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Virginia Beach hosts 2013 BankTravel Conference


By David L. Malhalab, MNS Photo/M News Service
VIRGINIA BEACH, Virginia — We asked a few bank travel directors at the 2013 BankTravel Conference held February 5-7 in Virginia Beach where their groups were headed these days.

“We took 63 to Europe in November on a Rhine River cruise, and I left three days later to take 47 to Pigeon Forge,” said Sam Burrell of Community and Southern Bank in Ellijay, Georgia.

“We’re doing a Vietnam trip including land and a river cruise, and we’re going to New York, Bermuda and San Antonio this year, too,” said Kay Baker of Southwest Bank in Fort Worth, Texas. “We just did New York in November,” said Carolyn Cobb of Planters Bank in Hopkinsville, Kentucky. “In July, we’re doing the Pacific Northwest from Seattle to San Francisco, and in October, we’re going to do Discover Tuscany with Collette.”

It’s travel like this that drew more than 400 delegates, including bank directors from 30 states and travel industry members from across North America, to Virginia Beach for the industry’s premier conference for banks and travel.

“Our thanks go to Jim Coggin, who headed up the Virginia Beach CVB’s effort, and the entire Virginia Beach delegation for three days of unparalleled hospitality for this prestigious group,” said BankTravel Conference CEO Joe Cappuzzello.

“Bank travel is a new market for Virginia Beach,” said Coggin, “so it gave us a new industry segment to introduce to our area. Many of these bankers had not been here before.”

One highlight of the event was an opening-evening reception and dinner at Virginia Beach’s Military Aviation Museum.

“It’s not often that we get to hear a military band like the Mark Michielsen Big Band play from the World War II era,” said Cappuzzello. “All 17 members of that band are either retired or active military.”

“The USO event was a great way to showcase our patriotic tourism,” said Coggin.

More than 4,500 business appointments were held between bankers and industry members. and a new BankTravel Mixer was introduced in Virginia Beach that allowed delegates to network informally at the end of one session.

Video coverage of the entire event was another new element for BankTravel 2013; dozens of candid interviews were done with attendees and promoted through social media channels, and seminar sessions were taped for future use.

Meal sponsors included the Virginia Beach CVB and its partners; next year’s host city of Huntsville, Alabama; and five tour operators. Trips hosted one breakfast, and Nomad Adventures and East Coast Touring hosted another; luncheons were sponsored by Collette Vacations and Globus Family of Brands.

Dozens of bankers came early or stayed late to partake in sightseeing and familiarization tours in Virginia Beach and other Virginia destinations.

Next year’s conference in Huntsville will take place March 30 to April 1.

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