Just like a lot of travel bloggers I get the most crazy emails and request from random people and businesses from around the world suggesting that I am going to spend time and money in growing their new business or helping them becoming a successful travel blogger. Sorry but that is not the way it works, so I cant help you grow your Instagram account nor am I going to find you costumers for your travel agencies or will I promote your new app for free.
World Tourism Forum Istanbul 2017
Though some of those emails are worth taking a closer look at. If I had not been reminded by some people to check that email from July 2015 about that Turkey Travel Forum thing with an invitation to to come to Istanbul I would have totally missed it! Do they include flights? Are they flying me in to Turkey? Did my blog and my Social Media following reached a point where people start flying me around the world to be a guest at their event? I could hardly believe this was happening and I remember doing a little dance around my apartment in Bangkok when I got the confirmation email. Traveltomtom is going on an inspiring adventure around Europe and will be taking his first steps into professional travel blogging.
Since it was my first press trip ever I had no clue what to expect. All I knew was that there would be more than 50 other international travel bloggers and thousands of influential people in the Tourism Industry plus a couple keynote speakers. If the Prime Minister of Turkey will be speaking at the World Tourism Forum then it must be a big event I thought.
Traveltomtom goes professional at a Turkey Travel Forum
It all made such a big impression on me that I decided it was about time to add some essential pieces to my wardrobe. After running around in shorts and flipflops for the majority of the last 4 years it was funny to see myself in the mirror completely dressed up in a suit, but hey I can tell you I was a proud man! Even more so taking a look at my first business cards… this shit was getting real! :)
The opening was pretty overwhelming as I had never been to an official conference like this before. Multiple cameras and press lined up and plenty of those stressful guys with their big ass cameras running around trying to get the best shot of the keynote speakers. I was really excited to be part of this and I sat in the back of the hall staring around to see what was all happening here.
During the openings dinner at the St. Regis Istanbul I already met a bunch of amazing people, and sitting next to the founder of the huge Instagram account luxuryworldtraveler was an honour. Just as inspiring was meeting all these fantastic other travel bloggers with very successful blogs and huge followings on social media. Coming back to my room at the W Istanbul that night I plunged on my bed and stared at the ceiling with a big smile! Wow this gang is so freaking awesome, so inspiring and on top of that they were such warm and genuine people. It literally felt like I was received with open arms! Thank you all guys, I feel like you accepted me to the small family of successful travel bloggers!
Some special words to Jonathan and Kacha from the Two Monkeys Travel Group. First of all those two were such an adorable couple, so humble and lovely, but above all they were so extremely helpful and inspiring, it was great to have met them. Their impressive speech about how to monetize your blog travel blog was the best thing I have heard in a long time. I was literally flabbergasted and stared with open mount and did not want this masterclass to end. It made me realize that for me there is still a very long way to go. But if you really want to make it happen in the travel blogging world, it is possible! Thanks a million for your inspiration and your kindness!
Live updates during the World Tourism Forum Istanbul 2017
Thank you all for your hundreds of messages through Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram stories during the event. As you know I still try to reply everyone, but it can take some time if you guys all send me messages at the same time. To me it was amazing to see your engagement during the World Tourism Forum and to see that you loved the behind the scenes shots with the other travel bloggers. For those who have missed my crazy adventures during the World Tourism Forum Istanbul, I suggest you keep track of my social media. If you would have tuned in you would have seen me meeting the world famous @zachking, or doing crazy stuff with a lot of other well known bloggers. My Snapchat stories would have given you a look behind the scenes at a blogger event. Follow me by taking a screenshot of the following Snapcode or add me on Instagram @traveltomtom! Oh and I almost completely forgot about the gala dinner where I had a little talk with some drunk ministers from random countries around the world. ;)