Press Pass Logo - September 2019

Volume 38, Issue 05, May 2020

In this issue:

Letter From the Editor

Chris Cutler, Pretty blond sitting behind her computer desk with blurred bookshelves in backgroundMay is here, and by this point, most of us would probably be getting ready for our summer travel. It’s hard to believe that travel came close to a stop almost two months ago. I live in Las Vegas, and if there is any place that is the economic ground zero of this pandemic, it is here. On March 12, our governor declared a state of emergency, and on the 17th, he closed all non-essential businesses in the state. To see the sidewalks so empty, the lights dim, and barriers blocking access to the gigantic is surreal. We will be opening up gradually, but who knows what life—both local and touristic—in Las Vegas will be like in the future.

This issue of Press Pass has a lot of information in it. In addition to articles on plagiarism and how travel will affect us in the future, there’s a call for pitches for the summer digital issue of Food, Wine, Travel Magazine, a reprint of my look at passive vs active voice in writing, and more.

Please remember that what you see in this email is only part of Press Pass. To read the entire issue, you must be an IFWTWA member and able to log onto

Stay healthy!

By Chris Cutler, Conference Chair

Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA beach and life guard tower at sunrise.There is no denying that the COVID-19 pandemic has hurt the travel industry. Not one of us in our wildest dreams would have ever thought we would be facing a pandemic as we try to develop the IFWTWA 2020 Conference. Due to the impact the pandemic has had on the travel industry, sponsors are unable to commit the money we would need to run the conference. As we all know, the world and the economy are too unstable right now for anyone to make any decisions on traveling at all this year. Worse, reports say that even if things go back to normal sometime this summer, the virus will make a comeback as the weather starts to cool down again.

We had to take into consideration the health of our members as well as the health of the organization. While we did not want to do it, we made the difficult decision to cancel the conference and are grateful to the Atlantic Hotel for not penalizing IFWTWA. 

That said, we are planning on holding a regional pilot writing/photography workshop in place of the conference. It will be fantastic, interactive, and a great way for everyone to participate and benefit without having to get on a plane. If the first one is a success, we plan to hold more around the US and possibly Canada. Once we have all plans in place, we will make the announcement. Stay tuned!

FWT Magazine Logo

FWT Summer Issue — NEW THEME

The pandemic is affecting everything, it seems, including the summer issue of Food, Wine, Travel Magazine. We had planned on printing a summer travel guide, but research indicates that people crave food-related stories and recipes. Instead, let’s help out our restaurants in this time by showing them a little love. 

The new theme is “Restaurants and Chefs.”

Delicious pizza in front of roaring hot Oven

Submission Guides 

  • Articles must be a review of a restaurant or an interview with a chef. Your restaurant/chef does not have to be local, but it cannot be a chain restaurant. (In other words, you can include a restaurant from a trip you took.)

  • Each article must include a recipe from said restaurant or chef. Recipe types may include drinks, cocktails, pastries, appetizers, entrees, etc.

  • Photos must be high quality. Get some from the restaurant if you need them.

Submit your pitch to me no later than June 15. Please include the name of the restaurant/chef, location, and possible recipe (so I don’t get 20 peanut butter cookie recipes). Send to [email protected] (NOTE NEW EMAIL).

Announcing the FWT Blog
 — a NEW IFWTWA Benefit

A few months ago, the FWT editorial board announced that we were instituting the FWT blog. Because of all of the issues with the FWT website that are taking precedence, this has taken time, but we have a solution and are pleased to announce the new home of the FWT blog.

blog concepts ideas with white worktable

The IFWTWA organization website will host member bylined articles on the association's blog. By having this outlet, this gives members another option for publishing articles. IFWTWA will post one article per week (four per month).

Publishing to the blog is easy. Please follow these guidelines:

  • Pitch your idea to Amy Piper at [email protected]  Once approved, submit your article and photos to Amy.

  • Articles must be a minimum of 500 words and maximum of 750 words.

  • Articles may cover any food, wine, travel theme.

  • Include 4-5 photos per post. Make sure to caption photos and include copyright.
    • Horizontal – max width 1500px, jpeg, saved for web, and optimized
    • Vertical – max width 1000px, jpeg, saved for web, and optimized

Please note: The editors will not do any editing to articles submitted to the blog. You must submit it and photos ready-to-publish. Please check out the guidelines and style sheet on the website. The editors have the right to reject any submitted articles and/or photos that do not meet quality guidelines.

In addition to Press Pass,, and the digital issue of Food, Wine, Travel Magazine, this blog offers members an additional outlet for submitting writing. Having four opportunities for a byline is a great benefit for members.

How the Future of Travel Will Affect Travel Writers
By Noreen Kompanik

On Thursday, April 23, a group of prestigious panelists convened on the webinar Travel PR During Coronavirus sponsored by TravMedia. Panelists included Arnie Weissmann, Editor in Chief, Travel Weekly, Catharine Hamm, Travel Editor, Los Angeles Times, Elizabeth Harryman, Travel Editor, Westways, and six other AAA publications. They were joined by Jacqui Gifford, Editor in Chief, Travel + Leisure, Laura Davidson, President, Laura Davidson PR, and Tori Emerson Barnes, Executive Vice President of Public Affairs and Policy, U.S. Travel Association.

SRL camera, laptop & cell phone on rough wood desk

Nick Wayland, CEO and Founder of TravMedia led the panel that focused on how travel writers and brands are inspiring travel during the isolation of COVID-19 and, perhaps more importantly, how they’re preparing to optimize efforts once the travel rebound arrives.

Though the pandemic has had a profound effect on the travel industry, the consensus is that travel will indeed return. It’s very likely we’ll see some changes, many perhaps for the better.

In my recent article for Food, Wine, Travel Magazine, I highlighted travel projections for the future. Here in Press Pass, let’s look at the effect these projected changes may have on the travel writer, and how we as freelance writers and bloggers can be ready once travel recommences.

What’s Happening Now?

First, it’s important to have a pulse on what’s currently happening in the world of travel writing. Stories of armchair travel and escapism give readers the license to dream while maintaining an encouraging but honest approach regarding current and future travel restrictions.

Online publications are more robust than print right now as digital stories are more capable in keeping up with ever-moving targets.

Meaningful virtual experiences are popular— covering such topics as cocktails, wine tasting, cooking shows, and how to make being at home can feel like a vacation.

Personal essays that show the impact of the Coronavirus on daily life, feel-good stories, as well as those that reflect the power of travel and human connection are the ones editors are looking for.

What Will Future Travel Hold?

Of course, the projections from the global travel industry are just that – projections. But if we as writers carefully follow the trends these experienced professionals believe we’ll see; savvy authors will have a decided advantage with their stories.

Road Trips Will Return First

Most panelists agree that the first type of travel to return will likely be road trips. After months of isolation, travelers will be anxious to get out and explore again. Road trip stories have always been popular but will be more-so as travelers pack their suitcases and begin traveling our byways.

Domestic Destinations Will Bounce Back Next

Travelers venturing by air may likely choose destinations with safe and easy connections to their hometown airports. These include other places within the U.S. or the Caribbean, and then likely extend to Mexico and Canada. These are destinations writers should be looking at when pitching stories.

Travel to Europe, Asia, and South America will come later, and cruise ship travel will be the last to return to the travel scene

Increase in Luxury Travel

We’ll likely see an increase in the luxury travel market. Some travelers not affected by the pandemic will want to get back into the travel game. They may charter private planes in lieu of regular airlines and head to more remote destinations where they can rent a house and have fun in the sun while continuing to social distance.

More Off-the-Beaten Path Travel

Crowded tourist destinations will be out. More remote destinations will be in. Travelers won’t be as interested in visiting busy high-traffic places like Venice, Dubrovnik, or Barcelona, but rather travel to more off-the-beaten path locales nearby where the cultural experience can still be rich and rewarding. These more undiscovered destinations will make for fantastic travel stories.

2021 Travel Is Heating Up

While many travelers are still hesitant to book trips for the remainder of 2020, travel agents are already seeing requests and bookings for 2021. This highlights the belief that we’ll see better times ahead.

When all is said and done, the predictions seem to point to travelers seeing life from a slightly different lens. Time is short. They’ll be more apt to seize the moment and less inclined to postpone travel dreams.
Travel is an amazing healer. One that will certainly bring this world back together again.

In the end, every challenge creates opportunity… especially for the savvy travel writer.

Stay Active, My Friends
Active vs Passive Voice in Writing
By Chris Cutler

Passive - Active signpost drawn on a blackboardI have been teaching memoir to a group of seniors for a number of years, and one of the women overuses passive voice in everything she writes even though I continually tell her to write in active voice. More than once she has asked me why it makes a difference if both voices are grammatically correct. Some of you who have contributed to the magazine lately may have also received a note from me asking you to please convert your passive voice to active.

What is the difference between active and passive voice? Why does voice matter? Allow me to briefly explain.

Consider these two simple sentences:

  • Mary bought tickets to the concert.
  • The tickets to the concert were bought by Mary.

The sentences say the same thing, but one sentence is active voice and one is passive voice.

In active voice, the subject is performing the action. In passive voice, the focus switches from the subject to the object of its action, and the person performing the action becomes an object of a preposition.

In passive voice, the subject of the sentence is the recipient of the action. The verb “to be” and a past participle indicate passive voice. In addition, another indicator of passive voice is that the subject of the sentence is not performing the action.

Passive voice is not necessarily wrong, but it weakens your writing. It can make your sentences appear vague and unclear.


It’s easy to change passive voice to active. First, identify the performer of the action. Often, the performer is the object of a prepositional phrase that follows the verb. Once you identify the performer, make it the subject of the sentence by moving it before the verb.

Stay Active.

The “P” Word: How to avoid plagiarism in your articles
By Debbra Dunning Brouillette

According to, plagiarism is “an act or instance of using or closely imitating the language and thoughts of another author without authorization and the representation of that author’s work as one’s own…”

write original, persuasive, natural, useful, informative content - creating content advice - text on a spiral notebook with cup of coffeeStep 9 of the Submission Guidelines for Food, Wine, Travel Magazine includes several things we will not accept. One of them is plagiarized copy.

If you have ever wondered whether, in the course of doing research for your articles, some of the content could be identified as having been plagiarized, here is a link to an article that may be helpful.

How to avoid plagiarism on your blog or website

The article covers complete, partial and lazy plagiarism and offers seven tips on how to avoid it. It also includes links to five content checkers that you can use before submitting an article or publishing it. There are many others, but whatever tool you use, make sure any content used from another source is properly quoted, attributed, or paraphrased.

Board Notes /May 2020 Meeting
By Linda Kissam, President

The Board is pleased to announce the appointment of two additional board members. Amy Piper and Paula Schuck will fill two vacant seats with terms ending in 2022. Both were nominated by Christine Cutler.

Amy Piper avatarAmy lives in Michigan and has been a member since 2018. She is a freelance travel writer, photographer, and blogger who has traveled to 41 countries and 42 states. She has a strong non-profit background. She specializes in multi-generational and food travel. She will serve on the Communications team assisting with Food, Wine, Travel Magazine.

Paula Schuck avatarPaula lives in London, Canada, and has been a member since 2016. She is a Canadian travel, health and lifestyle writer. She spent years working for daily newspapers and magazines and then moved into social media and online writing. She will split her time working on the Social Media Committee and the Big Blend program.

As you will read in another section of this newsletter, the IFWTWA 2020 Annual Conference is cancelled. It was a very difficult decision as the conference is a popular learning and networking opportunity for our members and is one of our largest fundraisers. However, when this door closed a window of opportunity opened for us. In its place we will try putting on regional workshops. These will not be mini conference programs. These small-group workshops will be exciting interactive writing events with a pinch of local outings. Attendees will be able to drive to the workshops. We will try a pilot program first, then if successful, we will launch other ones around the US and Canada. Christine Cutler will lead this effort. If you would like to be part of this exciting new launch, contact her.

The Board approved a six-month membership incentive for new members. Effective immediately, new-member applicants will receive 14 months of membership for the price of 12. Corie Solomon is chairing this effort.

One of the most treasured benefits IFWTWA offers is the press trip offerings. This year featured a stellar effort by the Media Trips Committee, offering five press trips. Due to the virus, so far, three have been cancelled by the host. The Committee will reconnect with the hosts in 2021 to reschedule, but as you can imagine, we’re not exactly sure what press trips will look like in 2021. Hang in there with us, and look for new press trip opportunities next year.

This is an election year. Mary Farah and her Election Committee are busy putting together the guidelines and schedule. An announcement should be forthcoming in June.

Change is barreling toward the tourism industry, thanks to the coronavirus pandemic. Your board of directors is working diligently to bring member benefits and events that make sense for this period of time and beyond. Adjustments are being made in many ways — perhaps in every way. Writers are a hardy bunch, but we still need to brace themselves for alterations in the way we do, well, all the things we use to do. For now, we are in much of a holding pattern. Keep writing every day, visit local and keep positive thoughts. 

Destinations and Writers Meet One-On-One to Discuss Travel in 2020!
By Deirdre Michalski & Linda Milks

As we mentioned over the past few months, exhibitors and sponsors had the pleasure of meeting with enthusiastic travel writers during the Santa Fe conference to discuss plans for 2020. This was a great opportunity for various destinations across the county to share with our writers information about their town, what makes it special, what they want to be promoting this year and collaborate on possible introductions and future press trips.

Two business women at table in collaboration

IFWTWA is very grateful for the support of our exhibitors and sponsors at our annual conferences. We encourage you to consider these spots to explore, write about, and enjoy. This month we’ll finish up with a look at Phoenix, AZ and Paso Robles, CA.

Phoenix, Arizona – Visit Phoenix @VisitPhoenix

IFWTWA one on one meeting with Visit PhoenixThanks to Sarah Boyd with Visit Phoenix for meeting with me at the IFWTWA Conference. I was especially intrigued to learn about the Musical Instrument Museum because I think it would be so cool to discover new sounds from instruments around the world. I’d also love to explore the Heard Museum for its rich information about American Indian tribes through art and cultural objects. But I confess I’m especially curious to experience The Breadfruit & Rum Bar for its Jamaican cuisine and of course, its unique rum cocktails. Time to pay a visit to Phoenix!

– By Nancy Mueller

Media Relations Manager, Sarah Boyd, truly offered an exceptional perspective on why Phoenix is worthy of a visit. The highlights she offered of the adventure, parks, museums and culinary scene reminded us that we need to visit Phoenix. Sarah’s Chef partner, Danielle Leoni, added to that sense of excitement. We look forward to visiting this southwestern tourist magnet. It is drawing us in.

– By John Compisi, Guest

Paso Robles, California – Travel Paso @TravelPaso

IFWTWA one on one meeting with Paso RoblesI loved finding out that Alaska Airlines will be announcing its inaugural flight from San Diego to San Luis Obispo, the closest airport to Paso Robles wine country. I even received an invitation from Mike Dawson, from Travel Paso Media to be on that inaugural flight on January 7th and spend four days in this up-and-coming “wine region on the rise.”

It was also fascinating to hear about the breweries and distilleries in the region in addition to its many wineries.

– By Noreen Kompanik

I will be embarking on Alaska’s inaugural flight from San Diego to San Luis Obispo in the first week of January for a press trip, and I couldn’t be more excited. Although the entire itinerary is fabulous, I am most thrilled to visit a few distinct places. One is Sensorio, a sculptural exhibition, that includes 15 acres of 58,800 stemmed spheres which are lit by fiber-optics and morph in color. Like magic, these spheres illuminate the Palos Robles countryside.

In addition, I look forward to visiting the Elephant Seal Rookery in San Simeon. I personally can’t drive the coast without stopping to visit one of my favorite animals in the wild. They are extremely entertaining. Lastly, I am excited for our VIP tour of Hearst Castle. Throughout my many visits to the central coast, something always seems to get in the way of a visit to this famous property. I look forward to finally seeing it in person and learning all about its history.

A big thank you to Mike Dawson for hosting us!

– By Christina Kantzavelos

Association Recognitions

It’s an honor to give recognition to members having anniversaries. We thank each of you for including IFWTWA on your pathway to success. Your choice to work hard, think positive, network, and use your member benefits bring you to a whole new level of achievement. Way to go!

—  5 YEARS  —

Tom Westerhof avatar

Tom Westerhof, Social Media Chair
Beach Bar Bums
Hooch and Nosh
Warsaw, Indiana

Working at a full time job to pay the bills, my real passion is food, drink and travel, which I showcase in my blogs,, and As an active member of the IFWTWA, I currently serve on the Board of Directors as the director of social media. I enjoy dining out with friends and family, discussing cocktails ad nauseam and am constantly planning the next beach getaway.

Get to Know Our New Members

Row of wine glasses with various colored wine

Katie Dillon avatarKatie Dillon
La Jolla Mom
Asheville, North Carolina

Katie Dillon is a travel expert who helps readers perfect San Diego vacations through her candid advice on La Jolla Mom (, one of the most popular online resources for where to stay, what to do, and how to save money in San Diego and select major cities worldwide.

While most successfully DIY their vacations through La Jolla Mom's online guides and free eBook, Katie works with a select portfolio of popular hotels and resorts where she can secure Virtuoso and other VIP benefits. Readers also have access to special promotions for discounted theme park tickets and tours in California and Orlando.

IFWTWA Resources: Connect with our Members and Experts 

Connect with fellow IFWTWA experts. Meet virtually in our social community forums; create your own Social Circles. Make connections from your profile. Plan a live meetup. Keep up-to-date by joining our private Facebook Members Group—participate in weekly social media campaigns for likes, follows & retweets. Attend the conference. Volunteer on committees and work with our Board of Directors.

Young woman having video Zoom call via computer in the home office. Remote teem meeting Stay at home and work from home concept. Manage Online office

Reach out today! It's fun and mutually beneficial to network with your colleagues. Learn from each other and grow your own and fellow member's career goals and online presence. We know you are busy, on-the-move professionals, so your participation in IFWTWA is very much appreciated.

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