I have to wonder this: why are all these Travel Blog Exchange conferences in the most expensive countries on the planet?
Why not have them in places where travelers can actually afford to go?
Like Central America, Southeast Asia, Morocco, the Balkans -- 90% of the countries on the planet.
Wade -- are you suggesting that a conference be set up in Mexico? I travelled there in 2008 and there was a pretty serious "situation" going on down there. While the police were trying hard to clean it up, last I checked, there are still problems. You might be comfortable going there (or other countries in similar states of instability), but others might not.
I think the beauty of this site (TBEX) is that it's a mix of different types of travel bloggers. I'm not a backpacker, but I'm definitely not in the "upper end of the travel industry" either.
People should partake in whichever conferences they can afford and are interested in attending.
All good points Gary.
Look in the sidebar as there is a widget showing where the recent visitors of this site are. This does not directly indicated "users" and the resolution is poor, but it is something to go off of.
Looks like a lot of action coming from SE Asia
There's a separation these days between travel blogs and their former role as travelogues. Since all this "make a million" from your travel blog came about, along with blogging as a whole has become more respected/mainstream, the mere definition of a blog has moved on.
I joined up here on the first day hoping it would be more traveler community focused (as in travelers who travel, and blog). It's moved more to the business / marketing side of things. Everyone and their aunt these days wants to make $$ from their travel blog. So be it.
So, from this perspective I don't blame the TBEX group targeting developed countries. They have to get their name out there first. Become established. Then it can filter down the line.
Ultimately though yes, I think it's good that Wade has brought this up as no one else has. I do also think there is no reason it could not be held in a developing country. I am quite sure there would be a mass of sponsors ready to add their name to the pile. Let's not forget who'd doing well economically these days and who's not.
In terms of infrastructure many developing countries have great internet and business facilities. Does Thailand not have a deluge of people stopping off for months at a time writing travel blogs and creating start ups? I know the Philippines has some of the best internet conference rooms in the world (in the right places), not to mention one of the biggest blogging communities in the world. They even have their own giant blogger award conferences every year www.philippineblogawards.com.ph.
So no, even the humble developing country can and do have good facilities.
I think TBEX is doing the right thing as a business model.
The question is, will actual travelers who write about their travel online still be interested in attending by the time it moves on. Or, are they no longer the target audience. Or, will the marketing / tourism types and those looking to make $$$ be the only ones attending by then?
By our very nature, travel bloggers are all over the world at any given time. You can find us everywhere. But as Gary pointed out, there are clusters and most of those clusters are North America or Europe. It makes sense to have a conference where the most people are at.
Would it be great to have one in BA or Bangkok or Australia? Sure but less people would go there. It's expensive to fly half way around the world and is why you didn't see many people from Australia or Asia at TBEX NYC. It's wy you didn't see many Americans at TBEX Europe.
I think what Kim is doing is a good plan: expand to regional conferences. But TBEX is only a few people and it is NOT easy to organize a conference over and over and over again. Plus, you need to fill the place with speakers and make sure it's economically viable to hold. That's why there are so many sponsors so the costs are low and the conference runs and Kim doesn't need to put money out of pocket!
You say people can afford to go too but that's a matter of perspective. People can afford to go to LA to NYC easier than they can go to LA to Bangkok. You can still find cheap accommodation and food in NYC.
All good points.
I commend the organizers of TBEX for what they're doing. They're trying to put together an "affordable" (that's a relative term) conference that will be interesting to all different types of travel bloggers. If everything works out well, those attending the conf will walk away with some new knowledge and maybe some new contacts.
I, for one, am looking forward to TBEX '11 in Vancouver. :)
" You say people can afford to go too but that's a matter of perspective. People can afford to go to LA to NYC easier than they can go to LA to Bangkok. "
Yes, and it's not only money. Convenience is a factor, too. For example: Most people in the U.S. can get to New York, Los Angeles, or Las Vegas pretty easily. Merida or Duluth, not so easily.
Logistics may be a challenge in some cases, too: My daughter once attended an academic conference in Missoula, Montana where many of the attendees had to fly into other Montana cities and rent cars to reach Missoula because airline capacity into Missoula was so limited. (The local supply of taxis was even more limited.) If the conference had taken place in a city like Chicago, logistics would have been easier for both the conference organizers and the attendees.
According to me, Japan, South Korea, Russia, Taiwan, Norway, Hong Kong, Switzerland, Denmark, Argentina, China.
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I agree there are very good reasons for doing it in the U.S. For what it's worth though, I just wanted to chime in and say I attended the Adventure Travel Trade Association conference in October and it was in San Cristobal de las Casas in Chiapas, Mexico. If they can host one for around 1,000 demanding travel industry people -- and do a great job, I think it's safe to say a whole lot of other places could too. Plus it was more fun (and cheaper) to travel around there before/after than Colorado is going to be.
Airfare was about $100 more than it would have been to Vancouver or Denver for me, but the much lower costs on the ground certainly made up for it. The real story here is behind the scenes though: what city is willing to pony up the dough to sponsor it. That's how a whole lot of travel conferences choose where to go really. That's the way it works.