Agents offered USA Insight

Travel agents and tour operators are invited to a special event on September 15 to mark 100 years of the National Park Service.

VUSA

Insight: USA Travel Showcase, a collaboration between Brand USA, Visit USA (UK) and the U.S. Commercial Service, will take place at the BFI IMAX theatre near Waterloo Station in London.

Open to agents, suppliers and destinations of the USA, the event will provide an opportunity for conversation with over 25 Visit USA members and other exhibitors followed by a private screening of the film America Wild: National Parks Adventure, narrated by Robert Redford.

To reserve your place visit insightusa.eventbrite.com

The Visit USA 2016 Roadshow will be visiting Newcastle/Gateshead, Bristol and Brighton on October 4, 5 and 6 respectively. To find out more and register to attend, visit visitusaroadshow.com.

U.S. Global Entry Centre

Regular visitors to the United States can now book appointments to enrol in the country’s Global Entry scheme at a temporary London centre.

US Centre

Global Entry, a U.S. Customers and Border Protection (CBP) programme, allows for expedited clearance of pre-approved, low-risk travellers

An enrollment centre will operate at the U.S. Embassy in London (24 Grosvenor Square) for 60 days beginning on September 26.

To register for Global Entry, UK citizens must apply through the UK Home Office website (https://www.gov.uk/apply-faster-entry-usa) and pay a £42 processing fee.

If the applicant passes the UK vetting process, they will receive a ‘UK Access Code’ that applicants will need to enter when applying for Global Entry through CBP’s Global Online Enrollment System (GOES).

The non-refundable application fee for a five-year Global Entry membership is $100 and applications must be submitted online.

Once the application is approved, a CBP officer will conduct a scheduled interview with the applicant and then make a final eligibility determination. It is this stage of the process that will now be available at the U.S. Embassy in London.

The scheme is currently available at 49 U.S. airports and 13 pre-clearance locations, where travellers signed up can bypass traditional inspection queues and use an automated kiosk to complete their admission to the country.

Universal's ticket to ride

UK travellers booking their 2017 summer holiday to Universal Orlando Resort can schedule a visit to the park's newest water attraction.

Universal

The new Universal Orlando 3-Park Explorer Ticket is now on sale for international guests for travel dates beginning June 1, 2017.

The new ticket is available for purchase at the introductory price of £222 for adults and £214 for children, and offers guests 14 consecutive days of unlimited park access to Universal Orlando’s three theme parks: Universal Studios Florida, Universal’s Islands of Adventure and, from next summer, the new water theme park Universal’s Volcano Bay.

The ticket also includes admission to select live entertainment at Universal CityWalk, which features a host of dining and entertainment options.

Volcano Bay is being billed as a one-of-a-kind immersive water theme park. With a tropical theme it will feature 18 attractions such as family raft rides, twisting body slides that launch guests above the water and private one- or two-story cabanas.

Guests staying at one of Universal Orlando’s on-site hotels will receive early park admission to either Universal Studios Florida or Universal’s Islands of Adventure and Universal’s Volcano Bay one hour before the park opens.

The Universal Orlando 3-Park Explorer Ticket is available through www.DoSomethingDifferent.com

Maverick's Jurassic flight

Maverick Helicopters has a new air and landing tour in Maui, Hawaii.

Maverick

The Hana Rainforest Experience is a 75-minute helicopter and rainforest landing excursion along the north coast that ventures into remote Hana Rainforest landscape which has been untouched for decades.

The flight introduces guests to the island’s waterfalls, streams, shorelines, natural surroundings and lush vegetation.

They will also see Jurassic Rock, which featured in the original Jurassic Park movie, along with views of distant Haleakala, Maui’s dormant volcano; the beach town of Ho’okipa’s north shore, known for its great surfing; Paia, a charming beach town; and the Road to Hana with its scenic sea cliffs, waterfalls and lush vegetation en route.

A rainforest landing spot, exclusive to Maverick guests, allows passengers to explore the remote landscape by foot and take in those waterfalls and streams along with wild-growing bananas, coconuts, lemons and ginger plants.

“The true magic of this new excursion is experiencing the authentic Hawaiian landscape, in addition to the gorgeous views on the way there and back,” said Greg Rochna, founder and owner of Maverick Helicopters. “We wanted to leave the area as natural as possible, so guests can get up close-and-personal with the Hawaiian rainforest.”

The Hana Rainforest Experience costs $299pp.

Tours leave from Kahului Heliport in Maui.

maverickhelicopter.co.uk

 

Aloft key to Syracuse rise

Starwood Hotels & Resorts has taken its Aloft brand to Syracuse in upper New York State.

Aloft

Aloft Syracuse Inner Harbor, a keynote property in the city’s revitalised waterfront area, has132 spacious, loft-like rooms.

Rooms feature SPG Keyless - Starwood’s keyless entry system that enables guests to use their smartphone or Apple watch as a room key - and free wifi throughout the property.

There’s live music at W XYZ Bar.

The $350-million redevelopment of Syracuse’s Inner Harbor is transforming a 30-acre waterfront property into a world-class tourism destination.

The hotel is close to Destiny USA, one of New York State’s major shopping and entertainment destinations, with more than 1.3 million square feet of outlets, restaurants and stores.

The new Aloft will be joined by a second property, Element Syracuse Inner Harbor, in the spring of 2018.

starwoodhotels.com/alofthotels

National Parks 100 not out

This month sees the culmination of a year of celebrations marking the centennial year of the National Park Service (NPS).

Fort Smith

Keynote events across the country are planned for August 25 - that is the day 100 years ago that President Woodrow Wilson signed the act that created the NPS.

From Alaska to Maine, parks and historic sites have this year staged several special events and laid on various educational and visitor programmes.

Among the nationwide events planned for August 25 is Sing Across America, to be staged in multiple locations, that will see performances by youth and children's choirs for the centennial, including a major concert at Yellowstone National Park.

And on August 25, Naturalization Ceremonies, conducted by National Park Service and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, will take place in seven national parks: Biscayne National Park (Florida), National Mall and Memorial Parks (D.C.), Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail (several states), Grand Canyon National Park (Arizona), Harpers Ferry National Historical Park (West Virginia), Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore (Michigan), and Women's Rights National Historical Park (New York).

In Las Vegas, Find Your Park on Fremont Street will feature 'Find Your Park' videos and digital displays that will play throughout the evening on 1500'x90' digital display as part of the Fremont Street Experience, in partnership with Lake Mead National Recreation Area.

Visitors to the U.S. this month can take advantage of free admission.

BA in the comfort zone

Transatlantic flyers are enjoying a major makeover of British Airways’ newest aircraft.

BA

The airline has given 18 of its Boeing 747s a fresh look and feel, with each jumbo jet now featuring a spruced up interior and state-of-the-art in-flight entertainment system as well as extra seats for customers flying in Club World.

New carpets, seat covers and mood lighting have been fitted throughout each aircraft to match the new colour palette of the airline’s new A380 and 787s, including seat foams and new-style seat covers in World Traveller and World Traveller Plus.

All the refreshed aircraft have also been fitted with Panasonic’s next generation eX3 entertainment system, which gives customers a choice of over 1,300 hours of entertainment including more than 130 movies and 400 TV programmes on larger, hi-resolution screens, capable of touch and swipe gestures, giving the system the familiar feel of using a tablet.

As part of the upgrade, customers in World Traveller Plus now have access to a universal power socket at every seat, capable of accepting plugs from the UK, US and Europe. World Traveller customers also have their own personal USB socket to power phones and tablets.

The last of the 18 upgraded aircraft to be introduced left Heathrow for New York’s JFK airport, the airline's flagship transatlantic route, on August 4.

U.S. cities also served by the revamped jumbos include Chicago, Boston, San Francisco, Seattle, Toronto and Washington D.C.

britishairways.com