June 17, 2008

World Religious Travel Expo Will Shape New Era in Faith Tourism

World Religious Travel Expo will shape new era in faith tourism

LITTLETON, CO – The World Religious Travel Association (WRTA) will host the first annual World Religious Travel Expo, Oct. 29-Nov. 1, 2008, in Orlando, FL. A historic and unprecedented event, the tradeshow and educational conference will feature a gathering of today’s “Who’s Who” in the 300 million religious traveler market. Hundreds of travel wholesalers, suppliers, media, tourist boards, agencies, group planners, travel ministry leaders and pastors are expected from throughout North America and around the world.

Current sponsors and exhibitors include prominent organizations such as Carnival Cruise Lines, Holland America Line, Trafalgar Tours, Collette Vacations, MTS Travel, Raptim Travel, Unitours, Group IST, 206 Tours, Jordan Tourism Board of North America, Switzerland Tourism, Bahamas Ministry of Tourism, Israel Ministry of Tourism, Egypt Tourist Authority, Pennsylvania Dutch Convention and Visitors Bureau, Florida’s Space Coast Office of Tourism, Rail Europe, Passport Health, WordSpring Discovery Center, and Christian Travel Finder among others.

“Expo 2008 is the most important event of the year for any organization, group planner, or pastor involved in the promotion or participation of faith-based travel,” said Kevin J. Wright, WRTA president. “The World Religious Travel Expo will serve as a pivot point between the Old and New Era of faith tourism. The result will be the emergence of a new generation of leaders in faith tourism, as well the launch of many new travel ministry programs.”

The WRTA Expo will feature two venues: The International Tradeshow and The Educational Conference. The combined event will provide the first world-class forum for travel suppliers, destinations, wholesalers, agencies and church travel planners to come face-to-face, develop and find new products and services, and build long-term relationships. All market segments will be represented at the Expo, including pilgrimage, cruising, missions, leisure vacations, attractions, conferences, retreats, Christian camps, and volunteer vacations, among others. Exhibitors will include tour operators, tourist boards, cruise lines, transportation companies, airlines, travel agencies, event planning services, hotels and accommodations, missionary agencies, travel insurance companies and faith-based destinations among others.

“As a Holy Land destination that provides a one-stop location to meet all the needs of faith-based travelers – from cruising to adventure, retreats to study tours and all the segments in between – we are delighted to sponsor the WRTA Expo,” said Malia Asfour, director of the Jordan Tourism Board of North America (JTBNA), a WRTA charter member. “We look forward to working with WRTA to showcase fresh and unique travel opportunities for this dynamic and growing industry.”

The World Religious Travel Association (WRTA) already has announced two of the keynote speakers for this fall’s historic World Religious Travel Expo 2008 in Orlando, Florida: the Honorable Neko C. Grant, Bahamas Minister of Tourism, and Maurice Zarmati, President & CEO of Costa Cruise Lines. The selected keynote speakers reflect the growth and diversity of today’s faith tourism industry. The Bahamas has developed itself into a top destination for this vast and lucrative market, serving as an ideal getaway for faith-based events, meetings, cruises, missionary travel, leisure vacations, and much more. Costa Cruise Lines represents one of the newest and most popular vacation choices of today’s faith-based consumer….cruising. Today, hundreds of churches and religious organizations embark each year on cruises to the Caribbean, Alaska and the Mediterranean, among other places.

The Educational Conference will provide the most comprehensive learning program ever offered on faith tourism – for both trade and group planners. Through leading industry speakers, dynamic presentations, panel discussions, interactive break-out sessions, seminars and peer networking forums, the trade participants can expand their knowledge of the opportunities in the new niche markets within faith tourism. Group planners will attend product seminars hosted by travel industry experts, while also learning how to enrich and expand their travel ministry programs.

The Expo will be hosted Oct. 29-Nov. 1, 2008 at the renowned Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center in Orlando, Florida. The top-rated facility and environment provides an exceptional forum for networking and exhibiting. More than 100 exhibitors and more than 400 participants are expected at the unprecedented event.

To learn more or register online, visit www.religioustravelexpo.com or call 1-800-657-1288. For more information about becoming a WRTA Member and joining the leading network for the religious travel industry, visit www.religioustravelassociation.com.


About the World Religious Travel Association (WRTA)
The World Religious Travel Association (WRTA) is the leading network for shaping, enriching, and expanding the $18 billion global faith tourism industry. WRTA exists to bring the travel trade and religious consumer together for the primary purpose of promoting and providing quality faith travel experiences around the globe. As the source and voice for the religious travel industry, WRTA provides members opportunities to network, learn, contribute, and lead. WRTA embraces all segments of faith tourism: Pilgrimages, Leisure, Cruises, Events/Conventions, Missions, Retreats, Attractions, Family, Student/Youth, Adventure and Volunteer Vacations. To learn more about WRTA or to become a member, visit www.ReligiousTravelAssociation.com or contact WRTA at 1-800-657-1288 or 360-778-3047. To attend or exhibit at the World Religious Travel Expo, register online at www.ReligiousTravelExpo.com.