The second Bi-Annual Luxury Travel Show was held last night at restaurant.mc, located at 57 Main Street in Millburn, from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. Roy Twiste of Carlson Wagonlit Travel sponsored and organized the event. A large turnout of residents and business owners enjoyed good food, wine and meeting with luxury travel representatives.
Part of the proceeds of the admission cost, which included a light dinner, wine and beverages as well as the chance to win prizes provided by some of the world's finest hotels and resorts, will be donated to the Food Allergy Initiative, Opportunity Project and the Millburn-Short Hills Chamber of Commerce.
Nearby residents and business owners mingled with luxury travel companies, providing attendees with the unique opportunity to meet face-to-face with more than two dozen premier travel companies, hoteliers and outstanding luxury travel venues. Sponsor of the event, Roy Twiste, said that this type of event is usually done for the travel agency industry and is never really done for customers. He said that typically customers never see any of the travel professionals they deal with and usually do not have the chance to meet them. "I felt this was a good way to introduce consumers to the people within the industry," Twiste told The Alternative Press. He said he organized the event for the first time two years ago and plans to hold it again in 2011. Regarding last night's event, he stated, "The response was slow initially but then within the last two weeks, the response really picked up. More people are coming tonight than the amount who pre-registered." "I am very happy with the turnout," he added.
President of the Millburn-Short Hills Chamber of Commerce, Ralph Tarnofsky, was on hand for the event. "I'm very encouraged by the large turnout and support being shown for Roy Twiste's event, which directly benefits the Millburn-Short Hills Chamber and the Opportunity Project," Tarnofsky said. "As the President of the Milburn-Short Hills Chamber of Commerce, I would like to encourage more events of this type to be held in our downtown," he added.
Luxury travel vendors on hand were excited to be participants. Kelly Finn, Sales Manager of the City Club Hotel located at 55 West 44th Street in New York City said, "We are very excited to be a part of this and to be able to reach out to this market in New Jersey." The City Club Hotel was recently the venue for the Vanity Fair Oscar party. Jeff Klein owns both the City Club Hotel and its sister hotel, the Sunset Tower Hotel. He is opening the Monkey Bar with Graydon Carter of Vanity Fair soon.
Anna Maria Sorrentino, of Shop, Wine and Dine Custom Tours of Italy, is a Millburn resident and was eager to discuss her luxury travel company. She said, "we are looking to have exposure for our product. There is fairly affluent clientele attending tonight. As a local business from New Jersey, we are hoping to attract the attention of the elite clientele from this area who will appreciate our product." Ms. Sorrentino stated that her company specializes in food and wine tours to Italy and that most of the trips are custom designed. She said that the travel is to unique and alternative Italian destinations not otherwise available.
Hellen Fullem, President of the Crown Collection, said that she was happy to participate in the event because it provides "additional exposure to people who travel and who like nice hotels and select cruise lines." She added that her business "is not just about selling hotel rooms or space on a ship. It's about selling memories. That's what good travel is all about…it's when memories linger long after the travel has taken place."
Noel Mayforth Carroll of The Carroll Group, which represents luxury hotels, said she was very excited to attend the Show. "I'm very happy to be here to introduce our properties to all of the individual clients," she stated. One of her travel destinations is the Belize Lodge and Excursion, which is new to the American market. It includes a series of lodges, wilderness, jungle, and a private beach.
Sea Cloud Cruises was represented by Michael McIntosh at the Luxury Travel Show. He said, "it's great to be here with other companies in high-end travel." Echoing a sentiment heard repeatedly throughout the night, he added, "It's nice to meet actual people taking luxury vacations and enjoying luxury travel."