I just returned from the 13th Travel Media Showcase (TMS) in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The annual event, produced by J. Vero & Associates of Freehold, New Jersey was held at the Best Western Ramkota Hotel & Conference Center.
Approximately 125 print and broadcast travel media met with destination marketing representatives from the U.S. and Canada over a three-day period. The program included two days of pre-scheduled journalist/exhibitor appointment sessions, local tours, pre and post tours and endless networking opportunities. Among the media attending were editors, staff writers, freelance writers, photographers and video and film producers. Their outlets include newspapers, magazines, television, broadcast/video/film, Internet and travel guide books.
I met with 23 exhibitors, spending about 12 minutes with each one (it's sorta like speed dating). My post-tours included De Smet, the Little Town on the Prairie and home of Laura Ingalls Wilder; Madison, home of the 50th Anniversary Steam Thrashing Jamboree, which included a parade of 140 John Deere farm machines at Prairie Village; and a food and wine tour featuring three South Dakota wineries (beet wine!) plus a stop at the South Dakota State University Dairy Plant (ice cream!) in Brookings. I was also able to spend time in downtown Sioux Falls.
TMS is an easy way to get information and new story ideas on a wide range of tourist destinations, from Quebec to Snohomish County in Washington state. This was my third showcase, having attended previous ones in Kansas City and Palm Springs, California. And obviously the host city is thrilled to be selected. "We are excited to share our community stories with the journalists this week," said Teri Schmidt, Sioux Falls CVB Executive Director, prior to last week's show.
The only Canadian exhibitors in attendance this year were Tourisme Quebec and Quebec City Tourism. Next year's event will be held August 20-23, 2013 in Rockford, Illinois. The announcement was made at the closing dinner of Travel Media Showcase and included a clever video featuring Miles Nielsen, son of Cheap Trick rock star Rick Nielsen.