In a very short time (not surprising in our digital era), +TBEX: Travel Blog Exchange has become the largest gathering of travel bloggers in the world. Starting as an online community founded by Kim Mance (GoGalavanting) TBEX moved from the web to actual physical destinations in the form of a travel bloggers conference. Canada first heard about it when Kim participated as a panelist at a conference I chaired. A few years ago, after TBEX Vancouver, Bloggers World acquired TBEX and it's been growing exponentially since. The conference per se is full of helpful sessions for bloggers of all levels, but the best part of the whole event is what the host destinations have in store for the bloggers. This is a win win win conference for tourism. Travel destinations can participate as hosts, sponsors or speed dating (to meet face to face with the bloggers) participants.
The host destination wins by welcoming over 1,000 travel bloggers (the number of bloggers attending TBEX Toronto was between 1,200 and 1,300) who start tweeting and blogging about the host city/country even before the event starts (TBEX Toronto tweeted that there had been over 25 MILLION impressions on twitter before the 1st day of the event)! The bloggers win because they get to network with other bloggers, destinations they might not have visited yet, companies like Expedia (which threw a great party on Toronto's Centre Island), local destination officials and they get to go on so many tours prepared by the host destination with lots of photo opps and great story ideas. And tourism wins, because the travel blogging community just gets stronger and stronger. As Think Social Media's +William Bakker said at one of his presentations "We believe travel enhances people's lives...tourism is good for the world."
If you are a travel blogger or want to become one, I very much recommend you attend a TBEX conference. The next one is in Dublin, Ireland next October. If you are a destination, you should explore the possibility of bringing TBEX to your city. There's no other way, that I can think of, to bring over a 1,000 travel bloggers to discover or rediscover your destination. To get that kind of traction one blogger at a time would be time and cost prohibitive.