Take inspiration from the new
Visit USA Travel Planner

The new edition of the Visit USA Travel Planner is now available online at visitusa.org.uk/TravelPlanner, providing ideas and inspiration for anyone planning a trip to the USA in 2017.

VUSA

This comprehensive 68-page publication includes a useful map – the perfect tool for those looking to explore outside the main gateway cities – as well as state profiles and articles on topics ranging from the Great Outdoors and Live Sport, to Classic Cuisine, Wildlife and the Old West.

Download the digital version of the 2017 Travel Planner via the Visit USA website or order a printed copy today.

visitusa.org.uk/TravelPlanner

BA lines up U.S. additions

British Airways will introduce two new services from Gatwick to the U.S. next year, bolstering its operations to California and Florida.

BA

The airline will commence a four-times-weekly operation between Gatwick and Oakland, San Francisco Bay, from March 28, followed by services to Fort Lauderdale from July 6.

The latter will operate three times a week year-round, rising to four-times-weekly during peak summer months. It will be the airline’s third route from Gatwick to Florida and its fourth service to the ‘sunshine state’.

Its Oakland service provides good access to popular destinations such as Napa Valley, Carmel and Yosemite National Park, as well as San Francisco which is a 30-minute train journey from the airport.

“We’re very excited to open up California to our customers in the Gatwick area and position British Airways as the number one European carrier to the Golden State," says Colm Lacy, British Airways’ Head of Commercial.

“We are confident this route will be a big hit with British tourists, especially with one-way launch fares from £189 and return flights and car hire packages from £539 per person.”

In addition, BA is also adding flights from London Heathrow to New Orleans from March 26. The four-times-weekly service will become the only direct operation between Europe and the Louisiana city.

Britishairways.com

Fort Worth hits the trail

The Texas city is the latest U.S. destination to celebrate its brewing heritage with the launch of a dedicated Ale Trail.

Fort Worth

The new Ale Trail incorporates ten breweries and is designed to show off the best of the city's craft beer culture.

Visitors can collect a special Ale Trail Passport from participating breweries and Fort Worth Visitor Centers and have their document stamped at each venue they visit.

Those who collect five stamps can earn themselves a bottle opener while visitors who collect all 10 can collect a t-shirt at the downtown Visitor Center.

Meanwhile, a Fort Worth trail of another kind will mark its 150th anniversary in 2017.

The Chisholm Trail was used in post-civil war times to drive cattle overland, when Fort Worth – one of the last stops on the route –became known as 'Cowtown'.

A series of events will mark the anniversary including shows, exhibitions and lectures.

In addition, the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo takes place from January 13 to February 4.

FortWorth.com

A heroic welcome in Florida

Florida's Kennedy Space Center opens a Heroes & Legends attraction in November that features a U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame.

Florida

The Cape Canaveral attraction sets the stage for a richer experience and is designed to deliver "all the drama of an actual trip to space".

“We’ve been focusing on a story to create what we consider a ‘launch pad’ for our visitors that really sets the stage for their full-day experience here,” says Therrin Protze, Chief Operating Officer, Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex.

“The opportunity to learn about the amazing attributes of our heroes behind the transformative and historical events that have shaped the way we look at space, the world and the future, will not only entertain and inspire guests, but lay the groundwork for their interactions throughout the rest of the visitor complex with our other attractions and space experiences."

The new facility is separated into four experiences beginning with the 360-degree 'What is a Hero?' discovery bay. It is followed by the custom-built 'Through the Eyes of a Hero' theatre and the interactive 'A Hero is...' exhibition, and culminates with the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame.

KennedySpaceCenter.com

 

Brits embrace Philadelphia

British visitors are flocking to Philadelphia and now comprise the City of Brotherly Love’s largest overseas market.

Philadelphia

Around 109,900 UK visitors travelled to ‘Philly’ in 2015, an increase on the previous year of 4.5%.

Globally, the city attracted 638,000 overseas visitors, a growth of 3.2% on 2014.

They were most interested in shopping, sightseeing or visiting the city’s art galleries and museums, as well as seeing national parks and monuments and historical locations.

The top-spending categories for overseas visitors (excluding food, lodging and transportation) were shopping, gifts and other purchases, with an average of $434 per visitor per trip, followed by entertainment and recreation, with an average of $200 per visitor per trip.

“As a long-time Philadelphian, it is exciting to see increased interest from overseas visitors to our city,” said City of Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney.

“As the first World Heritage City in the U.S. we are proud to have visitors from across the globe experience our rich history, cultural attractions and diverse neighbourhoods.

"We appreciate the valuable work the PHLCVB does to attract overseas visitors to Philadelphia.”

The city received a boost in early November when Icelandair announced the launch of a non-stop service from Reykjavik to Philadelphia that will begin in May 2017.

discoverPHL.com

Utah maps out 'Mighty' trips

Visit Utah has added a road trip planning tool to its official website, helping users plan trips around its Mighty 5 national parks.

Visti Utah

Called 'The Road to Mighty', the tool helps visitors map their ideal route around the state based on the duration of their stay and personal preferences such as historic attractions, cycling, hiking and solitude.

Utah alone is home to 27 scenic byways and the Mighty 5 national parks – Arches, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, Bryce Canyon and Zion – as well as scenery ranging from lush valleys and red rock cliffs to rugged volcanic landscapes.

Becky Johnson, Senior Global Manager for the Utah Office of Tourism, Film & Global Branding, says: “Utah is world-renowned for its magnificent national parks, and road tripping is one of the most efficient and enjoyable ways to make the very best of them.

"The Road to Mighty road trip builder is designed to remove any stress or complications from the planning, so you hit the road with a ready-made route. All you have to do is enjoy the drive - and the amazing scenery outside the window!”

visitutah.com/road-to-mighty

U.S. cities tipped for 2017

Los Angeles and Portland are among the U.S. destinations named in Lonely Planet's prestigious Best in Travel 2017 outlook.

Los Angeles

The report, subtitled 'A Year's Worth of Inspiration', names some of the destinations around the world that are expected to make an impact next year, be it through new attractions and redevelopment, as well as some lesser-known gems.

Both Los Angeles and Portland appeared in its pick of ten cities, with Lonely Planet reporting that LA "has been gaining steam as a cultural destination while becoming more accessible than ever". In addition, almost 50 new hotels are currently under development

Portland, meanwhile, was referred to as "America's city of the future - a friendly, sustainable, ethical place that values good living and leisure".

Coastal Georgia was named in Lonely Planet's Top Regions category for its "coastline complete with quirky towns, historic treasures and wilderness-covered islands", and Michigan's Upper Peninsula was singled out in the Best Value Category for its stunning natural beauty and charm.

"Because it's a destination mainly for Midwesterners, prices are reasonable, crowds are comparatively few and the feeling of the area is casual and relaxed," says the report.

Dave Lorenz, Vice President of Travel Michigan, says, “We know that the Upper Peninsula represents the purest of Pure Michigan, however it’s still a hidden gem for many travellers.”

He continues, “This recognition acknowledges the stunning natural beauty, rich history, unique culture and world-class experiences that make the Upper Peninsula a must-have on travellers’ bucket lists.”

www.lonelyplanet.com/best-in-travel