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Photo: laihiu

Need some travel inspiration? Check out these seven conferences around the world that cover health, sustainability, and cultural tourism, with writing opportunities to boot.

Mashable recently named their top 7 places to watch great minds in action.

The list included the well-known conference TED, and a bunch of other ones based on the TED model (ok, we can easily deduce who is the leader of the great minds in action).

It got me thinking, where could you watch great travelers in action? Sure, there are plenty of great travel blogs out there, such as Nomadic Matt and Everything Everywhere, but what if you actually want to rub elbows with some of the top in the field? A place where you can get to know their secrets, and also find out what is happening in the world of health, sustainability, and cultural tourism?

I searched the internet, and found the top travel conferences that blend these important issues, gives you a chance to schmooze with some of the greats, and offers the opportunity to put your travel writing skills to good use. Here’s what I came up with:


1. The World Medical Health Tourism Conference

Location: Phuket, Thailand (2009)
What they have to say: “The conference philosophy is designed to further improve the capabilities of healthcare institutions and tour operators who are key players in the medical tourism industry and to provide each individual patient to be well-informed on the standards of medical information worldwide.” Attendees include MDs, Spa & Massage Clinic Operators, travel agents, airline companies, tour operators, and anyone in the hospitality industry.

2. Adventures in Travel Expo

Location(s): New York, Washington D.C., Chicago, Los Angeles, Seattle.
What they have to say: Marketplace for travelers, offering “unique” vacation options and travel information. Also includes travel seminars, hands-on activities, and cultural performances.

Sustainable and Cultural Tourism

3. Sustainable Tourism: Issues, Debates & Challenges

Photo: swimparallel

Location: Crete (2010)
What they have to say: “The aim of the conference is to provide a forum for academics, emerging researchers, policy-makers, industry practitioners, and destination management and marketing professionals to discuss and debate key issues in the development and management of sustainable tourism in an era of climate change.”
Writing opportunity: Themes include alternative tourism development, sustainability and economic restructuring, and eco tourism as a possible viable route to rural development. They are also accepting paper abstracts with an October 1, 2009 deadline. If chosen, there is an opportunity for possible post conference publication in either the Journal of Sustainable Tourism or the Journal of Hospitality Marketing & Management.

4. Sustainable Tourism 2010

Location: New Forest, UK (2010)
What they have to say: “Sustainable Tourism 2010 aims to find ways to protect the natural and cultural landscape through the development of new solutions which minimize the adverse effects of tourism. This can be achieved through the development of new strategies involving the active collaboration of society as a whole. Such solutions ought to cope with the continuous growth of tourism impacts on the country including culture and society.”
Writing opportunity: You can also submit an abstract for a paper here. Papers chosen for the conference will be considered for publication in the International Journal of Sustainable Development and Planning.

5. World Cultural Tourism Association

Location: Bangkok, Thailand (2009)

What they have to say: “The aim of this conference is to provide a forum for international educators, scholars, researchers, industry professionals, policy-makers and graduate students with opportunity to explore and discuss issues in the topics on cultural tourism.”
Writing opportunity: They currently have a call for papers for the November 2009 conference due today, July 31st, that are relevant to culture and tourism.

Travel Writing

Photo: ExperienceLA

6. Book Passage Travel Writers & Photographers Conference

Location: Corte Madera, California
What they have to say: “The Conference offers an array of workshops, panels, and evening activities. There are many hours of informal interaction between faculty and students during lunch and in discussions that often last late into the evening. Alumni have published books, articles, and photos — many as the direct result of lessons learned and contacts made at the conference.”

7. Travel Classics International

Location: Quebec City, Canada (2010)
What they have to say: “Conference includes: low writer/editor ratio, editor presentations and panel discussions, scheduled one-on-one meetings with 4 or more editors, writer bios and clips sent to editors in advance, off site dinners and after hours networking, Writers contest judged by conference editors, pre and post conference trips, work showcased on”

Any other great travel conferences we missed? Share your links below.

Community Connection

Want a foundation in travel writing before you venture to a conference? Check out Matador’s Travel Writing school, Matador U, to learn everything you need to know to become a successful travel writer.



About The Author

Christine Garvin

Christine Garvin is a certified Nutrition Educator and holds a MA in Holistic Health Education. She is the founder/editor of Living Holistically...with a sense of humor and co-founder of Confronting Love. When she is not out traveling the world, she is busy writing, doing yoga, and performing hip-hop and bhangra. She also likes to pretend living in her hippie town of Fairfax, CA is like being on vacation.

  • Kim Wildman

    There’s also the United Nations World Tourism Organisation’s World Tourism Day Conference. This year it will be held in Accra, Ghana, from 21-28 September. The theme is “Tourism Celebrating Diversity”. See:

    Shame, I will be in Ghana updating the Bradt Travel Guide to the country, but will be on the road in the north of the country at that time. I might have to make a run back to Accra to check it out!

  • TravMonkey

    Not sure about this, it’s all a bit muddled. There are a few links towards the beginning that don’t even seen to be part of the article? Who are the great travelers?

    Chances are you won’t find them at a conference!!?

    Problem is western cultures having too many conferences without realising what about happens in the worlld. All a bit of a joke really, but if I guess if you have a conference you might solve everything….definately not an inspiration.

    Paul @

  • christine

    Paul, I respectfully disagree. While you can be inspired and learn a lot from reading blogs about travel, it’s nothing like meeting, talking and exchanging ideas with people face to face. You also get to learn cutting edge info that is hard to gather on your own. And I guarantee that some pretty well known travel writers show up to these conferences, and those connections made for the long term are priceless.

  • Michelle

    Great list!

  • http://www.Nancydbrown Nancy D. Brown

    Glad to see that Book Passage Travel Writers Conference made your list. I found it to be a wonderful conference and a great networking opportunity.

    I’ve also recently returned from the first Travel Bloggers Exchange (TBEX) conference in Chicago, Illinois. As a professional freelance travel writer and blogger, it was a fabulous opportunity to meet so many fellow bloggers and PR professionals in one location.


    Thanks for the great travel conferences. You can meet great people at conferences. There’s nothing like having a face-to-face conversation. You’ll gain a better understanding about people and their writing. Plus, you can make some great friends or even a travel buddy.


    World Youth and Student Travel Conference…Manchester, England…Sept. 22 to 25, 2009

    Annual Conference – International Society of Travel and Tourism Educators
    15-17 October 2009

  • Chris Noble

    There’s also the Adventure Travel World Summit in Quebec, October 19-22 –

    An amazing list of speakers and one of the most engaged, passionate & collaborative travel communities you will find.

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