LACONIA — The third annual Passport To The World travel trade show attracted its largest crowd ever at the Margate Resort Saturday.
Many of those attending the show, sponsored by Penny Pitou Travel, said that it felt good after being cooped up inside by a long, harsh winter to be able to get out in some warmer weather and look at travel brochures showing them warm climates and visualize themselves on cruise ships and in exotic destinations.
''We go on cruises a lot, and we've been dreaming a lot this winter about places we'd like to go. This is a great travel show to come to because they have so many presentations about places that you don't know about,'' said Tammy Calley, who was there with her husband, Steven.
Mark Taroberelli, one of the presenters from Walt Disney Parks & Resorts, agreed wholeheartedly. It's his second time at the show, and he couldn't have been happier with the reception he was receiving. ''It's a wonderful show, well attended by people who are really interested in travel and very sophisticated about what they're looking for. It's the only one like it in the Northeast,'' said Taraborelli.
Kim Terrio, office manager of Penny Pitou Travel, said that she could sense a pent-up demand for travel among those who turned out Saturday.
She said the show enjoys a good reputation among those in the travel industry. ''They like to come to Laconia. They like the people here and think they're friendly and eager to learn and they get lots of business while they're here.''
Karmen Gifford, executive director of the Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce, who attended the show with her her husband, said she was impressed with the large turnout and the enthusiasm being shown by both the public and those presenting information on behalf of the resorts, tour groups and attractions.
''This is one of the best attended travel shows I've ever been at,'' said Roberta Diaz of Delta Vacations, who covers an area from New York City to Maine and said that she was so busy that she ran out of brochures before noon.
Penny Pitou said that the travel representatives love the show. ''We greet them with a cocktail party Friday night and keep them fed all weekend. They love it here and always eager to come back.''