Following a personalized video presentation prepared for Going On Faith Conference delegates at the event’s closing luncheon in South Bend, Indiana, conference attendees were ready to sign up for next year’s meeting, to be held August 9-11, in Ontario, California. The lure of southern California’s enviable climate, laid-back lifestyle and chic meeting facilities had travel planners excited about heading west next year.
“I’m personally very enthusiastic about taking this crowd to southern California next August,” said conference CEO Joe Cappuzzello afterward. “Our hosts in Ontario embraced the faith-based market from the outset and were really intent on hosting Going On Faith and having us come see their destination. Air service into Ontario is nationally known as a wonderful alternative to some of the state’s larger airports, and we’re going to be right in the middle of everything you want to see out there.”
“Our appeal is all about our location,” said Sue Oxarart, the Greater Ontario Convention and Visitor Bureau’s director of communications. “Ontario is at the apex of southern California’s major freeways. We are the ideal place from which to explore Palm Springs, Las Vegas, Los Angeles and, of course, Disneyland.
“Our Mediterranean climate has helped to make us a shopper’s paradise as well,” she said. “Ontario Mills Mall will actually be adding another wing between now and the time your delegates come next August. It will feature a state-of-the-art California welcome center. A bit farther north, Victoria Gardens is an outdoor shopping complex that has a wonderful outdoorsy feel to it.”
There is a strong cultural vibe in the Ontario area as well. Oxarart points to the area’s historic wine region, its museums and its internationally known woodworking and furniture-making heritage, highlighted by the work of Sam Maloof (1916-2009). The son of Lebanese immigrants, Maloof made rockers for at least three American presidents in his lifetime. The Graber Olive House, which dates to 1894, and Logan’s Candies are two local specialty companies that have drawn travelers to the Ontario area for decades.
“Faith-based travel is a worldwide phenomenon, and next year, we’re crossing the continent to enjoy some of its best attributes in sunny southern California,” said Cappuzzello.
To register for the 2016 Going On Faith Conference, visit www.gofconference.com.