre/post trips) in exciting locations. In 2019, the SATW convention will be held in El Paso Texas from October 20-24, 2019. Plus, you’ll be listed in a Directory that’s a go-to spot for PR and travel industry pros. Get details at Society of American Travel Writers
6. The World Travel Market (WTM)
WTM is the grand-daddy of travel industry events, drawing almost 48,000 industry professionals across four days. Score an invitation to this conference and you’ll meet with reps from over 150 countries – Angola to Uzbekistan. Get details at World Travel Market
7. International Food, Wine & Travel Writers Association
This network of journalists covering the hospitality industry offers an annual conference as well as ongoing press trip opportunities for Taste & Tour events in foodie destinations such as Missouri, Switzerland and California. Get details atInternational Food, Wine & Travel Writers Association
8. Travel Classics Writers Conference
This event offers pre/ post conference trips and includes presentations & workshops with top magazine editors, one-on-one consultations with 6-8 guest editors (not for the tongue-tied). This conference is focused more on the craft of writing and building contacts with editors than press trip opportunities.
9. Visit Europe Media Exchange ( VEMEX)
Presented by the European Travel Commission, the Visit Europe Media Exchange (VEMEX) is a one day forum in late October for industry professionals and invited travel media. Formerly held in three locations in North America, it’s a whirlwind series of one-on-one appointments much like speed dating.
In 2019, VEMEX will be held in New York City at the Bohemian National Hall on October 30, 2019. Register on the VEMEX website to receive an invitation. Get details at VEMEX
Be ready to pitch your best story ideas to industry representatives at break-neck speed. If there’s a match, you may be invited on a press visit. If not, at least you’ll have a suitcase full of swag and plenty of story ideas. There is no charge for invited media.
10. GoMedia Canada Marketplace
Sponsored by the Canadian Tourism Commission, this is where Canada’s provinces, territories and industry suppliers strut their stuff in a selection of first rate pre/post conference press trip opportunities. In 2018 GoMedia Canada was be held in Calgary, Alberta and will be in Ottawa in 2019.
Prospective attendees must register at the beginning of each year to be considered. There is no fee to attend and airfare/transportation is usually provided for qualified and invited attendees.
11. Travel South Showcase
This conference is focused mostly on tour operators and suppliers but still offers plenty of networking and city FAM tours for travel trade journalists looking for an excuse to visit Waffle House or enjoy some southern hospitality in the winter. The 7th annual Travel South USA International Showcase will be in Baton Rouge March 8-11, 2020.
12. Travel Media Showcase
This annual 2-day event, held in different U.S. cities each year, offers an opportunity for travel journalists and travel industry professionals to meet one-on-one, at a single location. A wide range of often unique Pre/Post tours can make it worth braving the intense appointment schedule. TMS will be held in Atlanta, Georgia between August 20 and 23, 2019. Get details at Travel Media Showcase
13. Adventure Travel World Summit
Strap on your mountaineering gear for this conference focused on outdoor adventure, extreme sports and professional development. The 2018 Adventure Travel World Summit will be held in Gothenberg, Sweden September 16-21, 2019 features top notch speakers, networking, marketplace appointments with suppliers and plenty of opportunity to explore the host destination. Membership is by qualification
14. The KITI
Sign up for a membership to this online information exchange that unites working travel journalists and PR professionals worldwide.
Get story ideas, submit requests or respond to others according to your account level. Search, save and reply to what is of interest. The KITI
15. Travel Massive
This worldwide network of welcoming travel professionals, bloggers, new media creators and industry pros meets regularly in a social setting ( think drinks and munchies) to share information, learn about online writing craft, technology and destinations. With chapters everywhere from Amsterdam to Washington, you might be able to find ‘one in your home city.
If not, it’s worth checking out the online event calendar and joining an event on one of your travels. You’ll need to qualify, but new bloggers are welcome to join so Travel Massive is a good place to begin if you’re new to the industry. Get details at Travel Massive
16. Mid-Atlantic Media Marketplace
Hosted by the Mid-Atlantic Tourism Public Relations Alliance ( MATRA) this fall event includes press trip opportunities and media meetings with PR professionals representing Delaware, Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. The MATPRA Media Marketplace 2019 will be held in Powhatan, Ashland between September 24-26, 2019. Apply early if you’re interested in attending Mid-Atlantic Media Marketplace
17. Adventure Travel Mexico
Hosted by the Mexico Tourism Board, the ATMEX conference showcases what Mexico in terms of adventure, nature and cultural travel. It’s an opportunity to network with the people responsible for organizing immersive experiences and Mexico’s wealth of outdoor adventure destinations.
ATMEX will be taking place in Valle de Bravo, Mexico between October 23-25, 2019. FAM trips and press trip opportunities are available. Hosted Media have airfare and accommodation paid. Get details at Adventure Travel Mexico
18. Tianguis Turistico
This annual event hosted by Mexico Tourism generally takes place in Acapulco, Guerrero. In 2019, the dates are April 7-10, 2019. Get details at Tianguis Turistico
19. Women in Travel Summit
This event is aimed at women travel influencers and publishers as well as brands that want to work with them. WITS North America was held in Portland Maine in May 2019 and WITS Europe will take place in Riga, Latvia from November 8-10, 2019. Visit their website at Women in Travel Summit.
20: Tourism Boards
It’s also possible to contact tourism boards directly and submit an application for an individual press trip or group trip. Most tourism boards and travel writing conferences require qualification by way of clips, significant publication circulation and readership stats and more. Competition for invitations can be fierce and press trip disclosure rules apply.
Dates, costs, fees and other details of conferences can change without notice so readers should double-check for accuracy.
How to Work with Public Relations Companies
It’s also worth mentioning that there are many other reasons to attend conferences, join professional associations and maintain relationships with public relations firms and destination marketing organizations (DMOs).
Not only are the people you meet at these media marketplace events, experts about their destinations, they often have insider access to interview sources, fact-checking resources, image banks, unique story ideas and the latest news about upcoming developments — all of which can help you write better travel stories.
Other Resources for Travel Journalists
Become Cabin Crew: If you’re not interested in freelance travel writing, you might be interested in a job as cabin crew with an airline. Check out Resources for Prospective Cabin Crew to help secure a job travelling the world with airlines such as Norwegian Air, Thai Airways, Air India and others.
Volunteer Abroad: If you’re interested in teaching English, working overseas or volunteering in a foreign country, a worthwhile website to browse is Transitions Abroad. Since 1977, it’s been helping readers explore the world and broaden their horizons.
If you’re just starting out, you might want to learn more about how to start a travel blog. You might also be interested in my How to Break into Travel Writing Online Course and Workshop.
Do you know of other sources for finding travel writing press trip opportunities or PR contacts for media visits? Do you have other favourite conferences for travel writers? Let me know and I’ll add them to the list
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