AROUND THE WORLD in 180 minutes: That's one of the promises of Destinations Showcase Conference and Expo 2005, an event sponsored by the International Association of Convention and Visitors Bureaus that takes place March 3 in Washington, D.C., at the convention center and June 9 at Navy Pier in Chicago.

Showcase attendees will be able to meet and network with representatives from hundreds of destinations from around the world during the three-hour exposition.

The educational component features several sessions including one led by Maura Gast, executive director of the Irving (Texas) CVB on how to put bureaus to work for business. Also, Michael Hughes, director of research at Tradeshow Week, analyzes the competitive exposition and convention center marketplace.

There is a Certified Meeting Professional Breakfast, and admission is free to qualified planners who register in advance at www.destinationsshowcase.com. The deadline for free admission to the June show is May 19. Late or on-site registration fees are $30. For more information, go to www.destinationsshowcase.com or contact event manager PGI Exhibitions at www.pgi.com.