Visiting a travel fair

The New York Times Travel Show this year was held at the Javits Convention Center in New York City, Feb. 25 & 26. It was worth attending, and I would like to give ITN readers an idea as to what goes on at a travel fair.

Members of the travel industry attended on Friday, the 24th, and the general public was invited on subsequent days (Saturday 10-7 p.m. and Sunday 10-5). The entrance charge of $15 per day was reasonable, considering the big-name travel companies whose representatives gladly answered questions regarding available programs.

There were over 200 exhibitors in the Javits Convention Center (655 West 34th St., New York, NY 10001-1188; phone 212/216-2110), with about 80 dealing with international travel. Some tour operators focused their business in one area, such as African safaris. Tourism board exhibitors from several countries also were on hand promoting their tourist attractions.

In addition to the exhibitor booths, on the main stage there were shows, lectures and an interview of British author Simon Winchester, who wrote “Krakatoa: The Day the World Exploded, August 27, 1883.” Seminars and workshops were held throughout the day as well.

Exhibitors know that people who visit the show are serious about leisure travel opportunities. Many of the brochures handed out — and there were a ton of them — were beautifully designed. The “freebies” given out at the travel fair included discounts available at certain hotels in the U.S. and Canada.

This year, entertainment included an ensemble doing a samba. Dances endemic to other global areas also were performed. A surprisingly large temporary pool had been installed for anyone interested in taking a lesson in scuba diving.

In 2007, the travel show is scheduled for Feb. 23-25. For information or tickets, contact the New York Times (888/698-1870,

Demarest, NJ