Way to go, Rock Hill and York County!
This emerging South Carolina destination that graces the Piedmont region just south of Charlotte, North Carolina, gained hundreds of new fans in August when it hosted the eighth annual Going On Faith Conference. The native hospitality fostered in this city rose to the occasion time and time again for the faith-based travel planners and international delegation of destinations that gathered there.
“Thanks, Rock Hill,” said Group Travel Family founder Charlie Presley afterward. “In every way, you made our delegates feel comfortable and welcomed. That’s the key to a great conference.”
Nearly 300 faith-based travel planners, travel industry destinations and tour operators gathered Aug. 21-23 for the event. The Going On Faith Conference is the group travel industry’s only faith-based travel conference, and this year’s event drew delegates from across North America, plus international destinations including Israel, the Bahamas, Jordan and other countries.
“This conference is establishing a loyal following of those travel destinations that truly seek out faith-based travel groups,” said Joe Cappuzzello, CEO of The Group Travel Family. “From pilgrimages to youth retreats and traditional travel groups, faith-based tourism has carved out a recognizable niche within the overall group travel industry.”
Conference highlights included two evening events hosted by the Rock Hill/York County Convention and Visitors Bureau: an opening-evening dinner and drama at NarroWay Productions and a gospel performance followed by dine-around dinner options in Rock Hill’s distinctive Old Town.
“Our community believes in family and faith, and we embrace opportunities for fellowship,” said the convention bureau’s interim executive director, Mikki Rentschler, who attended all events and could be seen facilitating the city’s involvement behind the scenes. “Rock Hill and York County are progressive and bright destinations, and we enjoyed sharing our authentic features with the delegates of Going On Faith,” she said.
More than 3,000 business appointments between travel buyers and destination representatives took place over the two days, and delegates heard presentations from three distinguished speakers on faith-based travel topics.
An afternoon of sightseeing took dozens of qualified travel planners for faith-based groups to nationally known sites such as the Billy Graham Library and Historic Brattonsville, one of America’s premier Revolutionary War sites.