As told to Maggie FitzRoy
Owner of Cruise Planners—Top Sail Journeys, Ponte Vedra Beach resident Dorothy Flannery is founder and president of The Florida Travel Expo. The first-time event will be held from noon to 5 p.m. Nov. 3 at World Golf Village. Tickets are free. For more information visit thefloridatravelexpo.com.
Q: When did you first realize you wanted a career in travel?
A: I fell in love with travel when my parents took me on my first cruise at age 13.
Q: Where did you go?
A: We did a 10-night Holland America cruise to the southern Caribbean. I woke up one morning when we got to Venezuela and looked out the porthole and looked up and looked up and saw my first mountain.
Q: Where did you grow up?
A: I grew up largely in Key Biscayne, Florida.
Q: What brought you to Ponte Vedra Beach?
A: My mom moved to Cypress Village to be closer to Mayo Clinic. After a year or two I realized she shouldn’t be alone. I sold my condo, put everything in storage, and looked for a place to live up here.
Q: What launched you into the travel industry as a professional?
A: After I got my MBA, I went into advertising and ended up working on travel accounts. I got a job with Carnival and from that I’ve done the whole gamut in the travel industry.
Q: What inspired you to create The Florida Travel Expo?
A: I have been waiting for years for there to be an all-encompassing consumer travel show in Florida. In other states they are huge. It’s an event people look forward to all year.
Q: So, you started one yourself; who will it appeal to?
A: The target audience is leisure travelers interested in international vacation travel. There will be cruise and tour companies. There will be resort fashion shows and seminars ranging from solo travel to multigenerational travel and travel safety.
Q: What do you like about living in Ponte Vedra Beach?
A: It has all the best of Florida—the beaches and the weather. It has seasonality, but fortunately winter is the shortest season. And it’s not been overdeveloped.