“Way to Go – Idaho!” – by Lakshman Ratnapala

IDAHO was the focus of our meeting on June 16th at the Larkspur Hotel, 524 Sutter St. in San Francisco. Karen Ballard, Administrator – Tourism Development of the Department of Commerce, State of Idaho, gave us an overview of the state’s tourist attractions for outdoor adventure and family fun. Adding an element of zip to her presentation were two videos, one of which was a special video of BATW’s own Special Agent 208 on vacation. (See link here: http://www.visitidaho.org/my-id/?PID=cd8abf9ecb57441196af25e27e55cbf2166.)
Karen fielded a number of questions from the very interested audience of 30 travel writers and photojournalists, the enquiries ranging from the possibilities for feature writing on wineries in Idaho (“yes, we do produce quality wines in Idaho,” Karen said) to questions relating to Idaho’s visitor profiles. She said she would be happy to create special tour packages for individual travel writers and photojournalists, on request, and even to organize a media FAM tour for BATW, if asked by the Board — Ginny and Co., please note!
Erin Caslavka conducted the meeting, in the absence of the Chairperson. Articulate and ebullient, as always, Erin introduced the Larkspur Hotel’s Director of Sales Jim Bruels, who described the Larkspur Hotel chain’s investments in recent property upgrades. Jim also awarded a door prize of a night’s complimentary stay at the Sutter Street property, and distributed invitations to free drinks at the hotel’s 1915 Bar to all present.
Suzie Rodriguez asked that BATW members note the new Professional Code of Ethics, which will go into operation shortly, along with the new Bylaws.
Erin outlined the program of events for the rest of 2012. She also said she will be relinquishing her position as Program Chair at the end of this year, after two years in the post, and called for volunteers to take over the “challenging but enjoyable” assignment in 2013. Erin will be a hard act to follow, but journalists always seem to think they can do other people’s jobs, better. So, to many of you, it should be a breeze! (Potential candidates: please let Erin and Ginny know of your interest.)

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