By Dan Dickson
Published March 01, 2017
The Select Traveler Conference visited the West Coast for the first time in its 22-year history as bank, chamber of commerce, recreation department and alumni travel directors from 24 states joined travel destinations from across North America, Italy and Thailand for the three-day event held February 5-7 in Ontario, California.
“It was exciting to see such a turnout for our first trip all the way to the West Coast,” said conference CEO Joe Cappuzzello. “A show of hands during our opening session revealed that about half our delegates traveled from east of the Mississippi River to be with us, which is great. It’s equally gratifying to know that we had half our delegation from the western side of the country, because a good number of those were with us for the first time. I think they’ll be with us again next year in Louisville now that they’ve attended the Select Traveler Conference.”
The conference continued its recent run of Super Bowl dates, and the Greater Ontario Convention and Visitors Bureau delivered one of the best opening night events in recent years when they took the delegation to the Citizens Business Bank Arena for an exclusive Super Bowl party. With the arena floor decked out as a football field, the game was shown on the arena scoreboard, on another large screen television in the opposite end zone and on televisions placed in more intimate viewing sections along each sideline.
“What a first-class event,” said Cappuzzello. “Even the food was themed to each team, from New England clam chowder to Georgia peach cobbler. Our hats are off to Ontario CVB president Michael Krouse, his event partners and his entire staff for a Super Bowl we’ll never forget.”
More than 5,000 individual business appointments between high-end travel planners and destinations were held during the three days. Nearly 30 major tour operators and cruise lines also attended the conference as sellers, and many were major sponsors. The conference continued its 22-year run of offering delegates sponsored meals from start to finish.
The Louisville Convention and Visitors Bureau, host to next year’s conference, treated delegates to a Kentucky Derby-themed evening event with its Ohio River partner, the Clark-Floyd Counties CVB in southern Indiana.
Other meals were hosted by four longtime tour operator partners — East Coast Touring Company and TRIPS, which hosted breakfasts; and Collette and Globus Family of Brands, which hosted luncheons.
The 2018 Select Traveler Conference takes place in Louisville on February 4-6, 2018. For registration information, visit