2010 New York Times Travesl Show Blog (Day 2: Special Frommer Watch Edition)
Sunday, February 28, 2010
Day two of the Travel Show kicked off Saturday morning with none other than the emperor of excursion, the maharajah of movement, the tycoon of travel himself, Arthur Frommer, and his spawn of sightseeing, Pauline Frommer, who presented their top budget destinations for 2010.
Arthur’s number one destination this year is Las Vegas where, he noted, just this winter there were close to 6,000 rooms dumped on the marketplace as a result of the opening of City Center, the massive condo/hotel/shopping complex. Consequently, Arthur’s been watching rates plummet as the recession-hit city has had to cope with this extra supply, with luxury rooms beginning at $150/night, and basic rooms at some of the less desirable locations (ahem — Circus Circus) coughing up rooms for under $50 (with even more discounts to be had by picking up coupons on the strip).
Number two on his list was Central America, where Arthur noted destinations such as Panama City have been rapidly building up their infrastructure for snow birds (more condos have opened up just this year in Panama City than in Miami for the last few years combined). Add in the fact that despite the Euro’s recent decline, Central America is still far cheaper to travel around than across the Atlantic, budget travelers can’t overlook the region.
Rounding out his top three was Orlando. A dubious choice myself (I don’t care how cheap it is, it’s going to take a lot to drag me down to that swamp — no offense Orlando outside of the Disney Industrial Complex), Arthur did bring up the fact that the new Wizarding World of Harry Potter is poised to open soon, piquing the interest of those who normally would avoid Orlando.
Next up was Pauline who recently traveled to Mexico and suggested that those looking to explore tourist-free ruins, taste unforgettable food, and see unmatched works of art check out the country this year, especially with the recent bad news of swine flu and border gangs scaring off many travelers to the otherwise flu- and gang-free portions of the rest of the country.
Later on in the day I had a chance to catch up with Arthur. We discussed his blog, he checked out my new camera, and we chatted a bit about travel photography — he was surprised how much prices have come down on SLR cameras. (Arthur also told me he’s a big fan of the travel shots found on flickr.)
I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, travelers are some of the nicest, interesting, genuine people in the world, and Arthur exemplifies the best of all these qualities. Just watch him walk around the show floor and see the way people react to him and you’ll know why he’s one of the best loved in the business. He also way outdresses everyone around him. Can’t wait to meet up again in 2011. Next time I’ll spruce up the clothes a bit. Sorry about that.