by Dan Dickson
Published September 07, 2018
“I don’t even announce my upcoming year’s trips to my travelers until I attend this conference,” said Bill Highsmith of Tusculum Hills Baptist Church in Nashville, Tennessee, at the Going On Faith Conference, held August 7-9 in Little Rock, Arkansas. “That’s how much information I get about new places to go and companies to travel with.
“We’re doing major international trips every year and major domestic trips as well,” said the veteran travel planner. “And we do at least two mission trips each year, one in the country and one outside the country. Then we do some smaller weekend trips, as well. I’ll go back from this conference and get it all figured out for our 2019 travel schedule, and we’ll be good to go.”
“Honestly, this conference has been a gold mine for us,” said travel seller Dan BenJoseph of AR Eland Tours LTD Israel during a break. “There are industry partners of ours in Israel that need to be here for this conference. It’s been very productive.”
More than 130 faith-based travel planners from 28 states came to Little Rock for the event, and an equal number of travel industry sellers attended from 34 states, the Bahamas, Israel, Germany and Poland.
“This is one of our favorite events of the year to run,” said Joe Cappuzzello, president of The Group Travel Family, which manages the Going On Faith Conference. “The atmosphere is relaxed and congenial, but the business booked here really adds up, as well. Faith-based travel continues to be a very vibrant element of the overall group travel industry.”
An opening evening meal and event at the William J. Clinton Presidential Center sponsored by the Little Rock Convention and Visitors Bureau and its partners kicked off the local activities for attendees. Other meals were sponsored by the Globus Family of Brands, MSC Cruises, the Ark Encounter and Creation Museum, and next year’s host, Experience Grand Rapids in Michigan.
Johnny Campbell, the “Transition Man,” offered the keynote address to delegates, and Little Rock CVB CEO Gretchen Hall invited mayor Mark Stodola to welcome all attendees to his city during the MSC luncheon.
First-time attendees Dick and Mary Perl, who have taken over the reins of the Young at Heart travel program in Covington, Louisiana, summed up the week very well.
“We cannot tell you how much help this has been for us as relatively new travel planners,” they said. “Meeting all these vendors and learning about all these places to take our group has been invaluable. We definitely plan to be with you again next year in Grand Rapids.”
To register for the 2019 Going On Faith Conference, visit www.gofconference.com, or call 800-628-0993.