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Attendance growth and upbeat outlook lead BankTravel 2012

Graceland evening event

The bank travel industry made a very strong showing in Memphis, Tenn., Feb. 6-9 at BankTravel 2012, lending further credence to the burgeoning optimism that has been evident at recent travel industry events.

More than 185 banking delegates joined almost 300 travel industry suppliers, sponsors and vendors for a conference that fueled additional bullishness for travel in the year ahead.

“Our good friends at the Memphis Convention and Visitors Bureau have been telling us to ‘bank on Memphis’ for more than a year now, so we did — and it worked,” said BankTravel Conference president and CEO Joe Cappuzzello. “Memphis was a huge draw with our banks, and we had a couple dozen new banks join us this year, which tells me that the city did its job.

“We owe Memphis and all its partners a real debt of thanks.”

The conference was kicked off at Graceland, the longtime home of Elvis Presley, and before the evening was finished, Memphis CVB president Kevin Kane had extended the dance band’s performance twice.

“I don’t think this group is ready to leave just yet!” Kane said as more than 250 revelers enjoyed the party at the Graceland welcome center. “So I’ve asked Andy Childs and his band to play a while longer!”

The delegation roared its approval and continued enjoying the evening late into the night. By evening’s end, more than 400 delegates had toured Presley’s majestic home and revered automobile collection.

Earlier in the day, Laura Schwartz, former director of events for the Clinton White House and current author and television commentator, delivered one of the BankTravel Conference’s most inspiring opening sessions in years.

Mac Lacy

Mac Lacy is president and publisher of The Group Travel Leader Inc. Mac has been traveling and writing professionally ever since a two-month backpacking trip through Europe upon his graduation with a journalism degree from the University of Evansville in 1978.