NYT Travel Show: Post 2 (ComicCon v. The Civilized World)
Friday, February 6, 2009
After about five minutes of waiting in a line that stretched from one end to the other of the massive lobby of the Javits Center, I overheard the guy behind me say, “I was thinking of wearing my ‘1985 Pac-Man Champion’ t-shirt today, but it was way too dirty.”
“Maybe this is the wrong line,” I thought to myself, noting that this was not the type of thing you’d hear the typical travel agent or tourism board’s representative say. Then I caught sight of a woman (I think) dressed up as a Star Trek extra (I think). This is when I realized that ComicCon 2009 and the New York Times Travel Show had switched ends of the hall this year. The line I was looking for was the far shorter, much less interestingly dressed one back at the South entrance.
Guess which of these lines was the one I wanted.
The morning of the first day is filled with lectures aimed mainly at travel agents and tour operators, not exactly my cup of tea, but at least lunch is included. The main event opens up later this afternoon, then opens to the public for the rest of the weekend. This year the show organized a “Focus on Africa” panel of speakers in conjunction with the normal presenters, focusing, as the name suggests, on Africa.
The first set of speakers that I saw (yes, I slept in and missed the 9:30 talk, but give me a break, I really wanted to be fully rested and on top of my game all weekend) featured representative from airliners based in Africa, all of whom are feeling the crunch of the economic turndown, and all of whom are offering a slew of deals to improve business (South African Airlines is offering 2 for 1 flights and Virgin Airlines is announcing direct flights from New York with discounted fares).
The second panel discussed the range of travel options for Africa, from luxurious safaris, off-the-beaten treks to the continent’s gorgeous islands, and the amazing opportunities North Africa offers for travelers.
I’ll be heading upstairs now to the main hall for the real fun. Check back later for updates with some video and pictures. Tomorrow the show opens up to the public, including a schedule of speakers and performers beginning early in the morning. I’ll be setting my alarm this time.