Ever since she mentioned it, I started “hearing” it everywhere. Apparently the Vakantiebeurs is quite the travel event, so I inquired to my American writer friend Jessica who lives in Amsterdam. If I didn’t mention it before, Jessica knows the best places in town to satisfy your tastebuds, especially when it comes to pancakes. This could be due to the fact that she’s been working on a book about all the different life stories of restaurant owners in Amsterdam. The title has yet to be released to the public but I’ll let you know as soon as it’s been decided.Jessica has written for several publications, such as 10Best.com, which is part of USAToday, as well as held positions as project manager and in sales and marketing. She had actually been to the Vakantiebeurs before with one of her old companies, so I asked if she’d like to come with.Because we are both involved in the travel industry, we were given free passes for the entire week event. And for a bonus, we got to bring a friend, or in my case, a mom.
The first two days were reserved for businesses and trades only, so it was very fun to see the “backstage” part of the travel industry. I was instantly impressed by the size of the event with over 1,400 exhibitors and it became all too clear why it is one of the most important touristic consumer events in the world. My days of trade shows during the book tours came to mind and thinking of the behind the scenes efforts of set up and take down days made me cringe. There were amazing displays and booths representing every country. It was extremely fun to re-explore the world by simply walking the aisles, from Asia to Europe to Africa and spot all of the different countries I’ve been to which sparked various old memories. I loved entering all of the different culture/continent themes.
We even got on the front cover of National Geographic!!! Hhaha, nah, I wish. But we DID meet and shake hands with Paul Romer, the Managing Editor of National Geographic in Holland. We had a great chat about travel and he spoke very highly of his time in Vancouver, Vancouver Island and The Rockies. These guys definitely know the best spots!On the second day, the public was also welcome, so it was much, much busier! In the beginning of the day, all of the travel bloggers went upstairs to a meeting hall where we listened to three speakers. The first was Melvin Bocher, founder of popular travel chat #TTOT (Travel Talk on Tuesday), who spoke about the value and importance of travel bloggers. One of the most shocking things was the costs of traditional advertising. A single page ad in a magazine can be upward of $100,000. Some of the figures were mind blowing.
The second was Lenneke Loman speaking about DFDS Seaways and how businesses and bloggers can work together. It was very inspiring!
The third was the Curacao Tourist Board, also speaking about the importance of Social Media and how we can work together.
It was very great to hear, and has absolutely motivated me to keep pursuing my dream as an author, writer, blogger and traveller.
I absolutely loved rubbing shoulders and being in a room with my mentors and travel blogging peers.
After two days at the vakantiebeurs, I skied, flew, camped, cruised, relaxed at the beach, made new connections in the travel industry and my already ravenous appetite for travel is ready to burst. I need adventure!
Big things are coming in 2015, I feel it!