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More than 300 million people participate in religious travel annually and faith-based travel is one of the fastest growing group segments in the United States.

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More than 300 million people participate in religious travel annually and faith-based travel is one of the fastest growing group segments in the United States. Church leadership, staff, and volunteers are the primary planners of faith-based group trips, ranging from dozens to hundreds and even thousands of participants who travel nationally and internationally with a purpose. These faith travel decision-makers are the key to fulfilling the market, so a conference that will provide an intensive, multi-track educational and “best practices” format designed to help these travel planners book meaningful, diverse programs for years to come, is sure to be a hit.

With numbers like that to spur them forward, Unicomm LLC and Travel with Spirit have jointly announced the introduction of a Faith Travel Conference & Exposition. This unique annual event will bring together all segments of the faith tourism industry, including group leaders, ministry organizations, and fundraising professionals who actively book group travel and want to connect with the travel industry’s leading domestic and international destinations and suppliers.

The inaugural event, to be held in the heart of the American “Bible Belt,” is scheduled to take place May 19-20, 2011 in the host city of Atlanta, Georgia. The Faith Travel Conference and Exposition is expected to draw thousands of group travel planners and 150 destinations and suppliers. Faith travel planners will be offered a blend of informative sessions offering tools and best practices to develop effective mission, outreach, and retreat group travel programs, along with insightful keynotes from influential Christian pastors and leaders – Catholic and Protestant – who have embraced the positive effect of travel on church ministries. The conference also will offer content geared to exhibitors who are looking to expand or launch faith-travel divisions within their companies.

“Faith-based travel isn’t a new concept, but in the last five years the movement has matured,” said Honnie Korngold, host and editor of Travel with Spirit Television and Magazine and Faith Travel Conference & Expo chairperson. “This event marks a turning point for the industry. The hallmark of the Faith Travel Conference and Expo will be the depth and breadth of resources we will provide to faith travel planners, group leaders, ministry organizations, and fundraising professionals looking for unique, authentic travel experiences that meet the needs of their group members. This is a ‘don’t miss’ event for those who want to develop business relationships and sustain their presence in the booming inspirational travel industry.”

The event is positioned to also take advantage of a growing sector in faith tourism-leisure and fellowship vacations. “More and more ministries are using group travel as an ideal tool for binding congregations and deepening fellowship; there is a tremendous opportunity for destinations, cruise and tour operators to tap in to this rapidly increasing market,” said John Golicz, CEO of Unicomm. “Attendees will have the opportunity to meet top travel destination experts and learn best practices to provide their ministries with the most rewarding group travel programs.”

For more information, go to .

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