Travel Industry Shines at San Diego's Travel and Adventure Show

MARCH 18, 2015
Eric Anderson, MD & Nancy Anderson, RN
This 2015 travel and adventure show stopped off in San Diego in mid-February to be welcomed by 40% more attendees than last year. Indeed, travel has significantly rebounded from the recent recession-era lows and John Golicz, the entrepreneur who started those shows has certainly seen his passion in travel rewarded.
He is the opening speaker at this show sponsored by the Travel Channel and supported also by the Taiwan Tourism Bureau and Rick Steves’ Europe, all 3 very much in evidence. The show, now in its 13th year, “gives travel enthusiasts the chance to dream, plan, and book trips with inside local information from thousands of experts who man the booths at the events.” The first show launched in January 2003 in New York City with attendance topping 26,000. After 60 shows and over 1 million attendees to date, Golicz and his company say they have influenced over $2.6 billion in travel decisions.
Golicz is a comfortable speaker. He tells his audience listening to his ideas on how to “Travel Smart, Travel Fun” that he learned about traveling smart when he took his family to London and they wanted to see the most popular event in the city, the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace. “We arrived late,” he said, “along with a million other people and couldn’t see anything!”
He pulled out Rick Steves’ book and found Rick had addressed this event with “Come early and the best place to watch is standing on this statue…” Golicz found where the statue was and hurried his group over to it. Now they had a view! There was some bustle beside him. He looked around and there was Rick Steves with staff who were shooting TV for one of his programs! He’s lucky Steves didn’t scold him for not coming early!
San Diego Travel Show
The show varied from celebrity speakers on noisy stages to quiet booths with all the time in the world for attendees to ask questions. We found Dan Drennen, the director of sales and marketing for the Travel Insurance Center, standing with his sign saying travel insurance can take the bite out of unexpected expenses.
Physicians at times see fraudulent work and accident claims so we asked if there was much fraud in travel insurance claims. He thought not. “Most people buying insurance for a trip want to go rather than make false claims and not go.” Any fraud tends to be in false baggage claims where the incident may be exaggerated and the contents over-valued. “But people make mistakes,” says Drennen, “The first believing their insurance covers everything.
“The remedy,” he says, “is to find a reputable broker who will walk you through the policy, an agent who knows those policies inside and out.” Such a broker can explain why a pre-existing condition may not be covered and if, indeed, a policy can offer a waiver if bought 15-21 days before travel. Some policies might offer help with pre-existing conditions if stability can be shown in the condition.
The second mistake travelers can make is not creating complete documentation of events in their purchase of the insurance. Third mistake? If evacuation insurance has been purchased the travelers must let the insurance company deal with the evacuation process and not arrange it themselves. The insurance company will get better rates and not leave a balance due the evacuating service.
The show space seemed crammed with booths offering African safaris and we walked around them feeling like Ernest Hemingway.

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