More than 200 tour operators and travel suppliers recently got together at NAJ’s Active America-China Summit in Fort Worth for several days of discussion, networking and face-to-face business appointments. And sometimes, they came to face-to-face with the Inbound Report’s photographer. Here are samples of what he saw.
An entertaining South Dakota breakfast presentation came from these three delegates to the Active America-China Summit (left-to-right): Cole Irwin, international and domestic sales representative, South Dakota Department of Tourism; Julie Jones-Whitcher, director of tourism, Rapid City CVB; and Amanda Allcock, director of sales, Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation.
Uri Argov, founder and CEO, surprised delegates with his suggestion that Chinese investors are likely to end up prevailing among those parties seeking to acquire Hotelbeds.com, which has been put up for sale by its owner, TUI.
Awaiting his turn to take the podium and explain to delegates the ins and outs of the luxury travel market is Charlie Gu, director of the Los Angeles-based China Luxury Advisors.
Just finished with his detailed presentation on the growth of the China UnionPay card is Bob Jing, the company’s head of East Coast Marketing in the U.S.
Jan Ie Low, part of the NAJ Group’s event team at the Active America Summit, at the launch of her high-octane “how-to” presentation during which she helped delegates join and better understand WeChat, the mobile communications platform used by 650 million Chinese subscribers.
Denny Xia, travel trade director, East West Marketing, helping Robin Hansen (left), marketing director for the Fashion Outlets of Las Vegas; and Beth Harwood, sales manager for the Crowne Plaza in Seattle, as they try to better understand how to use WeChat.
No, it’s not a testimonial session. Rather, it is an entire table of Active America delegates positioning their smartphones in order to join WeChat by scanning a huge QRC symbol on a large screen in the front of the meeting room.
Andrea Guzman (right), sales director, Napa Valley Wine Train, waits while Estelle Miller, director of tourism development for Hornblower Cruises and Events, begins her mastery of WeChat.
Completely oblivious to the presence of our photographer, Amanda Jang, tour and travel trade sales manager, Asia & Pacific, Hornblower Niagara Cruises; and Harvey Hamazaki, marketing and trade consultant-Asia, Ontario Tourism Marketing Partnership Corp., work on messaging via WeChat.
Discussing the ways in which the expression “China Ready” have changed in the past five years are: Charlie Zhou, president, CPTrip Service; Christine Leader, marketing director, New Sun International Travel; and Denny Xia, travel trade director, East West Marketing.
Managing smiles even though they are having their luncheon interrupted, are: Xiaoquin Li (left), manager, Great Training & Tours Company; and Shaoying Zhang, manager of product II, Caissa Touristic, Shanghai Branch.
Irene Chase (center), tourism sales and marketing coordinator for the Fort Worth CVB, goes over last-minute instructions for the 23 Chinese students from the University of Texas at Arlington who will serve as translators during the business appointment sessions between Chinese tour operators and U.S. travel suppliers.
No matter what section of the meeting room one saw, every table was busy during the business sessions. Here is just one view during business appointment session No. 5. At bottom right is Mary Keegan, director of sales, Global Hospitality Marketing Link.
Showing everyone how to take the perfect selfie is Rolland Chang, sales manager, worldwide sales—Asia, North America leisure travel, Best Western International, prior to the early evening train ride excursion that Active America delegates took from the Stockyards Station.
Waiting to board the excursion train are Jordan Waddell (left), marketing manager at the National 4-H Youth Conference Center in Washington, D.C., and Vickie Evans, senior account representative, Global Tourism, The Henry Ford.
How many people can you fit into a selfie? Here we find (left-to-right): Rolland Chang, sales manager, worldwide sales—Asia, North America leisure travel, Best Western International; Marty Deng, general manager, Best Western Plus South Bay Hotel in Lawndale, Cailfornia; Marianna Khauv, owner of the Best Western Chelsea Inn & Suites, in Monticello, Minnesota; and Rossana Wang, sales, Best Western Plus South Bay Hotel in Lawndale, California.
It’s always time to check your e-mail or your Facebook or WeChat account. This is what we find Jennifer Oshiro, sales manager, Blue Man Group, doing as she waits for the early evening train ride to start.
Two Floridians who enjoyed each other’s company as the train ride is about to get under way are: (left) Sabine Chilton, international sales manager, Florida Keys and Key West; and Nancy Hahn Bono, senior global development director, Visit Orlando.
Two delegates about to enjoy the evening are: Alina Xiang, general manager, East West Marketing Corporation, Beijing; and Hongyu Ji, vice general manager of Beijing-based Fancy Tours.
Taking in the train ride experience are: (right) Sofia Williamsson, chief operating officer of the NAJ Group; and Estelle Miller, director, tourism development, Hornblower Cruises & Events.
Clearly enjoying the train ride are (left-to-right): Vicki Evans, senior account representative, global tourism, The Henry Ford; Elizabeth Davis, director of sales, Niagara USA; and Irene Chase, tourism sales and marketing coordinator for the Fort Worth CVB.
The train reflects itself in one of its windows as it goes around a bend somewhere in the wilds of Grapevine, Texas.
Harolyn Falgoust, convention and tourism sales, Monroe-West Monroe (La.) CVB, explains why she’s one of the first delegates appearing for breakfast on Friday morning.
Taking care of business before breakfast begins on Friday is a contingent from Houston (left-to-right): Yuting Chien, Asia-Pacific representative, Greater Houston CVB; Jorge Franz, senior vice president of tourism, Greater Houston CVB; and Leo Yao, Asia-Pacific representative, Greater Houston CVB.
Ever wonder who does this? Kiko Chen, from East West Marketing and a member of the NAJ Active America event team, holds the microphone as Sofia Williamsson, NAJ’s chief operating officer, sounds the chime for the first business appointment session on Friday morning.
AA #56: And they’re off! Just seconds after the chimes have sounded for the first business appointment session on Friday morning, U.S. suppliers and Chinese tour operators are already involved in intense conversations. In the rear-center of the photo, one operator is raising her hand to signal one of the volunteer interpreters from the University of Texas at Arlington that she needs assistance.