LAYTON – Alan McKay started escorting tours when he was a senior in high school.
Now, having traveled with hundreds of groups, he has seen England, Israel, Egypt, Jordan, Peru, Guatemala, Mexico, China, and Thailand.
“It never snows in South Africa!” the enthusiastic travel host said as he explained an upcoming trip to Africa.
He was speaking to a group of travelers at the Utah Travel Expo, held this past weekend at the Davis Conference Center in Layton.
Even though Friday was a designated snow day for schools and government offices in Davis County, the show went on and patrons showed up donning their snow boots, wading through a foot of snow in the parking lot.
For many, the annual event is the antidote to the winter blues, showcasing warmer climates, exciting trips, and destinations to dream about.
The show was sponsored by regular Clipper travel page contributor Columbus Travel of Bountiful and co-sponsored by Dick Jensen and Alan McKay.
Seminars throughout the event showcased destinations.
During his Africa seminar, McKay showed slides of all the types of animals a traveler would see on a game drive in Kruger National Park game preserve.
Pictures of crocodiles, hippos, storks, colorful birds and even dung beetles graced the screen.
“The female and male roll the dung into a big ball, then they burrow into it and lay and fertilize their eggs,” said McKay. “The dung provides a meal. Life is hard for some animals.”
Mckay said that learning about the various animals was a highlight of the trip.
The journey also provided opportunities to visit Soweto, the town where Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu lived.
In addition, McKay, who lives in Ogden, explained tours to Peru and China.
Other travel agencies provided seminars highlighting information about a variety of destinations, including Los Cabos, Jamaica, Alaska, Norwegian Fjords, China, Europe, Costa Rica, Panama, the Dominican Republic, and, closer to home, Las Vegas.
Many patrons were anxious for deals to help with upcoming trips.
The May family listened to the seminars with interest before visiting the vendor booths because they are planning a trip for the entire extended family and are thinking about options, particularly a cruise.
Their travel agent suggested attending the Travel Expo to get ideas and deals.
Some members of the May family live in Syracuse, but others drove from Logan on treacherous roads to attend.
Another family braved the roads, driving from Spanish Fork.
Nearly 50 vendors handed out discount coupons and deals at their booths.
Bob Stell of The Dive Shop in Bountiful said he enjoys hosting a booth because it is great exposure to get people out and learning about possibilities.
“Everyone is going to travel, so you might as well come to something like this and get a good deal,” he said. “There is two-thirds of the world that most people never get to seeСunder the water. Scuba can add so much to a vacation.”