Holbrook Travel to host Costa Rica conference


GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Holbrook Travel will host the Rainforest Conference for travel agents in Costa Rica this summer.

Set for July 21 to 29, the conference is being cosponsored by Delta Air Lines. The conference's headquarters will be at the Selva Verde Lodge.

"The conference will emphasize visiting Costa Rica as a learning experience," said Debbie Sterdavent, Holbrook Travel's marketing director.

"The lodge serves as a base for participants to both explore the rain forest and, through workshops, survey ways to market the special-interest, natural-history adventure."

Participants will spend the first night in San Jose at the Hotel Bougainvillea.

The following day, guests have a choice of two-night packages designed to introduce Costa Rica's major national park areas and coastal resorts. Choices include Manuel Antonio and Tortuguero national parks, Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve and Tamarindo Beach.

On July 24, all participants are transferred to the Selva Verde Lodge for a four-night stay.

Conference highlights will include a keynote address by Karen Killebrew, director of marketing for Bridge Travel Alliance, who will discuss direct-mail marketing and promotions, as well as a representative from Costa Rica, who will take a look at the future of tourism in the country.

Activities during the conference will include rafting, a Sarapiqui River boat ride, guided rain-forest hikes, a visit to a banana plantation and an excursion to Tabacon Hot Springs.

On July 28, delegates will have time for shopping in the town of Moravia (en route to San Jose for lunch) and hotel inspections before a farewell dinner and overnight at the Hotel Bougainvillea.

The Selva Verde Lodge, opened by Holbrook Travel founder Giovanna Holbrook in 1985, is on the banks of the Sarapiqui River at Chilamate, a private reserve protecting about 500 acres of rain forest.

The lodge is adjacent to Braulio Carrillo National Park and a two-hour drive from San Jose.

The reserve is known for its exotic, lowland tropical birds -- parrots, jacamars and motmots, for example -- often spotted from the lodge's balconies.

Armed with binoculars, workshop participants might catch a glimpse of not only birds but poison-dart frogs and howler monkeys when walking the nature trails reserved for Selva Verde guests.

During the conference, the learning experience will be enhanced by a visit to the lodge's butterfly garden as well as to the Sarapiqui Conservation Learning Center, a gathering place for academic groups.

The Selva Verde Lodge is a complex of covered walkways leading to a riverside dining room, an open-air lounging area with hammocks and a conference room.

There are 45 double rooms with bathrooms.

The land-only rate to attend the conference is $697 per person.

For additional information or reservations, contact Holbrook Travel at (800) 451-7111 or (904) 373-7118, or visit www.holbrooktravel.com.

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