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Journey with Smithsonian

  • By
  • October 3, 2018
Smithsonian Journeys 2019 Trips
Smithsonian Journeys 2019 Trips
Photos courtesy of Paula Swart, Smithsonian Journeys travel expert

Preserve and Celebrate Through Travel

Smithsonian Journeys

Whether your dream vacation calls for a backpacking trip through any one of the seven continents or a personalized tour of ancient ruins or Japan’s centuries-old temples, Smithsonian Journeys primary goal is to bring the world’s diverse cultures and natural sciences to you by way of travel.

If you’re on the Smithsonian Journeys mailing list, I’m sure you’ve found the journey offerings exciting and intriguing, to say the least. I reached out to Paula Swart, Smithsonian Journeys travel expert and Karen A. Ledwin, Smithsonian Travel vice president, program management, for details about destinations and adventures that will stir your inner traveler.

Smithsonian Journeys 2019 Trip Itineraries
Photo courtesy of Paula Swart

Scroll down to see their answers.

First-Hand Learning

Paula Swart

Paula Swart’s primary role is to provide a relevant educational component to the trip experience.

Tell me about your most recent Smithsonian Journeys trip. Where did your travels take you?

Most recent trips, twice to Vietnam (overland and cruise) and one trip to Japan, the Inland Sea.

Where and when will you embark on your next Smithsonian Journeys trip?

Barge trip through Holland & Belgium September 21-29. Being a native of Holland and having traveled many times to Belgium, I have lectured several barge trips since 2013, usually in April/early May to see the flowering bulb fields.

Smithsonian Journeys 2019 Trip Itineraries
Photo courtesy of Paula Swart

How did your relationship with the Smithsonian evolve? How many trips have you taken on behalf of the Smithsonian?

I was approached in late 2016 and this will be my fourth Smithsonian trip. I have been involved in educational trips since the early 80s after studying for two years in China.

Smithsonian Journeys Trip Itineraries
Photo courtesy of Paula Swart.

What attracted you to Asian art, culture, and history and how have your experiences helped to prepare you for your trips, i.e. what do you find most fascinating about Asia? 

Growing up in The Netherlands with our colonial history in Indonesia, I experienced Asian culture from a very early age through food, art, literature, puppet performances, and storytelling, and in my professional life, I became a Curator of Asian Studies working in various Canadian museums. I am foremost interested in art, archaeology, and history, but it is always the people connections which give meaning to the travel experience. Visiting the same country on many occasions over a long period of time provides the opportunity for a deeper understanding, which in turn can be conveyed during my presentations, or if the opportunity arises write articles.

What are a few of your goals for your upcoming adventure? 

Reconnecting with the countries to be visited and to provide insightful presentations to the travelers.

What languages do you speak? 

Dutch, French, German, English, Chinese, in addition, I studied Japanese, Tibetan, and Spanish.

Travel Infusion

Karen A. Ledwin

What is the overall goal for each of the tour directors and experts you enlist?

The goal of Smithsonian Journeys tour staff is to deliver the high-quality experience our travelers expect and to ensure that Smithsonian’s mission of “the increase and diffusion of knowledge” is infused in the talks, discussions, excursions and other tour activities. See our difference on our website and the Backgrounder document for more details.

How do you choose a destination? What are the criteria?

Smithsonian Journeys has been operating cultural and educational tours for nearly 50 years and offers tours and cruises on all seven (7) continents in a variety of travel styles, including Classic Land, Cultural Stay, Small-Ship Ocean Cruises, River Cruises, Special Interest, Active, Family, Private Jet, and Tailor-Made. With such a long history in enrichment travel, a significant part of our portfolio is selected when our travelers tell us where and how they want to travel, both through sales and in their post-tour evaluations. In addition, new tour selections will often be centered around an anniversary (Leonardo Da Vinci’s 500th anniversary) or event (Chile Total Solar Eclipse) where we know our curious and worldly travelers have an interest.

What are a few of the activities your travel guests can expect to enjoy while on a Smithsonian Journeys trip?

Smithsonian Journeys tours and cruises are infused with talks, discussions, excursions and other activities – all delivering against our promise of in-depth learning and enrichment.

Do you offer opportunities to visit museums, shop?

While not the focus of our trips, during the free time people will certainly shop.

Do the trips allow time for participants to enjoy water activities or experience the peoples and cultures of a particular location, etc.?

Yes to all. One important and distinguishing feature is the inclusion of a Smithsonian Journeys Expert throughout the tour or cruise. One exception is on multi-generational Family Journeys where the focus is on interactive activities for the whole family from learning stage fighting at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, to drawing al fresco in Tuscany. Another exception is found on our new Active Journeys where the act of walking and biking in small groups takes our travelers to smaller towns and villages, where local experts join the group in the evenings for a talk and/or the group visits their atelier, weaving center, or similar.

What are a few examples of trips that uncover the “authentic culture of each destination, providing access unavailable to most travelers?” Would you describe Smithsonian’s signature travel experiences as “off the beaten path?”

Some of our Cultural Stay Journeys are based in small towns like an Andalusian Parador in the small, picturesque town of Antequera from which our travelers explore the region. And our three week Living in Provence program allows travelers the opportunity to live like a local in an Apart/Hotel and to participate in different enrichment tracks. We find that travelers want to see the iconic sites when they visit a destination but they also take delight in combining this with an off the beaten path stop or stops along the way. For example, on many of our journeys, we stay in small, distinctive accommodations that may be family owned, and the family treats our travelers as one of their personal guests.

For more information about upcoming Smithsonian Journeys, call 855-330-1542.

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Lifestyle Mantis integrated campers The New York Times Travel Show travel planning travel show trip planning

The New York Times 15th Anniversary Travel Show

  • By
  • February 2, 2018

The New York Times 2018 Travel Show coverage

The New York Times Travel Show is the largest travel industry trade show in North America. Photos by Joan Mead-Matsui, journalist, travel writer, and photographer. 

The New York Times Travel Show 

 

The New York Times 15th Anniversary Travel Show drew a record number of participants to the Jakob Javits Center during its annual event Jan. 26 – 28, 2018.

 

Travel show organizers reported a new record of 32,398—the highest attendance in the show’s history. That number included 10,268 travel trade, 22,130 consumer attendees, and participating exhibitors, and another milestone with 600 companies representing more than 176 countries.

The New York Times Travel Show is the largest and longest-running trade and consumer travel show in North America. In addition to more than 500 exhibitors from all seven continents, visitors learn more about worldwide travel at the Travel Industry Conference and from consumer seminars and interactive exhibitions.

 

The New York Times Travel Show coverage
The crowd was equally as diverse as the countries that participated.

 “Each year, more and more travel professionals and enthusiasts attend The New York Times Travel Show and for good reason,” says Maggie Kiselick, vice president of advertising and managing director, The New York Times Magazine. “People rely on the Show to provide both exceptional travel offerings and helpful information to help them plan their trips to see the world. We look forward to hosting even more people at 2019’s show.”

Turkish Airlines was the presenting sponsor of The New York Times 15th Anniversary Travel Show. The airline offers passengers a fleet of 329 aircraft that fly to 300 worldwide destinations and 120 countries.

The New York Times Travel Show coverage
A chef and flight attendant were among the Turkish Airlines’ representatives who welcomed visitors to their booth.

2018 Show Highlights 

Opening Day: Keynote Address and Conferences

 

Although I did not attend Trade Day, the first day of the travel show on Jan. 26, the day’s events were reserved exclusively for travel industry professionals and members of the media. Among the events offered on Friday were the Keynote Address by veteran travel journalist and editor James Shillinglaw, in conversation with: CEO of Travel Leaders Group Ninan Chacko; Jennifer Tombaugh, President, Tauck; Alejandro Zozaya, CEO of Apple Leisure Group; Andrew Stuart, President and CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line; and Guy Young, Global Brand Engagement Officer, The Travel Corporation; and 20 Focus Conferences’ panels that covered the latest products, services, destination information and trends from travel industry experts.

The second and third days were open to all attendees and featured various cultural presentations and performances, food demonstrations, and one-on-one conversations with travel experts, influencers and celebrities including travel expert Pauline Frommer, fashion designer Zac Posen and musical artist Action Bronson. The 2018 show also highlighted new seminar topics such as: “Seeing Mexico City and Barcelona Through Their Burgeoning Art Scenes,” with art expert Maria Brito;  “The Best Travel Gadgets of 2018,” a conversation with experts of New York Times’s product review website Wirecutter; and “Sustainable and Socially Conscious Travel” with New York Times travel and lifestyle writer Shivani Vora; among many others.

The LGBTQ Pavilion, curated by gay travel expert and ManAboutWorld editor-in-chief, Ed Salvato, debuted at this year’s show. If you stopped by the booth, you found information about the latest trends in LGBTQ-centric tourism and a showcase of LGBTQ travel experts from exhibitors including ManAboutWorld,  Out in the Vineyard, Oscar Wilde Tours, Shady Ladies Tours, R Family Vacations, Quiiky-Gay Tours in Italy, Outings & Adventures, Insider Voyagers and the Stonewall National Monument.

Culinary Travel

 

The New York Times 2018 Travel Show coverage

Okonomiyaki, a Japanese-style pancake, was one of the selections prepared on-site at the travel show. Representatives from a variety of destinations took some of the mystery out of cuisine from Japan and other countries. The Taste of the World Pavillion offered an opportunity to sample the authentic fare while learning more about world’s most popular flavors. Agents from Japan, for example, prepared “Okonomiyaki,” a savory pancake that typically contains flour and cabbage with add-ins that might also include meat and seafood.

 

GALLERY

Take a moment to view additional highlights from the travel show. Story continued below.

Family Travel 

 

The Family Travel Association sponsored the Family Travel Pavillion as a means to showcase family-friendly and yes, pet-friendly destinations. Key players in the family travel industry highlighted lodges, resorts and cruise lines, while families looking to integrate transportation and accommodations could also step inside a Mantis customized camper van.

More information about Mantis and other integrated camper vans can be found at taxaoutdoors.com.  

While the adults spoke to delegates at each of the show booths, children had time to unleash some energy in the Gaga Ball Pit and other activities hosted by Camp Cody. Fitter International, Inc. offered a “Fun Zone” so families could test their balance, strengthen and stretch their bodies.

 

The New York Times Travel Show wrap up
A customized “Mantis” camper-van allows families to travel in style. Vans can be tailored to meet individual needs ranging from the elaborate to basic functionality. 

Culture Comes to Life On Stage

 

A genuine Ninja performance from Ashura’s Ninja Show was presented by Japan. 

Why do cultural performances help tourism boards attract visitors?

They work hand in hand to enhance a traveler’s overall experience and they’re an important means to strengthen cultural heritage. Dancers from The Consulate General of Indonesia and Tai Chi martial arts’ experts from the Henan Province were among the other performers that took the stage at the travel show. Stop by again soon for extended coverage. 

Accolades

 

The New York Times presented awards to the following exhibitors.

Best in Show

Turkish Airlines

Best New Exhibitor

Hostelworld

Most Interactive

Korea Tourism Organization

The People’s Choice

Puerto Rico Tourism Company

Most Imaginative

Camp Cody

 


The New York Times Travel Show is organized by The New York Times Company (NYSE:NYT), a global news organization founded in September 1851 in New York City. Its entities include The New York Times and NYTimes.com and related properties.


Stop by joanmatsuitravelwriter.com again soon for continued coverage of The New York Times 15th Anniversary Travel Show. 

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