Going on Faith

OCT-NOV 2016

The Magazine for faith-based travel planners.

Issue link: http://digital.goingonfaith.com/i/737403

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going on faith [ goingonfaith.com ] BUSY TRAVEL PLANNERS About 130 church and travel program directors attended the conference. All arrived with specific goals in mind, whether it was their first time to the conference or they were veterans. "We have members with all types of budgets," said Joe Cappuzzello, president and CEO of The Group Travel Family, which staged the conference. "Sometimes it's misrepresented that religious groups are always on a tight budget looking for lower room rates. They are people going all around the world to Israel, Italy and all religious sites. Our people will go anywhere if they see value in it." Darla Morgan of Southern Hills Baptist Church in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, was a new attendee. "I'm just starting out in this industry and was told this is where I need to be," she said. "Getting the contacts and knowing what is available out there is necessary. There are wonderful resources here. I really enjoyed this." Morgan's group is called the BALL club, which stands for Be Active Live Longer. "We met quite a few people we didn't expect to see," said Diane Nichols of New Hope Senior Adults of Fayetteville, Georgia. "This is our third time here, and every time we've found somebody and booked trips. We do day trips and overnights, cruises, and are talking about going out of the country." Howard Vandever of West Division Street Baptist Church in Springfield, Missouri, made a direct con- nection between travel and faith. "We took over the ministry from another couple and enjoy going out and seeing the things God made," Vandever said. "On the way here, we went by the Grand Canyon, Painted Desert National Park and Petrified Forest National Park. Our groups are older, and we enjoy taking people out to see everything. It's mind-boggling." Darlene McClure of O Happy Days Tours in Visalia, California, was one of many planners repre- senting the Golden State. "I try to find out how to grow my groups and involve them in the faith-based travel community," said McClure. "I've been to Israel twice, and my niche is religious travel." McClure added that she received a business inspiration while on a religious trip. "I actually heard the song 'O Happy Day' while on the Sea of Galilee, and tears began to flow, and I knew that would be my travel company's name," she said. One program director came from Nassau, Bahamas, but is looking for interesting stateside destinations. Delton Ellis of Mount Tabor Full Gospel Baptist Church said, "I try to discover what out there is new. We've done a lot of international travel over the last eight years, including Israel, Europe and the Greek Isles, but we've started coming back to America." C O N T I N U E D O N PAG E 1 3

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