New York Times Travel Show | What's new in 2020?


This is my 3rd year at the New York Times Travel Show which is currently running till tomorrow at the Javits Center. I attended the Show yesterday (as a Press on the Press-trade day) and today (was open to all!). Even though every year I find the show slightly overwhelming with loads of new insights, information, knowledge, cultural performance, culinary delights and sessions, I would say if you are around the area you must and must be a part of it. More and more people are traveling to experience new cultures in the world than ever before and we are always lacking that one-on-one guidance and human interaction that many are randomly searching online.  

Timings for tomorrow are:
Sunday (Jan 26th): 11am - 5pm
Travel Seminars list for Sunday, here

Don’t get me wrong, online is great. The online provides window to the various possibilities we may have less known otherwise, but it only people who have either experienced, lived or travelled, can tell you in detail, how it’s like to really be there.  And I am not amused to see such massive number of footfalls each year at the travel show. Because I believe people are genuinely curious to know what is going on indeed. And giveaways, performances etc. are icing on the cake.

"There’s never a dull moment in the show. In fact, there’s never a moment left to feel dull. "

So, here’s my review of 2020 New York Times Travel Show:

There’s a common misconception that Travel Shows are just for trade and media .What people need to realize is, the travel providers survive when travelers are interested. The Travel Media highlights places when those places are visited. And so, it is a great way to get in touch with cultures of different countries as a traveler. It opens up new doors of possibilities and overall, the show is so entertaining, that sometimes you are left enchanted. Who knows what may not have been in your bucket list,  and suddenly is. Some of the great examples from the Travel show were: 

  1. The upcoming Dubai 2020 Expo opening on Oct 20th. It is the largest congregation of humanity where innovation and creativity will together come. Even the humble Ketchup was discovered at one of the world Fairs.  The heart of the Expo is going to be the magnificent Al Wasl Dome. They will not only have the Artificial Intelligence pavilion but also Sustainability pavilion - an incredible marvel that will produce its own water and electricity and hence would have zero Carbon Footprint. Dubai is proud to host the Expo 2020 and will have diverse visitors. 
  2. Taiwan which was once known as the best kept secret is no longer a secret. Taiwan also known as the heart of Asia has 2020 as Year of Mountain Tourism as they have 262 mountains ranging over 3000 meters - the highest density of mountains in the world. They started their performance with an aboriginal dance by a tribe that has existed for 1000 years and ended their talk on eco-tourism, biking, hiking trails, flight accessibility and festivals such as Sky Lantern Festival and Harvest Festival. While the world has already adapted to some of their cuisine such as Bubble tea and shaved ice, they also do have Stinky Fermented Tofu. Taiwan also has “No Tipping” culture. Even though most cities in Taiwan is based on flat lands, you can still see mountains at a distance.  One of my favorite influencers, Dear Alyne has in-fact has a video on Taiwan’s Rainbow Village paint by the 97-year Rainbow Grandpa. 
  3. Puerto Rico on the other hand, even though has gone through a few national calamities in the last few years (hurricane, earthquake); it is still one of the most sought-after places. Traveling to Puerto Rico also directly impacts the locals as 63% of jobs there are directly supported by Tourism. Puerto Rico is having the Puerto Rico Open and the World Travel and Tourism Council. Currently, all airports are open. 
  4.  Florida (Greater Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers & Sanibel) also has plenty of surprises up their sleeve. Fort Lauderdale, also known as Venice of America can be explored by water taxis. It is also known as the skin-diving capital of the world. Here you can catch mermaids at the mermaid burlesque show, join the Ale Trail as its rated one of the Craft Brewery destination, get into the Bright Line Virgin Trains that connects Miami to Fort Lauderdale to Palm Beach, get into a cruise because it's a home port, wander around Las Olas Boulevard, FAT Village (Fashion Art Technology) village joined by the adjacent MASS district.  Fort Myers on the other hand, has Edison and Ford Winter Estates, Historic Fort Myers Walk every Friday i.e Art Walk, Mystery Walk etc. Sanibel is famous for its shells. There are 250 varieties of shells and the National shell museum has an app where you can identify the shell too. The shells are only native to south Florida and if you find this elusive shell called Junonia, you could be listed in the local newspaper. Shelling is free in Sanibel. In fact, there is a popular saying, if you bend and find a shell, you stoop and it is called the Sanibel stoop. 
  5. We also learnt that Nepal is not only home to Mount Everest and Lord Buddha, but one can always venture off the beaten path such as Dolpa Valley, Gokyo Valley where there is going to be ice hockey this year on Feb 14, 2020. It also has festivals such as Indrajata Festival (Festival of rain) etc. 

Some of my intakes from my visit was, trying out various samples at the Taste of the World pavilion. I could literally sit it the entire day and learn different types of cooking from different cultures and countries. But I know then I might be missing out on Coco Tea from Granada and Monster like masks from Dominican Republic at the booths. Did you know, I today painted my own masks at the Thailand Pavilion. And while I was doing that, in my mind, I was thinking, “Shoot! Would I be missing the Ninja Samurai by the Tokyo presenters at the Orange Stage?” Through the sessions I learnt to keep small, active and interactive Facebook groups and how necessary is to make blog SEO friendly.

In the Cruise session, I learnt that most Cruises target Baby Boomers, but also have facilities towards milliners and gene. Norwegian for example, has a freedom to have dining anytime than restrictive timings within their ship. They also have different experiences for different people - Norwegian Joy, The Selfie driven Millennial and the Multigenerational and they have videos on each. And some of the interesting sessions might have had been on Credit Cards, Sustainable Travel, how to avoid Over tourism, Travel Tips, Travel Gears. I have missed out of them, but there are few still tomorrow.

And this is what I would suggest as a first timer. Make a plan for the day. Pick up your newsletter containing every day’s schedule. Keep up a diary or a rough paper in hand. Write down what time what interests you most (session, tastes, cultural performances etc). Do not forget also, to mark the best giveaway places on the map. Also, not all seminars are worth it. Some of them are worthy of a good nap (although not a good practice!) and here seminar hopping is what most of us do to get the best out of each seminar.

These are a few I am looking forward to tomorrow:

12-1 Major Developments in Travel with Pauline

2:30-3:30 Cultural Traveler

3:45-4:45 Credit Card and Frequent Flyer Miles

Taste of the world => 3pm - How to bake for the president


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    1. Dolakh , Thank you so much. Nepal is truly worth a visit.

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