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Record attendance marks successful Going On Faith Conference

JOPLIN, MO. — A record crowd of more than 300 delegates, including 160 church travel planners, journeyed to Joplin for the sixth annual Going On Faith Conference Aug. 24-26.

“By all accounts, we had a very successful Going On Faith Conference this year,” said conference CEO Joe Cappuzzello. “We had religious travel planners from 20 states and Canada who made the trip to Joplin, and they were joined by travel industry members from 31 states, Canada and the Holy Land.”

Delegates attended two marketplace sessions that produced more than 3,500 business appointments between buyers and sellers of faith-based travel programs. 

“This has been an excellent business opportunity for our group,” said Raed Khatib of Carana Corp., who attended to represent Palestine Tourism.  “There is no question that I’d like to attend again in Richmond, Va., next August, if our contract is approved. There are a lot of qualified buyers here.”

Professional development seminars included “Not Just Another Group Tour!” by Going On Faith editor Brian Jewell and “How To Grow Your Faith-Based Tours” by faith-based travel consultant Cindi Brodhecker. Both were attended by overflow audiences, requiring conference staff to bring in additional seating.

“Brian and Cindi both did excellent jobs for us,” said conference chairman Charlie Presley. “It was interesting to us to see how many travel industry delegates joined our churches for these seminars. There is a lot of interest out there in learning how this market works.”

More than two-dozen sponsors supported the three-day event, including the Joplin Convention and Visitors Bureau. The Joplin CVB and its partners hosted an opening-evening dinner with a live band and magician and then offered a full afternoon of sightseeing the following day that ended at an old-fashioned picnic at the Route 66 Carousel Park.

“What an event,” said conference partner Mac Lacy. “It had been years since many of us had enjoyed bumper cars, Ferris wheels, tilt-a-whirls and go-cart tracks. And they gave us the entire park all to ourselves. It was a blast.

“A special thanks goes out to Vince Lindstrom and his entire staff at the Joplin Convention and Visitors Bureau for their generous hospitality over the three days.”

Next year’s conference takes place Aug. 23-25 in Richmond. For registration details, visit, or call (330) 337-1027.