The TBEX Effect

toronto skyline nearing dusk

Hello TBEX Friends,

As you gather this week in Cancun we hope you reflect fondly on last year’s conference in Toronto. You certainly shared your experiences here at the time: 30,000 tweets (we counted), 500+ blog posts (we counted those too).

And look what happens. People take notice. Just this week Vogue Magazine named Toronto’s West Queen West the #2 “Coolest Neighbourhood in the World.”  ( ). Many of you were there. In fact the Queen West preBEX tours were the most jam-packed and popular, from the arts to the food to the famous Graffiti Alley tour. If you missed it or just want to explore more of Toronto’s neighbourhoods, we hope to see you again soon.

In the meantime, while I can’t be with you in Cancun this week, Team Toronto is there led by Vanessa Somarriba (@vanimartina). It was a privilege to host you in Toronto last summer and we raise our glasses to the TBEX community for telling wonderful stories to and from every corner of the world.



TBEX: The World is Round


TBEX Toronto stage

It took a long time for humans to prove that the world is round. Anyone pre-16th Century bold enough to make that claim was labeled heretic, excommunicated, placed under house arrest, or killed. Fast forward a few centuries, from Galileo to Google, and as Thomas Friedman indicated with the title of his book, “The World is Flat,” well, the world, thanks to technology, is flat again. It’s no great revelation that the Internet has led to incredible change, flattening the world and allowing for tremendous opportunities. But it’s also transformed in-person networking into something as alien as life on Mars.

Many bloggers and online entrepreneurs get their start by conducting research on the Web, chatting in online forums, scouring the Internet for competitors and a niche. And many have launched businesses without ever meeting, in person, one individual from their field. But the lost art of face-to-face communication is crucial if you’re looking to take your blog or business to that next level.

In an interview, Tim Ferris, author of the 4-Hour Work Week, said, “I chose the least crowded channel… to connect with people who are thought leaders.” That least crowded channel was events like South by Southwest Interactive and BlogWorld Expo.

Instead of hard-selling his book, Ferris used his time to discuss his idea, but more importantly to ask attendees, “Is there anyone else at the conference that you think I should meet?” When he was pointed to the right people, interest in his book developed naturally and these individuals became the future champions of his other successful projects. Who knows if Tim Ferris would have been as successful if he had only made his connections on the Flat World Wide Web?

At the end of 2012, a few months after I started my travel blog, Somewhere Or Bust, Twitter started chirping the acronym #TBEX. It was the first time I had ever heard of the world’s largest travel blogging conference. Though I would be unable to attend the gathering in Spain, Twitter once more informed me that a few travel bloggers would be hosting mini-TBEXes in cities around the world. I live in New York and, needless to say, my city was on the list.

I’m looking for a bunch of travel bloggers,” I said to the bouncer, who filled up most of the entryway into the bar, where New York’s mini-TBEX had been scheduled.

ID,” he demanded.

Are there travel bloggers here?” I said to the girl guarding the door to the private party upstairs.

This is for Doug,” she said, rolling her eyes.

Before giving up, I asked the bartender.

I think those six girls are travel bloggers.” The bartender walked me over to the table and introduced me to half dozen ladies.

I had expected a bigger turn out, but even six bloggers opened my eyes to things I had never considered for my infant site, things like sponsorships, monetization, and press trips. They answered endless questions, which would have never been tolerated online. (Read a forum and there’s usually that one forum guard who barks you off with: “Didn’t you read the answer dated…”) And one pair of bloggers even interviewed me for a series they run called “Jetsetters.” These take-aways would have been difficult if I had met these ladies online, even if I had been the most committed Gravatar beefing up their comment sections. We were all real people who had broken bread in the third dimension. (There ain’t an app for that.)

But I needed more. I needed less Facebook and more face-time. I wanted to meet at least a baker’s dozen of travel bloggers because I had myriad questions, most of which I had previously hurled into Cyberspace where they remained floating unanswered like orbital debris. I wanted to chat with representatives from destinations and travel companies to discuss collaboration or potential partnership because my prior online introductions were sitting in their inboxes (or sucked into that black hole shaped like a trashcan). My next big idea – an ebook, a podcast, or a blogger campaign – looked like an unreachable galaxy because I remained stuck wasting time trying to determine how best to proceed and who to enlist from that overwhelming pool of unidentifiable online assistants.

And while my mini-TBEX experience was worthwhile, I was blown into orbit (which actually wouldn’t work as well on a flat earth) when I went to Toronto for TBEX. The conference allowed me to engage with speakers, troubleshoot with experts, pitch to bloggers, determine potential collaborators, eavesdrop on dreamers. The face-time shifted everything from anonymous to real. Ninety percent of the emails I sent after the conference received immediate responses. At TBEX, PR reps related to me because I had bowled (at an after-party) as poorly as they had. To one DMO representative, I’m the guy he might remember that next time he sits down for foie gras and ice cider because we had an intense conversation about the pairing. I even discovered bloggers who I will reach out to when I take that plunge – Scratch that – when I sail off, over the horizon, to collaborate on that next big idea.


  • Plan in advance. I purchased an early bird ticket and probably got my money’s worth in the food and coffee alone.
  • Identify the speakers and attendees that you want to meet. Come with questions and know what you can offer them.
  • Don’t just think in the present. Consider where you want to take your blog and/or business, and link up with attendees who seem like they can become future partners, collaborators, or promoters for your upcoming projects.
  • Be sociable. If this doesn’t come naturally, attend meet-ups or events to practice. Lunch is a great time to chat.
  • Attend as many events as possible. Even if you make one worthwhile connection at each event, between conferences, lunches, parties, after-parties, and the lobby, you’re going to walk away with some solid contacts.

Author bio:  Noah Lederman writes the travel blog Somewhere Or Bust. His travel writing has appeared in the Boston Globe, the Chicago Sun-Times, Islands Magazine, the Economist, and elsewhere. Visit his blog to get your free copy of his humorous travel ebook, Misadventures in Southeast Asia. You can also follow his (mis)adventures on TwitterFacebook, Instagram, and Google+.

TBEX Toronto: Live Recording of This Week in Travel Podcast


Leif Pettersen distributing drinks to the This Week in Travel crew at TBEX Toronto

Leif Pettersen distributing drinks to the This Week in Travel crew at TBEX Toronto. (photo by Scott Lillico from the TBEX Toronto Flickr pool)

The crew from the This Week in Travel podcast has recorded live shows at past TBEX conferences, and they took the stage again in Toronto during the closing general session. This time, hosts Gary Arndt, Chris Christensen, and Jen Leo had the never-understated Spud Hilton as their guest, and they also got help from TBEX speaker Leif Pettersen, who made sure the podcasters all had something cold to drink before they dug into the topics at hand.

You can check out a recording of the TBEX Toronto episode of This Week in Travel below.

TBEX Sponsor Post: When Great Storytellers Came to Visit



TBEX, you sure are a prolific lot. You generated more than 31,000 tweets and 6,000 photos on Instagram in a 96-hour period. And counting. Trying to work through it is like taking a sip from Niagara Falls.

All that social activity is about sharing experiences and inviting people who may be in the same room or continents away to join you for the ride. It’s the very essence of travel journalism and collectively the TBEX community is leading the way, harnessing new technology to bring travel to life in ways we never before imagined.

It is clear how committed the community is to individual and collective improvement. Every session was packed to the doors (and sometimes beyond) and every one was followed by long lines to ask more questions of the speakers. I’ve had a front-row seat over the past year as the Blogworld team assembled the program and built the conference. I saw from day one how they viewed the content, structure and experience from the delegates’ eyes and created a program to inspire and educate.

In their first full cycle as TBEX planners, the Blogworld team raised the bar significantly and there is no turning back. TBEX is a highly professional, industry-unifying event.

I hope that we in Toronto also raised the bar for host destinations. We spent a year working on this, along with our partners Ontario and Canada, and fed off the energy of thousands of local tourism businesses and local travel bloggers who never stop sharing their Toronto with the world.

In the end, we are overwhelmed by the words and photos shared about Toronto. Of course we hope they won’t be the last words you share about Toronto. Hopefully your experience here has inspired you to return, even more curious, and to explore deeper and wider across Toronto and beyond into Ontario and Canada.

To Blogworld, we say thanks for this opportunity. To our friends in Dublin, we pass the torch with pride. And to the entire TBEX community, we say thanks for visiting, thanks for your infectious energy, and thanks for sharing your Toronto experiences with millions of people. Most of you have returned home or embarked on your next adventure. Let’s all stay connected and make a date to get together again soon.

Safe and inspiring travels all,

Andrew Weir is Vice President, Communications of Tourism Toronto. Follow him at @ABWeir.

TBEX Sponsor Post: #OntarioWithLove – TBEX Toronto Twitter Giveaway



“If you could handcraft a love letter from Ontario that could be shared with the world, what would it be?”

We asked the members of the Ontario Craft Council this question. They answered with some of the most beautiful Ontario keepsakes you can find, and we’re giving them away in our #OntarioWithLove contest at the TBEX Toronto Conference!

Get ready for some eye candy. Here’s a look at what the Ontario artists created:

Canadiana Pin – by Anneke van Bommel

Anneke was inspired by classic Canadiana to create these pins. She told us, “These pieces embody the concept of ‘From Ontario with Love,’ in that they are iconic images that we associate with the idea of Ontario. The stubby pin pays homage to the bottle design that Canadian bottlers exclusively used prior to the longneck. The iconic Beaver brooch is the symbol of our country, and a symbol of Ontario.”

Show off where you’ve been – we think these pins would be a great addition to a backpack or luggage.

Prizes Available: 12 individual pins

Toronto Scarf – by Anu Raina

For Anu, the Ontario with Love concept reminded her of her very first months in Ontario: “Shortly after immigrating to Canada in 2004, we witnessed our first fall in Canada. It was an experience beyond words … with many warm hues and splashed across the city. In these Textile prints, I have tried to trace those sweet memories of my first fall.”

If you look closely at the scarf on the left you’ll see a reproduction of the Toronto Transit map – a great way to remember your TBEX adventures, and a great accessory too!

Prizes Available: 18 individual scarves

Metal Moose – by David Hickey

One of the most exciting experiences you can have in Ontario is to venture into the Canadian wilderness. For David, one of these trips sparked his creativity: “The largest member of the deer family is the moose, and it is one of the most recognizable symbols of Ontario … one spring morning I saw in the distance a moose sitting in a pond of water lilies. As it started to stand I remember thinking that although being majestic in stature it also demonstrated elements of awkwardness as it tried to stand. People who see a moose for the first time are usually struck by its massive size, and similarly, I was too.”

Prizes Available: 6 individual moose

Souvenir Tea Towel or Ontario Napkins – by Jen Kneulman

If you have a family member who liked to travel in the 1970s, chances are you’ve seen a vintage tea towel or two. This retro influence was the inspiration behind Jen’s Ontario souvenir tea towel. She describes the piece like this: “The inspiration for Freshly Printed’s designs are often drawn from local flora and fauna, northern Ontario cottage life, and Canadiana.” Jen also submitted the beautiful napkins below, inspired by the Ontario pine tree.

If you take these pieces home would you use them or save and display them?

Prizes Available: 6 tea towel sets, 6 napkin sets

Canadiana Necklace – by Kate Singer

The moose, the beaver and the canoe – a combination of classic Ontario symbols – is celebrated on these necklaces by Kate.

Here’s the story behind the necklaces: “In my mind, there is nothing more special about Ontario than the majestic wilderness. In my childhood I spent many hours in a station wagon with a canoe on top travelling with my family to various Ontario campgrounds. On the luckiest of occasions, I paddled by moose and watched beavers build their dams. I spent my summers throughout university planting trees in the backwoods of Ontario’s north and came to know that there are few places as beautiful on earth as Ontario’s wilderness.”

Fun fact: If you visit Canoe Restaurant, acclaimed as one of Canada’s best restaurants serving Canadian-style food, you may see the servers wearing cufflinks featuring Kate’s designs!

Prizes Available: 18 individual necklaces

Beer Box – by The Noble Beaver Trading Company’s Graeme Marrs

For many Ontarians there’s nothing like a cold beer by one of Ontario’s lakes and rivers, and the many microbreweries across the province prove that people here are just as passionate about how beer is made. This Beer Box by Graeme Marrs of the Noble Beaver Trading Company celebrates this Ontario tradition.

Prizes Available: 6 Beer Boxes

“You’re Great” Print – by Kid Icarus

The Kid Icarus Print Department in Toronto’s Kensington Market is the home of master screen printer Michael Viglione, who has been creating posters and art prints for over twelve years. The “You’re Great” wall art up for grabs at TBEX is based on their best-selling postcard. The five Great Lakes, four of which border on Ontario, are the perfect way to celebrate the over 250,000 lakes that Ontario is home to.

Wouldn’t this make the perfect addition to a home office?

Prizes Available: 6 “You’re Great Prints”, 6 Surprise Prints

Forest Collectable – by Sally McCubbin

If you’ve always wanted to have a conversation piece in your home or apartment, this forest collectable by Sally definitely fits the bill. Her glass creations, which represent the Canadian forest, are what she describes as “…a statement about the natural beauty and preciousness of our exports, it displayed our Canadian sensibility of subtle concept and simple design.”

Prizes Available: 6 individual glass pieces

Autumn Maple – by Robert Wu

While we love all four seasons in Ontario, there’s something extra special about fall, which transforms the countryside into a rainbow of reds, oranges and yellows. Robert told us this marbled print was inspired by his travel in the rural Ontario countryside with the beautiful display of fall colours of Ontario maple trees.

Did you know? The marbling in this print is the ancient art of painting on water surface. Colours are floated onto a bath of liquid size, and a comb or rake is then used to move the colours on the surface in order to create patterns. A sheet of paper is then rolled onto the bath in order to pick up the colours or patterns. Each pull is one of a kind!

Prizes Available: 10 Prints

How to enter:

  • Open to TBEX attendees. Contest open from May 27th – June 6th, 2013.
  • While you are in Ontario, tweet your favourite Ontario photos with the tag #OntarioWithLove for your chance to win a special keepsake for you and one of your followers.
  • Enter as many times as you’d like – one winner per Twitter account.
  • There are 50 prizes up for grabs!
  • See full rules and regulations here.

How to claim your prize:

  • We’ll be randomly drawing winners throughout the conference and notifying them on Twitter via @ShareOntario.
  • If you are notified that you are a winner, Direct Message us your mailing address & phone number.
  • We will ship your prize and your additional prize to give away to one of your followers to the address you provided.

Thanks to the Ontario Crafts Council and their wonderfully creative members for putting together these special TBEX prizes. While you are in Toronto, stop by the Ontario Craft Council’s Guild Shop at 118 Cumberland Street in Yorkville. Good luck!

This contest is void where prohibited, and entry is not permitted by anyone who is a resident of any country, region or state, where this contest would be restricted or subject to any filing, registration or other requirements. For full rules and regulations click here.

Travel Blogger Exchange: Toronto Welcomes You to TBEX


A year ago we won the opportunity to host TBEX in Toronto. It’s the kind of event every destination wants to host. We’d do it every year if they’d let us. At the time, TBEX was a 600-person conference growing quickly to meet the new professionalism of blogging.

Now here we are – and here all of you are, 1,200+ strong. And we simply couldn’t be more proud and honoured to be your hosts this week.

Toronto can be easily explored on foot, and just as easily by bike, streetcar, subway, boat, bus or even segway. Visit as many neighbourhoods as you can. In a city where 50 per cent of the residents were born outside of Canada, diversity is our hallmark and nowhere is it more vibrant than in Greektown, Indian Bazaar, Little Italy, Chinatown (any of them – there are five in the metro area), Little Portugal, Koreatown, as well as the Gay Village, Yorkville, Queen West, Liberty Village, Leslieville, and so on.

Today and tomorrow most TBEX delegates are taking advantage of the 75+ city tours we have made available. Those are in addition to the pre-TBEX tours offered by our partners at the Ontario Tourism Marketing Partnership and and the Canadian Tourism Commission.

As you explore the city, be sure to play along on the TBEX PhotoQuest game. How many of the Toronto icons can you identify, find and photograph this weekend? Check the Tourism Toronto TBEX Pinterest boards or click the above link for the icons to find and post your photos to Pinterest and Twitter.

When you’re not taking a tour you can use your VIP Attractions Passport that provides free admission to more than 20 Toronto and regional attractions. You can pick up your passports at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre today and tomorrow at the Tourism Toronto TBEX Concierge Desk.

After all the tours, things really get started with the official opening night reception hosted by Tourism Toronto where you’ll enjoy food from Toronto’s neighbourhoods, the outstanding wines of Ontario and some of Toronto’s best craft beers, plus a few surprises.


Friends, we are honoured to have you here. You are professional storytellers and we think you’ll find some exciting, one-of-a-kind and ever-changing stories here that we hope you’ll blog, tweet and generally shout about. Because it’s simply too good a story to keep to ourselves.

The Tourism Toronto team is here to assist with anything you need and answer any questions you have throughout the weekend and afterwards. And of course the many enthusiastic Toronto-based bloggers are rich troves of information and tips (and may even help you find some of the PhotoQuest icons if you ask). We look forward to an inspiring weekend and hope you’ll visit again soon.

Andrew Weir is Vice President, Communications of Tourism Toronto. Follow him at @ABWeir.

Travel Blog Exchange: The Ultimate Guide to TBEX 2013 in Toronto



Are you joining us in Toronto this week for TBEX? If so, this is the post for you! We’ve compiled all information about TBEX 2013 in Toronto in this post, so you can make sure you didn’t miss a single announcement.

The Conference:

DAY ONE: Pre-BEX Toronto Experiences (May 30, 2013)

  • Day Trips 1 and 2 start at 9:30 AM.
  • All other tours start at 2:00 PM.
  • You must sign up ahead of time for Pre-BEX experiences.
  • More information about Pre-BEX experiences on Day One is available here.

DAY TWO: Pre-BEX Toronto Experiences and Workshops (May 31, 2013)

  • TBEX registration is open from 8:00 AM – 6:00 PM.
  • The first tours and workshops start at 9:30 AM.
  • You must sign up ahead of time for Pre-BEX experiences and workshops.
  • More information about Pre-BEX experiences on Day Two is available here, here, and here (there are three pages of experiences to look through for Day Two).
  • More information about Pre-BEX workshops on Day Two is available here.
  • Our opening party is hosted by Tourism Toronto at Roy Thomson Hall, a short walk from most hotels.

DAY THREE: TBEX (June 1, 2013)

  • TBEX registration is open from 7:00 AM – 5:00 PM.
  • The Welcome and Opening Keynote with Trey Ratcliff starts at 8:45 AM.
  • The breakout sessions start at 10:15 AM.
  • There will be a lunch break at 12:30 PM.
  • The General Session, including a keynote with Dave and Deb from ThePlanetD, starts at 2:40 PM.
  • Speed Dating (see more below) starts at 4:00 PM.
  • Expedia’s Viewing Party at Shopsy’s on Centre Island starts at 7:00 PM. Complimentary ferry transportation is provided – please RSVP via the email listed here, and you must bring your TBEX badge to get in!

DAY FOUR: TBEX (June 2, 2013)

  • TBEX registration is open from 8:00 AM – 12:00 PM.
  • The Morning Keynote with Erik Lindbergh starts at 8:45 AM.
  • The breakout sessions start at 10:15 AM.
  • There will be a lunch break at 12:30 PM.
  • Open Marketplace starts at 2:30 PM.
  • This Week in Travel Live with Chris Christensen, Gary Arndt, and Jennifer Leo starts at 4:45 PM, followed by an invitation to TBEX Europe in Dublin, Ireland, as well as closing announcements.
  • Our evening event starts at 7:00 PM (Time and location TBA).

DAY FIVE: Post-TBEX Toronto Experiences (June 3, 2013)

Other Events:

  • For those of you in town early, check out the G Adventures Party at Tryst Night Club on May 29, starting at 7:00 PM. Space is limited, and the event is full, but there’s a waiting list. Learn more and sign up here.
  • We’ll be holding a “newbie Q&A session” in the American Express Lounge on June 1 at 10:15 AM, directly following the morning keynote. If you’re new to TBEX, this is a great session to attend for TBEX information and to ask questions. More details are available here.

Speed Dating and Open Marketplace:

Miscellaneous Info and Announcements:

About Toronto:

Toronto Attendees on Twitter:

Follow TBEX via Social Media:

Travel Blog Exchange: Food Blogger Andrew Dobson Recommends Toronto Restaurants for Every Occasion


Andrew DobsonI met Andrew Dobson during a site visit to Toronto. His energy, love for the city, and fabulous food recommendations convinced me that he would be a great addition to our TBEX line up, as we expand our reach into the food and culinary niches. With the theme of “Eat Well, Travel Hard, Live Better”, Andrew’s blog Dobbernation Loves serves up slices of life and food around the world.

We have over a thousand people coming to Toronto for TBEX, many of them spending some extended time in the city. I know that everyone is looking for some great finds when it comes to food and drink, but everyone has different taste preferences and budget range. Since Andrew is my to-go food guy, I thought I’d ask him for some restaurant choices in a variety of different categories. Here are his recommendations:

For Bar Food:  Real Sports Bar and Grill has been ranked as North America’s best sports bar located right downtown beside the Air Canada Centre. The massive complex features hundreds of screens, a resident DJ and the world’s best wings. The space is absolutely massive, you really have to see it to believe it!

For Street Food:  The city’s top foodie fans gather once a month at The Don Valley Brickworks for an adult only food and beverage bonanza at the Toronto Underground Market (affectionately referred to as TUM). This popular community food initiative has created a space for home cooks and budding culinary champions to sell their Pop Up bits and bites to an eager crowd.

For Late Night Dining:  Party goers in the West End (and insomniacs with hunger pains) line up at the Toronto’s top poutine emporium into the wee hours of the night. Poutini’s has become somewhat of an institution focusing their efforts on feeding fry fans into the wee hours of the morning. The perfect spot to indulge in Canada’s signature dish courtesy of greasy spoons across Quebec.

The Ceili Cottage, Toronto

For Irish Food (in preparation for TBEX Dublin):  In Toronto’s East End locals proudly promote their love for The Ceili Cottage. The cities most authentic Irish Pub features a fantastic ambiance with a bounty of brews on tap and Emerald Isle focused menu. Their Sticky Toffee Pudding is addictive. I made a point of popping by for a pint a day before I flew to Dubin for St. Paddy’s Day. A perfect way to inspire the taste buds before adventuring across the pond.

For Brunch:  Toronto is obsessed with brunching. There are loads of great offerings throughout the city and I know by selecting just one here I will surely cause a riot. One of my favourite spots is at celebrated Origin where they mix up old school favorites with creative new creations. Brunch highlights include Buffalo Mozzarella everything, Singaporean Laksa and a to die for French Toast featuring duck confit, blueberries, hoisin, sesame seed brittle and sour cream.

Fresh, Toronto

For Vegetarian:  Fresh offers up the cities most innovative vegetarian and vegan offerings. My favourite starter combination is the sweet potato fries with miso gravy. The crowds come here for energizing quick fix lunches featuring bowls full of salad, sprouts, nuts and tofu. Their location at Spadina and Richmond in the heart of the Entertainment and Fashion District is always bustling and a great place to people watch.

For Ramen:  In 2012 Toronto underwent a ramen craze. I spent most of the Fall and Winter running around the city reviewing each new business as it popped open its doors. Reports were rife with long line ups worthy of a hearty bowl. My two favorites are in Baldwin Village at Kinton Ramen and across from the Four Seasons Centre at Chef David Chang’s Momofuku Noodle Bar.

For Diner Food:  The most iconic diner in Toronto is actually located a stone’s throw from the flashiest intersection in the city, Dundas Square. Avoid the crowds and ho-hum restaurant franchises along Yonge Street and make a visit to The Senator. The house at 249 Victoria Street that has become The Senator is Toronto’s oldest restaurant and dates back to the 19th century. I first visited the place with my dad and we both commented on how we felt as though we were in a NYC-themed Woody Allen film.

Tea at Windsor Arms, Toronto

For a Special Splurge:  Afternoon Tea at the Windsor Arms Hotel in the heart of swanky Yorkville offers one of the cities most phenomenal tea and scone experiences (with all those dainty sandwiches you are craving). This hotel is filled to the brim with celebrity sightings during the Toronto International Film Festival. Come here to appreciate the boutique properties unique ambiance and be sure to dress up while you’re at it.

To be Entertained:  Over the past year hospitality pioneers have opened up unique gaming spaces offering up top notch cuisine for those who like to nibble while they play. Bowling fans with a penchant for good food and libations head to The Ballroom in the Entertainment District while Ping Pong aficionados grab a paddle at King Street West’s SPiN.

Andrew Dobson will be on the “A Taste of Place: Defining a Destination Through Its Food Culture” panel at TBEX. Have you registered yet?

Photos courtesy of Andrew Dobson


TBEX Toronto: 1,000 Travel Lovers* (and Counting)



What does a crowd of 1,000 travel lovers look like? We don’t know yet – but we will when we get to Toronto! That’s right, we’ve surpassed 1,000 registered attendees for TBEX Toronto. This will be the biggest TBEX yet, and we can’t wait.

What’s in store for those 1,000 attendees? Well, there are still spots open for the pre- and post-TBEX Toronto tours, available May 30, May 31, and June 3. We’ve got an opening party hosted by Toronto Tourism on May 31, and an Expedia party on June 1. There’s an awesome slate of companies who’ll be there, ready to meet with travel bloggers. And we just published the program for TBEX Toronto.

Yeah, very exciting, indeed.

Will you be joining us in Toronto? There’s still time to register!

* That tally includes travel bloggers, destinations, industry representatives, and PR people… But we’re pretty sure that every single attendee is a travel lover. And having 1,000+ travel enthusiasts in one place is pretty doggone cool, no?

Toronto Revealed: Travel Bloggers Podcast About the TBEX 2013 Host City


We know TBEXers are excited to see what Toronto and the surrounding area have to offer, both during TBEX and on trips they’ve planned before and after, but here’s the dilemma – with twice as many bloggers set to descend on the city as were at TBEX in Keystone, telling a unique story is going to be an even bigger challenge than it usually is. Rather than settle for letting your blog posts sound and look like every other attendee’s, then, it will be important to do your homework in advance to find story angles that will make your experiences stand out. To get more information on what to expect from the city and start to brainstorm your story angles, here’s an interview with Tourism Toronto.

Creative Commons photo by jbcurio on Flickr

Creative Commons photo by jbcurio on Flickr

One of things that stuck in my blogging brain from the last TBEX conference was that wherever I go, someone will already have written about that place. To bring something worthwhile to the travel content space, I need to seek out new personal experiences and new stories in any destination that I visit. So when I heard that the next TBEX conference was in Toronto and reviewed what I’d previously written about the city, I realised that I needed some help as I had not brought anything new and personal to the destination on previous trips. That’s why I reached out to Andrew Weir, the Vice President of Communications for Tourism Toronto, for an interview on my Travel Bloggers Podcast.

With an anticipated 1,000 travel bloggers coming to the city for TBEX Toronto, all of whom will be looking to write about the destination, the challenge for everyone will be to find an angle and perspective that will stand out. While asking an expert like Andrew specific questions about what bloggers coming to Toronto should know if they want to find new stories resulted in practical tips we can all use during our TBEX trips, I also learned some interesting bits of information about the city that helps to inform the rest of my planning process.

I interviewed Andrew for my Travel Bloggers Podcast, and you can listen to the interview using the online player below, via iTunes, or via this link.

I asked Andrew to help travel bloggers understand more about the city, what those of us attending TBEX Toronto could expect, what he suggests we do to prepare and do once there. In the podcast he talks about:

  • What is Tourism Toronto and its role.
  • Events and activities happening around TBEX in Toronto.
  • Advice and tips for travel bloggers visiting Toronto to attend TBEX to find their personal experiences and stories.

You can follow and find out more about Tourism Toronto:

Guest Post Author Bio: Gary Bembridge grew up in Zimbabwe, and has been London based since 1987. He has been travelling every month of every year for the last 20 years thanks to his job as a global marketer for Unilever, Johnson & Johnson and now a global brand consultant. He launched Tips For Travellers in 2005 with a podcast and blog to share learning on how to get the most out of every destination he has visited. His Travel Bloggers Podcast was launched in 2013.