Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Rick Steves, the Nicest Man in Culinary Tourism, Is Coming to Town

Posted By on Tue, Jan 14, 2014 at 5:29 AM

The anti-Bourdain, Rick Steves
  • The anti-Bourdain, Rick Steves
You can tell a lot about a person by asking them a few "who do you prefer?" questions. Beatles or Rolling Stones? Mary Ann or Ginger? Tintin or Asterix? When it comes to culinary tourism, the opposite ends of the spectrum are the bombastic Anthony Bourdain and the down-home Rick Steves. Bourdain had his own comments on the differences between them in an interview I conducted with him last year.

While a lot of folks may brashly say they would love to travel the world like Bourdain, eating, drinking and partying their way through dangerous and exotic locales, I'll bet most people would prefer Steves' well-planned and affordable tours. He often concentrates on native cuisines on his PBS show and radio shows/podcasts, and if I'm planning an eatinerary anywhere farther away than Key West, I usually consult Steves first.

So it's cool that he's coming to Nashville on Monday, Jan. 27, as the keynote speaker at the International Tour Management Institute (ITMI) Symposium at the Renaissance Hotel downtown. The fact that the ITMI is bringing their symposium to Music City is a big deal, because it's the only travel industry conference that brings together domestic and international tour operators, tour directors and guides, event planners, destination marketing organizations and travel writers. So hopefully they'll be quite impressed with our fair city and bring back a whole mess of tourists with them on their next visits.

Deep down, haven't many of us wished we could live the peripatetic lifestyle of a travel guide? The allure of visiting foreign places and learning how to give entertaining tours to paying groups sounds pretty attractive to me. If you want to take the leap, contact and find out about their training or how to attend the symposium.

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