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VANCOUVER, British Columbia - The preeminent annual gathering of travel bloggers from around the world, the Travel Blog Exchange Conference, is set to kick off a record year in Vancouver, BC this weekend.
Founded in 2008 as an online community for travel bloggers, the organization quickly grew into a worldwide phenomenon with more than 5,000 global content-creating members trading best practices, links, and above all travel stories. "Travel blogging is more than just a hobby for our members," notes founder Kim Mance, "It's a passion, and a way of life. For many of us, it has become a full-time career. And the cumulative result of our content has a huge impact on tourism." Mance is also a longtime travel writer, and editor of online travel magazine GoGalavanting.com.
"Together with our partners at Tourism British Columbia and the Canadian Tourism Commission, we are delighted to be hosting TBEX '11 in Vancouver," said Walt Judas, Tourism Vancouver's vice president of Marketing Communications and Member Services. "Travel bloggers play a key role in generating the current, detailed and inspiring travel information that can lead to bookings. We're excited to have the spotlight on Vancouver this weekend when many of North America's top travel bloggers are in our destination."
Another sign that TBEX is touching a mainstream nerve: traditional print publications have editors and reporters attending the show. Travel staffers from Travel + Leisure, the Los Angeles Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, Frommers, Lonely Planet, and dozens of other outlets will be participating in the conference. For those who didn't secure a ticket for the sold-out event, online content will be plentiful, including real-time updates on Twitter using the hashtag #TBEX.
This year's conference includes an emphasis on narrative writing, revenue-generating models for online media, and ethics for bloggers. Major sponsors include American Express, TripAdvisor, and a variety of resorts, hotels, and tourism destinations.