Annual travel show features more vendors, prizes
Dallas and Olympia Garcia speak with a travel agent about possible vacation options for the summer during last year's Travel Show Extravaganza.

FORT RUCKER, Al. (Mar. 1, 2012) -- Leisure Travel Services has big plans for the upcoming 24th annual Travel Show Extravaganza to be held March 7, from 11a.m. to 2p.m. at The Landing.

This year, 47 vendors are scheduled to be there and more than 1,000 people are expected to attend, said Heather Linnell, assistant in the Leisure Travel office.

Carnival Cruise Line, Universal Studios, Hilton Sandestin and Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail are a few of the more familiar names people will see at the show, said Linnell. A number of hotel chains will also have displays at the event, in addition to several popular attractions within driving distance, such as the Georgia Aquarium, the CNN Studio Tour, Medieval Times and the Holyland Experience.

A list of vendors will be given to people as they enter a show, along with a bag for collecting information and an entry form for door prizes. Some of the door prizes include hotel stays, so the winners could almost have a free vacation, she said.

"We have so many prizes! We tried to figure it out to give a prize away every 15 minutes, but we have to do it more than that," said Kristen Hartwell, program manager for Leisure Travel Services.

There will also be two grand prizes given away during the show, she said.

Though the Leisure Travel team can help Soldiers and Families plan trips to just about anywhere, the travel show really features attractions in Alabama and the surrounding states, Hartwell said.

"A lot of people just don't know what's around," said Linnell. "There are all kinds of thing you can do on a weekend, if you just want to drive, that people don't know about."

Last year, weather delayed the start of the show, but about 800 people still attended the event. This year, there are a few changes, said Linnell and Hartwell. The main differences are more vendors and more prizes, but this year's show will also have a safari theme.

"It will take up the whole inside of The Landing," Linnell said.

Many of the changes were based on the results of a survey completed during last year's travel show, Hartwell said. They'll also be doing a survey this year. After they get the results from that, the Leisure Travel staff will start planning next year's show.

"We're trying to let people know there's more out there in traveling besides Disney and the beaches. There's just so much more," she said.

One thing to remember about the show, Hartwell said, is that the vendors and Leisure Travel staff won't be booking trips during the show. The vendors are there to show people what's new in travel. Then, the staff can help people make their reservations at a later time.

Even if someone is not in the area, the Leisure Travel office can help with reservations and ship tickets to them, said Linnell. They get a lot of people calling from the Fort Benning area, but they also take calls from as far away as Afghanistan.

Some Soldiers want to plan trips for when they are home on leave. The office just helped a Soldier in Germany plan a trip to Daytona, said Hartwell.

"We'll just hold on to his tickets until he comes back," Linnell said.

Leisure Travel Services is in Rm. 130 on the ground floor of the Soldier Service Center, Bldg. 5700. It is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. For more information, call (334) 255-2997 or (334) 255-9517.

Page last updated Thu March 1st, 2012 at 15:37