Shownotes for "Travel with Stephanie Abrams!" Radio Show (TWSA!) with Travel Expert and Radio Talk Show Host Stephanie Abrams - MM DD, 2011
"Travel with Stephanie Abrams!" Radio Show - August 07, 2011
Enjoying beer at the lodge in Utah Ski the Greatest Snow on Earth in Utah, USA; Saddle Up at the Wilderness Trails Ranch in Durango, Colorado; Activities Abound at Diamond D Ranch in Stanley, Idaho; Travel to New Heights on the Sandia Peak Aerial Tramway in Albuquerque, New Mexico; Travel Insights from the Albuquerque Innkeepers Association in New Mexico, USA; Albuquerque, New Mexico is Certainly a Trip!; CheapOAir Fares Too Good to Miss.

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Hour 1

Topics Include:

Link to this segment

Jessica Kunzer, Director of Communications, Ski Utah, Utah Ski Association, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA.
www.skiutah.com

Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams welcomes Jessica Kunzer, Director of Communications at Ski Utah, Utah Ski Association, to the "Travel with Stephanie Abrams!" Radio Show.  Stephanie always begins talking with her audience about ski vacations in early August so listeners can begin to make preparations well in advance of the winter months.  Rather than settle based on availability, she says early planning affords the flexibility to select what to do and where to do it.  "August is the 'Think Snow' month," she advises.  "Today's program is even geared towards all of you snow bunnies who just want to wear the cute clothes and sit around the fireplace with a hot chocolate or a hot chocolate with some Baileys in it and talk with other people who are like-minded." 

According to Jessica, Ski Utah ended its season July Fourth, but will start its new season in either the second or third week in November, just before Thanksgiving. "Traditionally," she says, "the resorts are open through the Easter holiday weekend, but Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort [in Little Cottonwood Canyon, Utah], which is known for its very steep northeast facing aspects, usually has skiing through Memorial Day."  That was extended through Independence Day this year because the area received nearly eight hundred inches of snow!  Those willing to hike for their turns will find snow left in the upper elevations late in the season.  "This just proves that skiers and snow boarders are really die-hard, passionate participants."

Utah is home to fourteen resorts, eleven of which are conveniently located less than thirty minutes from Salt Lake City International Airport.  Park City is most famous for its resorts, including Deer Valley Ski Resort, Canyon Ski Resort and Park City Mountain Resort.  Located within fifteen minutes of one another, these properties surround the bustling, historic Park City downtown, which is filled with a myriad of shops and more than one hundred bars and restaurants.  "A lot of skiers also come to Utah for the legendary deep snow and steep terrain," Jessica adds.  They can find what they are looking for in the adjoining Big and Little Cottonwood Canyons, which are a little more than a half-hour drive from the airport and downtown Salt Lake City.  Here skiers can choose among Alta, Snowbird, Brighton and Solitude ski resorts, which Jessica says "provide a little bit more seclusion for the person who is looking to get away from it all."

Snowbasin Resort, which features opulent day lodges, long cruising runs and very challenging terrain, is located north of Salt Lake City in Ogden.  While Stephanie describes Powder Mountain Resort as "the planes, trains and automobiles of ski resorts" because visitors can access its more than five thousand acres of slopes by truck, snow cat, ski lift or helicopter, Wolf Mountain is a smaller resort frequented by both beginners and families.  "The best deals that you'll find throughout the season are going to be offered, most likely, before November," Jessica advises.  "I also encourage people to look at end-of-season deals as well.  It seems that year after year, Utah receives a lot of snow at the end of March and early April.  But, as weather starts to get nice around the country, people want to naturally turn their attention towards golfing, cycling and other recreational opportunities, and then they miss out on some of the best deals and best conditions of the season here in Utah and also many of the other western resorts."

Utah was center stage during the 2002 Winter Olympic Games; this upcoming season marks the ten-year anniversary of that event.  People are still discovering all the state has to offer, so Jessica encourages, "If you want to enjoy luxury properties or incredible terrain without a lot of crowds, this is a great place to come."  Stephanie recalls interviewing resort owners during those Olympic Games.  She says it was "very sexy" that many were equipped for individuals to ski both out and into the resort.  "It's like taking your boat from your dock up to your neighbor's dock across a lake or down a river and tying up for cocktails and going home on your boat.  I mean, that's very sexy."  Jessica points out that hitting the slopes directly from the ski lodge can save people a lot of time, particularly as vacations seem to get shorter and shorter these days.

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Travelers411 Community Forums - This interview's thread:
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For more information visit www.skiutah.com


Link to this segment

Sandy Asmussen, General Manager, Wilderness Trails Ranch, Durango, Colorado, USA.
www.wildernesstrails.com

Radio Show Host Stephanie Abrams welcomes Sandy Asmussen, General Manager of Wilderness Trails Ranch in Durango, Colorado, to the "Travel with Stephanie Abrams!" Radio Show.  Wilderness Trails is seven hours from Denver, Colorado; eight hours from both Phoenix, Arizona and Salt Lake City, Utah; and four hours from Albuquerque, New Mexico.  Visitors can either fly into one of these cities or directly into La Plata County Airport in Durango, which American Airlines, Frontier Airlines, United Airlines and US Airways service.  Sandy says the property receives guests from mid-May through the first of October.

Sandy discusses the ranch's history and amenities.  "Forty-two years ago, Jan and Gene Roberts purchased Wilderness Trails Ranch and have been, many times over, past presidents of the [Colorado] Dude [and Guest] Ranch Association.  A guest ranch that is under the umbrella of the Dude Ranchers Association has a little bit more quality that comes to it as far as safety and a progressive riding program [are concerned] and a host of various other activities that the ranch can do.  But, generally speaking, it's an all-inclusive vacation.  So, it includes your meals, your lodging, your ranch activities, your horseback riding [and] your evening entertainment.  For our ranch, our alternate activities are water sports at Vallecito Lake, mountain biking, kayaking, fishing [and] trekking.  We're right at the base of the largest wilderness region in mainland United States outside of Alaska."

According to Sandy, Weminuche Wilderness Area offers great trekking opportunities and, with the Piedra Wilderness Area, comprises five hundred fifty-five thousand acres of wilderness.  "It comes complete with a host of various wildlife including bears, moose, mountain lions, lynx, beavers, chipmunks, skunks [and] raccoons; a large variety of wildlife surround us and [so do] beauty and pristine," she says, although she points out the animals do not come near the ranch.  Guests generally check-in Sundays for a six-night stay that includes five and a half riding days.  They can also opt to participate in other activities and entertainment like massages, swimming, kayaking and fishing.  In addition, there is a gourmet progressive candlelight dinner and dance which, at Wilderness Trails, means the meal is served in several courses over approximately ninety minutes. 

With a staff of thirty-six, the staff-to-guest ratio is nearly one-to-one.  About half of the ranch's visitors have never ridden.  Stephanie asks how the property meets the needs of true "city slickers" with no riding experience.  Sandy says the staff encourages these individuals to take things slowly and they can also participate in arena work which provides the opportunity to actually work up close with the cattle.  Each of the nine cabins – five two-bedroom and four three-bedroom accommodations – includes robes, a wood-burning or propane stove, an iron and an ironing board as well as a refrigerator, microwave and bathroom for each bedroom.  Sandy says, "Each cabin will accommodate four to seven people.  We have a thirty-six people maximum.  Basically, we say thirty-two, but we can squeeze in, with our sofa beds, thirty-six people." 

Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams asks about the weekly trip the ranch makes to Middle Mountain, its visits to the Mesa Verde cliff dwelling and its river rafting opportunities.  "Middle Mountain is actually a mountain right next to the Ranch where we take people up and they do mountain biking back down," replies Sandy.  "Mesa Verde is about an hour and a half away from us.  Rafting we generally do on the Animas River, but remember, white water rafting only goes through about mid-July.  After that, it more or less becomes a float trip.  Our own water sports that we do here at Vallecito Lake often are more exciting.  We have a jet boat and a pontoon boat."  The ranch will also host a "Best of the West" program this year in partnership with the historic Strater Hotel and the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad.

Stephanie asks Sandy to talk about the archeology surrounding Wilderness Trails Ranch.  "Mesa Verde is the most famous," Sandy points out.  "Basically, from the New Mexico Central of Chaco Canyon, pre-historic Puebloan Indians habituated in various areas and the Mesa Verde and Chimney Rock are what they would call 'outliers' of that pre-historic civilization.  [They] made their living as hunters and gatherers and the cliff dwellings are where they held their occupations and they did their farming on the plateaus above.  The southwest here around Durango is full of archeology."

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Travelers411 Community Forums - This interview's thread:
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For more information visit www.wildernesstrails.com


Travel Tips:

Salt Lake City is Delta Airline's second-largest hub and its largest western hub.  Offering more than 740 flights daily out of Salt Lake City International Airport, Delta flies non-stop to ninety cities, including Tokyo and Paris.

All natural all of the time!  There is no light pollution at Wilderness Trails Ranch.  The International Dark-Sky Association defines light pollution as "any adverse effect of artificial light" such as sky glow, decreased night visibility and energy waste.

Wilderness Trails Ranch practices natural horsemanship, which relies on riders' legs rather than reins to communicate with the animals.  The Roberts have developed a multi-generational herd of horses that are sound and calm, and the staff pairs riders perfectly with horses based on their ability and interests.


Fun Facts:

Moose are the largest species in the deer family with an average adult moose standing six to seven feet high and weighing up to almost one thousand six hundred pounds.

"A Moose for Jessica" is a picture book that tells the true story of a moose that fell in love with a Massachusetts farm cow named Jessica.  Paparazzi and tourists were fascinated by the pair during the six months the moose remained on the farm.  He eventually left after his antlers fell off, but not before an inspiring a song with the lyrics, "If I were a moose and you were a cow, would you love me anyhow?"


Guests Include:

Jessica Kunzer, Director of Communications, Ski Utah, Utah Ski Association, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA.
www.skiutah.com

Sandy Asmussen, General Manager, Wilderness Trails Ranch, Durango, Colorado, USA.
www.wildernesstrails.com

Hour 2

Topics Include:

Link to this segment

Tom Demorest, Former President, Advisor to Current President, Diamond D Ranch, Stanley, Idaho, USA.
www.DiamondDRanch-idaho.com

Radio Show Host Stephanie Abrams welcomes Tom Demorest, Former President and Advisor to the Current President of Diamond D Ranch in Stanley, Idaho to the "Travel with Stephanie Abrams!" Radio.  The ranch includes access to Salmon River Mountains, which are part of the Rocky Mountains. The region's "crystal clear streams and creeks" are filled with salmon, steelheads and trout and Diamond D also provides fishing gear, Tom says.  Horseback riding is offered daily with the exception of Saturday and is an option for those who want to see "special places." 

Children over age six can receive riding instructions as well as have fun with games and crafts.  In addition, the region offers wonderful opportunities for photographers and hikers.  Tom also says, "For those who are just looking to get away from the telephone and the television, you can go sit next to the pool and read and relax and enjoy the spa and the pool and just enjoy life."  Stephanie laughs, "Thats about as active as I'm going to get!  So, it's nice to hear you've got something even for slugs like me!"  Tom informs Stephanie and her audience, "If you like living…we've got it!" 

Stephanie talks about the expanse of land on which the ranch is located, saying, "When you have over two million acres, you really are your own town."  Tom, who now serves in an emeritus position as an advisor at the ranch, agrees, but informs listeners, "If you need a town, Stanley is forty miles away from us and they've got a hundred people."  Diamond D has almost more staffers than the number of Stanley residents.

Tom is a former New Jerseyan who has been at Diamond D since 1951.  He spent his childhood summers at the ranch and moved to the property in 1960, building it and outfitting it with modern amenities.  He has been at Diamond D for approximately sixty years.  For the past two decades, he typically spends from mid-April to the end of November on-site, returning to Boise, Idaho when snow ends the ranching season.  Stephanie wonders why, considering its proximity to the mountains, Diamond D does not offer skiing during the winter months, but Tom explains the development of utilities is both slow and in short supply in the wilderness area.  Moreover, erecting lifts and skiing equipment could create difficulties with the federal government. 

Tom says it is best to fly into Boise Airport when visiting Diamond D.  "From there you have a choice of renting a vehicle and driving to the ranch, or there are local flight services that do fly into the ranch area and land at a government strip about three miles below the ranch.  From Boise, it's one hundred seventy-two miles and you should plan on about four and a half hours of driving."  Stephanie asks if visitors should rent an off-terrain vehicle.  "If you're going to rent a vehicle, something like a Suburban or an Expedition four-wheel drive would be preferable, but it's not absolutely necessary.  It is a back country dirt and gravel road.  You do go over a summit that's eighty-six hundred feet.  The road is passable and I think you'll find it interesting."  He adds that drivers will see "some absolutely beautiful mountains [and] mountain streams" as well as the Sawtooth Basin and the Sawtooth Mountains, which he describes as "magnificent with year-round snow on the highest peaks." 

Stephanie talks about the gold mines not far from the ranch as well as the areas full western lore and Native American stories.  She also mentions the old mining town of Custer and a Yankee fork gold ridge.  "That was supposed to be the largest gold ridge in the northwest at one time," Tom explains.  "It operated until 1951 and some of the things are amazing."  The Lost Packer Goldmine, which is also a subject of old folklore, is about five miles from the ranch.  Wondering what would make the perfect Diamond D day for a family with children age seven to twelve, Tom believes the answer lies in the abundance of activities available for everyone.  Dad can fish, Mom can relax and the kids can ride.  Diamond D lets travelers decide what they want to do and when they want to do it, never regimenting guests' vacations and giving them the freedom of choice.

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For more information visit www.DiamondDRanch-idaho.com


Fun Facts:

Tom mentions that his family founded Demarest, New Jersey (despite the slight difference in spelling from his surname).  His ancestors were from both Holland and France.  Stephanie later tells listeners there must be a place in France called "Demarest" because "de" means "from."  How does she know this?  She learned this fun fact when playing "Trivial Pursuit" with an eight-year-old Italian teammate on a cruise ship.  This knowledge paid off well for the pair who won the game!


Guests Include:

Tom Demorest, Former President, Advisor to Current President, Diamond D Ranch, Stanley, Idaho, USA.
www.DiamondDRanch-idaho.com

Hour 3

Topics Include:

Link to this segment

Debi Owen, Director of Communications, Sandia Peak Aerial Tramway, Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA.
www.sandiapeak.com

Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams begins this guest-packed hour of the "Travel with Stephanie Abrams!" Radio Show with Debi Owen, Director of Communications at Sandia Peak Aerial Tramway in Albuquerque, New Mexico.  According to Debi, travelers to Albuquerque, which is in the center of the state, will find the tramway in the northeast heights area of the Sandia Mountains.  Approximately a fifteen mile drive from any point in the city, the tram covers close to three miles in about fifteen minutes, beginning at an altitude of about six thousand five hundred feet and ending at about ten thousand feet. 

Riders pass over two towers while on the tram, the first of which leans similarly to the Leaning Tower of Pisa to counterbalance the weight of the cables and the pulling of the tram cars.  The Sandia Peak Aerial Tramway is what Debi calls "a double reversible jig back tramway," meaning the weight of a descending tram helps to pull an ascending tram up the mountainside.  Explaining the height to which riders travel, Debi says, "The city of Albuquerque is a little over a mile high. The valley is a little below a mile high and about halfway up it's about a mile high.  In the base of the tram it's at sixty five hundred feet."  People generally feel the change in altitude only once they ascend a little more than four thousand feet on the tramway because that means they are then about ten thousand feet above sea level.

Part of the uniqueness of the tram's location in Albuquerque, New Mexico is the opportunity it affords riders to see rocks and cliffs on the west face of the mountain and an alpine ski area on the east.  The tram is an option for not only sightseeing, but also for accessing skiing in the winter.  Summertime means tourists can enjoy lift-accessed mountain biking and scenic chairlift rides.  "It's a year-round opportunity," Debi says.  "We run about three hundred twenty days per year.  We have two ten-day maintenance periods that we're closed down to do cable work and things that you can't do when you're open to the public.  Other than that, unless the wind is howling and there's lightening in the vicinity, we're operating seven days a week."  Hours of operation are nine in the morning until nine at night with the tram closing an hour earlier during the off-season from Labor Day to Memorial Day.  Tuesdays are the exception during off-season; the tram is open from five in the afternoon until eight at night to allow maintenance activities during daylight hours.

Stephanie asks Debi to speak more about the lift-accessed biking, e.g., how do bikers transport their equipment in the chairlift?  Debi says they put their bike in the chairlift in front of the one in which they are riding so both biker and bike are transported to the mountaintop.  The chairlift is the same kind as that used at ski resorts.  Once at the peak, bikers will find about fifteen miles of single-track bike trails that extend down the ski side of the mountain.  For those who would rather sit back than pedal, riders will find the tramway holds about forty-seven passengers.  Once they arrive at the top of Sandia Peak, visitors have a three hundred sixty-degree view of eleven thousand square miles stretched out before them.  Included in this breathtaking sight are the Rio Grande Valley to the west and the Estancia Valley to the east.

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For more information visit www.sandiapeak.com


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Charlie Gray, President, Greater Albuquerque Innkeepers Association, Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA.

Diving even more deeply into what Albuquerque, New Mexico has to offer travelers, Radio Show Host Stephanie Abrams speaks with Charlie Gray, President of the Greater Albuquerque Innkeepers Association.  With more than thirty-five years in the hotel business as a general manager, Charlie shares the history of his organization.  "[It] started about twenty-five years ago.  It's an association of hotels in the Greater Albuquerque area, including some of the Native American properties that surround the city."  Comprised of about one hundred ten members in the Greater Albuquerque area, the organization also helps to promote college scholarships for young people. A state association includes members across New Mexico.

As Stephanie points out, innkeepers include owners of guest houses, bed and breakfasts and boutique properties in addition to major hotel brands.  Charlie says some of those unique kinds of accommodations are members of the Albuquerque organization, with the majority located on Central Avenue on Route 66.  Some, he says, are located along the historic area of the highway.  "When travelers come through Albuquerque, they can come down Central Avenue, which is Route 66, and right in the middle of town is an area called Nob Hill, which dates back to the thirties and forties.  There are a lot of great restaurants and shops.  Some are old gas stations from the thirties and forties that have been renovated into restaurants.  It's a real fun place."

Nearby to the west of Nob Hill is Old Town, which dates back to the nineteenth century and is home to a plaza filled with restaurants and shops.  "Are there lodging facilities on Native American owned land?" Stephanie inquires.  Charlie says there are three Native American hotel-casinos that have great accommodations and gaming facilities that rival Las Vegas.  When asked what would be the perfect day for the first day of one's visit to Albuquerque, New Mexico Charlie suggests a drive down Central Avenue to see some of the great old motels and their mid-twentieth century signage followed by a trip to Old Town for shopping and dining.  After all, he says, the region is famous for its chili.

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For more information visit www.travelers411.com


Link to this segment

Dale Lockett, CEO, Albuquerque Convention & Visitors Bureau, Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA.
www.ItsATrip.org

Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams welcomes Dale Lockett, CEO of the Albuquerque Convention and Visitors Bureau, to the "Travel with Stephanie Abrams!" Radio Show.  According to Dale the Albequerque region is a very authentic destination and was one of central Pueblo locations (permanent homes) that were created in the regions between Chaco Canyon and Bandelier National Monument and that the city is home to the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, which represents the nineteen Pueblo communities living in the state, many of whom are in Albuquerque.

Furthermore, Dale adds, the city blends Spanish, Mexican and Western influences to create a unique lifestyle and way of living, not to mention a very unique cuisine.  Wanting to disabuse people of what they might think about the city, Dale says, "There's a misconception we are a big desert and that it is very, very hot in the summer; however, Albuquerque is the 'other Mile High City.'  We're over a mile high in altitude and surrounded by mountains."  He also speaks about the Sandia Peak Aerial Tramway, which Stephanie's guest Debi Owen discussed earlier, saying visitors will find a forest at the top of the Sandia Mountains.  "The weather is so pleasant in our valley that you can golf in the wintertime and go skiing in the afternoon, if you'd like to do that.  It's really very, very dry so that in the summer, when we do get some of the ninety-degree temperatures, it doesn't feel like it."

Dale extends a challenge to the audience to take time to slow down and to enjoy all that Albuquerque has to offer, including nature-made spots for skiing, biking and kayaking.  He also reminds everyone that both artist Georgia O'Keeffe and photographer Ansel Adams spent a lot of time in Albuquerque's many vistas.  Visitors frequently describe their time in Albuquerque as a spiritual experience, and Stephanie agrees that witnessing an amazing sunset from an incredible hillside or mountaintop as well as surrounding one's self by majestic geography can indeed be a spiritual experience.  She notes that people sometimes forget how beautiful America is. 

For those who want to see such beauty for themselves, Dale invites people to visit Itsatrip.org to see photographs of what they can expect in Albuquerque.  He also tells listeners that many of the Pueblo communities regularly welcome visitors, such as the Acomas to their Sky City Cultural Museum.  Renowned for their pottery, the Acomas once lived atop towering spires of rock to avoid the marauding traders who came into the region.  When visitors see the area, they must visualize Acoma women climbing these sheer cliffs using hand carved handles as they transported water to the top.  "That's when it sinks in that this is a pretty amazing place."

Related Photo Galleries:
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Travelers411 Community Forums - This interview's thread:
http://www.travelers411.com/forums/showthread.php?t=9736

For more information visit www.ItsATrip.org


Link to this segment

Bill Miller, Senior Vice President of Strategic Partnerships, CheapOAir and CheapOStay.
www.cheapoair.com
www.cheapostay.com

Folks who either want to visit any of the great destinations Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams has discussed today or to take a trip anywhere else will want to know how to get there without spending a fortune.  Stephanie welcomes Bill Miller, Senior Vice President of Strategic Planning at CheapOAir and CheapOStay.  She always loves to hear what he has to tell listeners about "dazzling" fares. 

According to Bill, CheapOAir customers typically purchase tickets thirty to forty days in advance.  Looking ahead to mid-September this year, Bill says examples of mid-week fares include Chicago to Los Angeles for two hundred seven dollars; Boston to San Diego for three hundred twenty-two dollars; New York to London for four hundred ninety-two dollars; and Miami to Rome for eight hundred sixty-five dollars.  These fares include taxes and fees.

Stephanie points out that some of these fares are typically more than twelve hundred dollars.  Bill says this is the fall booking season, which means airlines will try to push some markets over the next two months or so.  Stephanie says the people who opt not to travel help to create magnificent deals for everyone else.  "You can't afford to stay home with prices like those!" she advises. 

Related Photo Galleries:
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Travelers411 Community Forums - This interview's thread:
http://www.travelers411.com/forums/showthread.php?t=9738

For more information visit www.cheapoair.com and www.cheapostay.com


Fun Facts:

Jordan Romero is a fifteen-year-old aiming to climb the highest peak in every state.  He became the youngest person to climb Mount Everest last year.  Stephanie suggests Sandia Peak Aerial Tramway's Debi Owen connect with him so he can climb up one side of the mountain as tram riders watch.  Stephanie "thinks that would be terrific!"  Although Sandia Peak is not the highest in the state, she says, "It could be fun!"

Denver is nicknamed the "Mile High City" because its elevation is exactly one mile.


Guests Include:

Debi Owen, Director of Communications, Sandia Peak Aerial Tramway, Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA.
www.sandiapeak.com

Charlie Gray, President, Greater Albuquerque Innkeepers Association, Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA.

Dale Lockett, CEO, Albuquerque Convention & Visitors Bureau, Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA.
www.ItsATrip.org

Bill Miller, Senior Vice President of Strategic Partnerships, CheapOAir and CheapOStay.
www.cheapoair.com
www.cheapostay.com

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