ctivity-based programs and hands-on
tours are some of the highlights delegates should expect to see at
the 2003 Travel South USA show, which will be held in Savannah,
Ga., from Feb. 15 to 19.
Suppliers are focusing on these types of itineraries and will be
bringing them to the marketplace floor, according to Liz Doyle,
director of the Travel South USA marketplace.
Participatory touring is the buzz right now, Doyle said. "It's
no longer just get off the coach, see something and get back on
Instead, she said, delegates will see more hands-on and
learning-based tourism, such as programs that focus on square
dancing or making pottery and jewelry.
"Seniors now are interested in more active tourism," she said.
"I think we're going to see a lot more tour product that includes
Doyle pointed out a West Virginia white-water rafting company
that adapted its programs for motorcoach tours.
"I think we'll hear about a lot of these types of itinerary
changes on the marketplace floor this year," she said.
Another change facing Travel South delegates, Doyle said, is that
"people aren't necessarily traveling as far as they did before. Our
target market is not out West, and we're still not back to where we
once were with Canada."
Right now, the strongest markets, Doyle said, are the Northeast,
Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin.
"This forces operators to be more creative with the product and
the variety of tours offered," she said. "And because people aren't
traveling as far, I think we need to find a way to put a fresh look
on the destinations -- give people a reason to return."
That means being very creative on price and value, she said.
Meanwhile, after a down year in 2002, Doyle said the show's
registration three months out is higher than it's ever been.
The show also gives Savannah the opportunity to show off its
"The South is all about its cultural history, and what better
place to highlight that than Savannah?" Doyle said.
"We're in one of the South's most historic cities, but it's not
just about the history. We're also here to discover what's new
about the old."
What's new is the Savannah International Trade and Convention
Center, which opened last summer across the Savannah River from
historic Savannah on Hutchinson Island.
The facility, Doyle said, was one of the selling points for
Savannah to host its first Travel South marketplace.
"It's a spectacular facility," Doyle said. "It has a large patio
out front offering incredible views back across the river to
Historic Savannah also will be the focus of many of the 15 city
tours that will be offered to delegates as a way to show off the
Other tours include: the Low Country Tour, the African-American
Tour, the Music Tour, the Civil War Walking Tour and the Midnight
in the Garden of Good and Evil Tour.
Georgia also is hosting four preshow familiarization tours
throughout the state.
Blazing a multicultural trail across the
SAVANNAH, Ga. -- The South is rich in cultural and historical
sites. The following is a state-by-state roundup of some
Among Arkansas' many historical and multicultural attractions
are Hot Springs' bath houses and its Native American sites, such as
the archaeological park devoted to the Parkin tribe, which lived in
what is now the town of Parkin.
Other sites include Little Rock's war museums, Fort Smith's Wild
West-era buildings and Eureka Springs' turn-of-the-century antique
More information is available at www.arkansas.com. The
site contains the Arkansas History and Heritage Trail Guide, which
can be used for planning by groups or individuals.
Tour St. Augustine offers historical itineraries complete with
guides in period dress circa 1565. The tour operator also traces
the area's African-American history, including "safe houses" where
Martin Luther King Jr. stayed during a visit in 1964. For
information, call (904) 825-0087.
Meanwhile, Tampa-based Customized Historic Tours focuses on Ybor
City, where Cubans and African-Americans settled in the 1880s. For
details, call (813) 286-1636.
Among Georgia's newest heritage attractions is Springfield
Village in Augusta, a year-old, multimillion-dollar, commemorative
park that features Springfield Baptist Church, the oldest active
African-American congregation in North America.
The state also boasts one of the more popular African-American
heritage attractions, the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic
Site in Atlanta.
The Georgia Department of Industry, Trade and Tourism will
customize heritage fam trips for agents. For details, call (770)
Set to open in the spring, the African-American Heritage Center
in Louisville will celebrate the contributions of African-Americans
to the history and cultural life of the state through a historical
research center and exhibits of works by local artists.
Meanwhile, the Underground Railroad Museum in Maysville
chronicles the road to freedom for many slaves, who were often
assisted by freed slaves in the north who had the support of white
Charlotte is the newest destination for Traveling America, which
offers two- and three-night Break Away packages to more than 80
destinations in 33 states.
The company, whose drive-travel products are based on clients
driving their own cars -- and which pays 13% commission -- launched
a series of 24 Charlotte packages.
Each plan features a different theme, ranging from golf and
car-racing tours to gardens and African-American heritage
Charleston plans to begin $13.6 million in improvements next
year to the Charles Towne Landing State Historic Site, where
colonists established the first permanent settlement in the
Carolinas in 1670.
In addition, the city broke ground on the Camden Towers Cultural
Center. Slated for completion in 2004, the project includes the
Phillip Simmons Museum, which will chronicle the influence of
African-Americans on Charleston's history, and the South Carolina
Heritage Corridor Discovery Center.
Memphis spotlights the rich musical heritage of
African-Americans as well as their civil rights history.
Most recently, the 11-year-old National Civil Rights Museum,
which is housed in the former Lorraine Motel where Martin Luther
King Jr. was assassinated, completed a $10 million expansion,
renovating the building where James Earl Ray fired the shot.
In addition, slated to open this spring, the Stax Museum of
American Soul Music will celebrate the former Stax recording
studio, where, from 1960 to 1975, Otis Redding, Isaac Hayes, Sam
and Dave and other artists recorded.
Hampton's small downtown waterfront is dominated by the Virginia
Air & Space Center, which will open a 15,000-square-foot
exhibit hall in July.
In March, the $5 million Hampton History Museum is set to debut.
Hampton University, founded in 1868, has the nation's oldest
African-American museum. The campus also boasts a statue of Hampton
student Booker T. Washington.
West Virginia boasts 25 African-American sites listed on the
National Register of Historic Places.
The African-American Heritage Family Tree Museum in Anstead, for
example, includes artifacts from Booker T. Washington's life, while
Camp Washington Carver at Clifftop was the first African-American
In addition, there is a 137-mile Washington heritage trail,
featuring 52 sites, structures, and historical villages that date
to the late 1700s.
• • •
Travel South USA
Address: 3400 Peachtree Road NE Suite 725, Atlanta, GA
Phone: (404) 231-1790
Fax: (404) 231-2364
• • •
Travel South Schedule of events
Saturday, February 15
Travel South Registration Area Open
Savannah Convention & Visitors Bureau and Georgia Department of
Industry, Trade & Tourism welcome reception
Sunday, February 16
Registration area open
Savannah Convention & Visitors Bureau and Georgia Department of
Industry, Trade & Tourism opening party
Monday, February 17
On-site appointment scheduling sessions
Marketplace session #1
Marketplace session #2
Dine-around Savannah & The Supper Club
Tuesday, February 18
"Virginia Is For Lovers" breakfast
Marketplace session #3
West Virginia lunch
Marketplace session #4
Alabama closing dinner
Wednesday, February 19
Shuttles depart for Savannah Airport from host hotels
Post Travel South USA fam tours depart