This is a summary of my experience of TBEX in a slide show. Enjoy!
I travelled from Cape Town to Barcelona, via Paris last week, a 27 hour journey (with delays, sadly the nature of these things sometimes) to attend the international Travel Blogger’s Exchange (TBEX) in Girona, an hour and a half out of Barcelona.
It was my first international travel bloggers conference and I left home a bundle of excitement and a few nerves slipped in for good measure.
The conference was held over two days with a grand opening ceremony in an 11th Century castle the night before and catering done by El Celler de Can Rocca, World’s second best restaurant in the World’s 50 Best- you can read about my experience dining there last year, here.
On Friday evening, after the first session, Expedia whisked the 350 delegates 40 minutes out of Girona to a special venue, Hostal Empuries an eco hotel with the highest of green accreditation, situated on the beach.
Delegates attended the sessions that interested them on a variety of topics from SEO, creative writing, photography and podcasts, to pitching and collaborative relationships with brands. My frustration was that I could not be in more than two rooms at the same time, without a clone at any rate.
I found the sessions informative but relaxed, inviting comment and conversation. I expected the session presented by Melvin of TravelDudes and Keith of Velvet Escapes on Return on Investments and calculating the value of blog posts and tweets to be slightly controversial as it is brand new ground they are breaking and as one can reason there are one hundred unsolved questions surrounding the matter.
Proceedings at TBEX came to an end with an elaborate enactment of the battle against the French at the Cathedral grounds, with plenty of explosions and soldiers in period costume.
New friends were made, contacts exchanged but it seems farewells have not been said for good – many of the bloggers are mingling in and around the Costa Brava, some at the invitation of the local tourism board, others to extend the conference to a mini- break. All having a rollicking time in the Spanish sun, eating too much seafood and attempting to out-drink the locals.
Massive congratulations to Jaume Marin and the Costa Brava Tourism board for exceeding our expectations and going above and beyond in hosting us in Girona.