Be inspired by Visit USA website

Visit USA’s brand-new website is packed with information and ideas designed to inspire clients to travel to the USA this year.

VUSA

The portal ­– visitusa.org.uk – includes a new Visit USA Blog that covers everything from six fun things to do in Denver to food to try in the USA. There is also a wealth of specific ideas, offers and news from all of the circa 200 Visit USA members.

Commented Tracey Spuyman, CEO, Visit USA (UK): “Our new website, with its strong visual presentation, offers plenty to whet the appetite for UK travellers - whether it’s a first time experience or a new adventure they are looking for.

“An interactive map helps when planning multi-destination vacations across all 50 states, and users can download a digital version of the Visit USA 2017 Travel Planner which contains even more ideas for those wanting to explore the many exciting opportunities waiting the other side of the Atlantic," she added.

“The new website is a great information tool and sales aid for anyone looking to promote travel to the USA in 2017!” 

visitusa.org.uk

Staten Island in from cold

Destination St. George, the tourism marketing coalition for Staten Island’s North Shore in New York City, has launched a major campaign.

Staten Island

The move is part of a major drive to re-brand the area as a must-visit destination when in the Big Apple.

The multi-channel campaign, which started this month (May), includes a new logo and creative artwork in the form of outdoor media, an expanded website and social media presence, as well as digital information kiosks at St. George (Staten Island) and Whitehall (Manhattan) ferry terminals.

The campaign highlights existing attractions - such as the Staten Island Yankees (pictured) and the St. George Theatre – and looks ahead to the future development of the area.

Across the North Shore, more than $1 billion is being invested to transform the neighborhood over the next three years, including the New York Wheel (the world’s largest observation wheel), nearly 100 retail stores at Empire Outlets, a Westin Hotel at Lighthouse Point and more.

Fast and reliable transportation access to the St. George neighborhood will increase with the addition of a regularly-scheduled ferry service between midtown-Manhattan and St. George, starting in 2018.

The service will be provided by New York Waterway out of its 39th Street pier.

“The launch of Destination St. George is an exciting step in the renaissance of the North Shore Corridor," said Staten Island Borough President James Oddo.

"I am excited to watch visitors from all over the world discover what Staten Island has to offer and this campaign will play a major role in that discovery”.

visitstatenisland.com

Visit Austin makes it easy

The Austin Convention and Visitors Bureau (Austin CVB) has a new name: Visit Austin.

Visit Austin

“Our ultimate goal in changing our name to 'Visit Austin' was to make it easier for visitors and meeting planners alike to find relevant information and resources when researching Austin as a destination,” said Tom Noonan, President and CEO of Visit Austin.

“Convention and visitors bureaus all over the U.S. are moving away from the traditional CVB titles because the terminology doesn't truly capture the role of what we are trying to accomplish, especially in Austin.

“We want people to visit Austin and see the amazing things we are doing here as a leisure, meetings and conventions destination.”

The Texas capital is known as The Live Music Capital of the World, due to its 250-plus music venues and annual events such as the Austin City Limits Music Festival, which sees around 70,000 people a day pack Zilker Park for performances by more than 100 bands.

This year taking place over two weekends in October (6-8 and 13-15), the headline bands include Red Hot Chilli Peppers, The Killers, Gorillaz, Ryan Adams and Eagles of Death Metal.

visitaustin.org

Santa Monica’s new Courtyard

The Greater Los Angeles area’s newest hotel is now welcoming guests after the Courtyard Santa Monica opened this spring.

Santa Monica

Located steps from the iconic Santa Monica Pier and Third Street Promenade, the Marriot franchise property features 136 rooms with a beach-themed décor.

There’s also a second-story pool, spa, fitness centre and on-site restaurant, Waterman’s.

The new Metro Expo train, adjacent to the hotel, connects guests effortlessly to the rest of the city and to downtown L.A.

They can hop onto the new line for as little as $1.75 and be in downtown L.A. just 15 minutes later.

Santa Monica itself is easily explored by bike. The Breeze Bike Share programme is a citywide, public bike share scheme, with 500 bikes available at 75 locations taking full advantage of the many dedicated cycle lanes and paths around town.

Santa Monica’s eight neighbourhoods each have their own individual character: from the laid-back charm of Montana Avenue, the retail therapy of Mid-City, the quintessential Californian Venice Beach and dining out in culinary Pico Boulevard.

Prices begin from $289-$349 for a night.

marriott.co.uk
santamonica.com

Detroit on comeback trail

Detroit’s reputation as the ‘Comeback City’ is gathering pace.

Detroit

The recent 2017 Pure Michigan Governor’s Conference on Tourism focused on the regeneration of a city once known for its startling urban decline and flight: in the past few years $11 billion worth of investment has been injected, leading to dozens of new companies establishing in the downtown area and employing 17,000 people.

Some of the new development currently underway includes Detroit’s convention centre, the Cobo Centre, which recently completed a $279 million renovation and expansion, resulting in a 30,000 foot atrium with floor-to-ceiling windows, a TV studio and a new 40,000 square foot ballroom which was the location for Martin Luther King’s original ‘I have a dream’ speech.

Detroit’s hotel product is also expanding. There are nearly 5,000 luxury hotel rooms in the city with many more currently under construction that will add another 1,000 rooms downtown and 2,800 throughout the region.

New properties include the Foundation Hotel at the site of a former Detroit Firehouse, and the first hotel from the worldwide luxury lifestyle brand based in Detroit, Shinola.

Over 100 new restaurants, breweries, distilleries and coffee shops have opened in the last three years, and on May 12, the QLine officially opened.

This street car system runs 3.3 miles (each way), along the main artery Woodward Avenue, connecting all attractions and dining between downtown and midtown.

michigan.org

Dark skies deepen in Utah

If it is dark skies and perfect stars your clients are looking for there’s no better recommendation than Utah.

Utah

The state is known for its abnormally clear skies, particularly above the rugged landscape in the north of the Beehive State, and now has nine International Dark Sky Parks (IDSPs) – more than any other state.

The latest addition to strengthen Utah as a major astro-tourism hub and a stargazing destination is Antelope Island, located under an hour’s drive north east of the state capital, Salt Lake City.

The park is known for activities like hiking, mountain biking and horse-back riding along backcountry trails that offer spectacular views of lake and island scenery. It also has sandy beaches, the Historic Fielding Garr Ranch and is home to free-ranging bison, mule deer, bighorn sheep, pronghorn (antelope) and many other desert animals.

Antelope Island joins a list of IDSPs across Utah that includes the recently designated Cedar Breaks National Monument and two of Utah's renowned ‘Mighty 5’ national parks, Canyonlands and Capitol Reef.

The others are Natural Bridges National Monument, Hovenweep National Monument, Goblin Valley State Park, Dead Horse Point State Park and Weber County North Fork Park.

A popular astronomy Festival is held at Bryce Canyon National Park every June, one of several dark sky offerings across Utah this summer, including full moon mountain treks from Robert Redford’s Sundance Mountain Resort, the ‘Master Astronomer Program’ and free star parties at Cedar Breaks National Monument.

visitutah.com

All change at LAX

Los Angeles International Airport completed what it described as a ‘historic realignment’ earlier this month.

LAX

Over the course of five days – May 12-16 – the largest airline terminal relocation in the history of the airport saw 15 airlines switch terminals, a reshuffle designed to make the passenger experience at LAX more enjoyable for its millions of annual passengers, the airport said.

The changes saw the airlines moving location overnight and resuming operations in their new home the following morning.

Some of the biggest changes affect the operations of Delta Airlines. The airline is moving as part of planned improvements at the airport valued at up to $1.9 billion over the next seven years, when it will modernize and connect Terminals 2 and 3 to the Tom Bradley International Terminal.

“We spent months planning for this historic move and once it's complete the LAX experience will be even more enjoyable and convenient for our millions of passengers," said the city’s mayor, Eric Garcetti.

Deborah Flint, LAX CEO, said passengers should check the new terminal and gate information before arriving at LAX.

"Once at LAX, passengers should check flight and gate status on flight information display boards in each terminal to ensure they are in the correct location,” she added.

A total of 28 airlines – nearly one-third of the airport’s 70 airline partners - are involved in the realignment, which began in January when American Airlines swapped four gates in Terminal 6 for four gates held by Delta in Terminal 5.