Travel Media Showcase, organized by J. Vero & Associates, is an annual industry convention that advertises itself as an opportunity for travel journalists to speak to representatives from interesting "international destinations like the Philippines, India and Malaysia," and also to tour the convention's host city.
Believing that I would attain several leads for stories that would be of interest to magazine editors, I attended TMS 2012 in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. It was a complete waste of my time and money. Instead of speaking to reps from international destinations, I found myself meeting with reps from domestic destinations that wouldn't generate marketable articles, such as Mankato, Minnesota and Alton, Illinois. The reps from the international destinations were never actually scheduled to attend! When I asked the convention planner, Joanne Vero, about their absence, she claimed that the international destinations listed on the website were "from last year. [continued below]....
....." She said that website had simply not been updated to reflect this year's attendees. So, I reviewed the attendee lists from the past several years, and none of those international reps had attended then, either. Moreover, the rest of that section of the website had been correctly updated to reflect the current year's convention--dates, location, etc.--so it's rather suspect to claim there was merely an updating error. I learned from other travel journalists that this was not the first year that attendees asked Vero about the missing international reps, so she has been aware of this errant advertising for some time.
The tour of the host city, Sioux Falls, was also disappointing. The hosts took us to a research facility, Sanford Laboratories. This was completely irrelevant to travel writers, and it got worse: the keynote speaker cheerfully explained that just behind the wall, they were testing on lab animals! Several writers were obviously disturbed by this. We were perplexed as to why this was on our itinerary, other than the fact the family who owned it practically is highly influential in Sioux Falls and had a financial arrangement with J. Vero & Associates.
I will definitely not attend TMS again, and I recommend that other journalists consider skipping it.