Roadshow hailed ‘great success’

Visit USA’s autumn Roadshow enjoyed its biggest turn-out to date, as 31 exhibitors and 230 agents gathered over the course of three nights in October.

Visit USA

Hosted by BBC’s Dave Benson Phillips, the roadshow travelled to Edinburgh, Liverpool and Reading, giving agents the opportunity to network with U.S. industry experts and improve their destination awareness along with winning some prizes along the way.

Visit USA CEO, Tracey Spuyman said: “Over 230 agents visited the Visit USA Roadshow over the three nights on this year’s UK tour and feedback has been very positive from everyone who took part. The quality of agents who opted to come to Edinburgh, Liverpool and Reading was very high and feedback on the night told us that the networking discussions had been extremely useful in the drive to develop new business opportunities.

She added: “We’re delighted that the Visit USA Roadshow has proved to be very productive for our members and we will be exploring ways to develop this event further as we start planning for 2018.”

Neil Jones, of Louisiana Office of Tourism’s UK office, said: “The Roadshow gives us the chance to talk to 80 agents in one evening and educate them on various U.S. destinations and experiences. The exhibitors here all have different products to offer to complete that USA experience and help create that holiday package that the Brits love so much.”

Julie Greenhill of the Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism said: “This is the seventh year that we have attended and we find it’s crucial to work with the agents and give them the top tips on how they can sell. You definitely see a boost in confidence after these events.”

Agents who participated in an interactive game put themselves in the frame to win one of 10 goody bags, while three agents – one on each evening - won a holiday for two to the USA.

visitusaroadshow.com

Norwegian’s Mile High flight

Norwegian has launched a new year-round service from Gatwick to Denver International Airport.

Denver

The twice-weekly service is operating on Tuesday and Saturday during the ‘summer’ season but will increase to a three-times- weekly service in the winter with an additional Thursday departure.

The service is operated by a Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft, which has up to 344 seats in two cabins – Economy and Premium.

Fares start from £179 one-way in economy.

Denver, called the ‘Mile High City’, is Norwegian’s eighth U.S. route from Gatwick in the past three years.

The airline will also launch new services to Chicago and Austin in March 2018.

British Airways also operates direct flights from the UK to Denver, with indirect flights from Icelandair.

From March 25 United will launch a daily direct route to the city from Heathrow.

A direct rail service connects Denver International Airport (DEN) to Union Station & LoDo (Lower Downtown) in the heart of downtown. The 37-minute trip costs just $9 each way.

norwegian.com
colorado.com

Papillon’s dining flight

Papillon Grand Canyon Helicopters has added a luxury dining experience to three of its popular Grand Canyon tours.

Papillon

Whether arriving by helicopter, airplane or Mercedes Sprinter vehicle, guests enjoy a three-course lunch at Grand Canyon West’s new restaurant, Sa’Nyu Wa, which means ‘Home of the Eagle’.

The three Papillon packages - Heli Skywalk Tour with VIP dining package, Indian Adventure with VIP dining package and Platinum West Rim with VIP dining package - include views of Hoover Dam, Lake Mead and the Grand Canyon and lunch at Sa’Nyu Wa, which features a panoramic view through glass walls of the canyon and Eagle Point.

The Heli Skywalk Tour with VIP dining package begins with a helicopter flight to the West Rim. Upon landing, guests are taken to the Skywalk Bridge where they are given a pass to experience the horseshoe-shaped, glass-bottom bridge which offers views nearly a mile down to the canyon floor.

Prices start from $554 (£415) per adult, $534 (£400) per child (for approximately six and a half hours).

Papillon.com
lasvegas.com

Florida Keys re-opens

The Florida Keys reopened to visitors on Sunday, October 1, three weeks after the island chain was impacted by Hurricane Irma.

Florida

However, visitors are advised that while it is safe to travel to the Keys, the recovery efforts will be ongoing for some time, especially in the Lower Keys and parts of Marathon which were hardest hit by the storm.

Not all lodging is operating on a normal basis currently, including RV resorts and other tourism facilities throughout the Keys.

The districts of Key Largo and Key West were the least impacted, however visitors planning to travel to the Keys in the coming months are advised to call ahead to ensure their chosen hotels and attractions are open.

Monroe County Mayor George Neugent commented: “We know we have a long way to go before the Keys fully recover, but because tourism is our top economic engine and many of our residents’ livelihoods depend on it, we also know that we need to begin asking visitors to return.”

Monroe County covers all five districts in the Florida Keys: Key Largo, Islamorada, Marathon, Big Pine Key and the Lower Keys and Key West.

UK travellers can access the Keys through the gateway airports of Miami and Fort Lauderdale.

International airports in Marathon and Key West have also reopened to aviation traffic and The Port of Key West is now welcoming cruise ships again.

While some special events have been postponed or cancelled, key upcoming events that will go ahead include Key Largo’s Humphrey Bogart Film Festival (October 18-22) and Key West’s Fantasy Fest (October 20-29).

fla-keys.co.uk

Aer Lingus goes big to U.S.

Aer Lingus will operate its largest ever transatlantic schedule in 2018, with 177,000 additional seats to North America via Dublin.

Aer Lingus

Philadelphia will become the airline’s newest U.S. gateway, with a service operating four times a week.

The airline has taking delivery of four new long haul aircraft in the last 24 months, enabling the introduction of four new transatlantic routes: Los Angeles, Newark, Hartford, Miami and now Philadelphia.

Additional transatlantic expansion includes a daily service to both San Francisco and Los Angeles on the U.S. West Coast as well as twice-daily flights to Chicago.

Miami, which was launched as a new route in late summer 2017, and as a new winter route, will continue into summer 2018, operating three times a week. Miami combined with Orlando, will operate four times weekly.

Washington DC will continue to operate daily for summer but on a larger Airbus A330-300 series aircraft, for four out of seven days, providing 31% additional seats on the route.

Aer Lingus’ offers transatlantic connections from 18 key UK airports.

When connecting in Dublin, Aer Lingus guests can pre-clear U.S. Customs and Immigration, allowing them upon landing to pass through domestic channels for a smooth and swift arrival in the USA.

aerlingus.com

Civil Rights Trail in 2018

Travel South USA is to launch the U.S. Civil Rights Trail on January 1, 2018.

Birmingham

The trail primarily features the most famous landmarks from the Civil Rights Era in the 1950s and '60s.

Visitors can worship in the Birmingham, Alabama, church (pictured) that Klansmen bombed one Sunday, killing four girls; they can walk across the Selma bridge in Alabama where state police attacked voting rights demonstrators on ‘Bloody Sunday’; they can tour the birthplace of Martin Luther King Jr. in Atlanta, Georgia, and they can pay their respects at the National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee, where a lone gunman assassinated King 50 years ago.

Other sites on the trail include the Woolworth's store in Greensboro, North Carolina, where four black college students occupied 'whites only' lunch counter stools and launched the sit-in movement, and the Little Rock, Arkansas, high school where President Eisenhower deployed thousands of federal troops to enforce court-ordered school integration.

More than 80 sites will be included on the website, from January 1, 2018.

Many of the landmarks are owned and operated by the U.S. National Park Service.

alabama.travel
deep-south-usa.com
civilrightstrail.com

Plus tours from TrekAmerica

TrekAmerica’s new Plus Tours allow travellers to build their U.S. trip by combining ‘bite-sized tours, ranging from nine to to 23 days.

Trek America

The 11 Plus Tour itineraries range is based on two cross-country ‘hero tours’, New York to Los Angeles and San Francisco to New York, with the nine other itineraries making up smaller sections of the two routes.

By building their own itineraries, adding as many different legs of the journey as they please, 'trekkers' can pick and choose their preferred route and visit the places that matter to them most, starting from £1,299pp.

New Plus Tours depart from, and travel between, five popular US cities: San Francisco, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, New Orleans and New York.

The tours visit some of the U.S.’s most exciting cities and towns with a focus on nightlife and big city living, as well as the some of the West’s spectacular national parks.

Fronted by local TrekAmerica guides, Plus Tours offer more inclusions, such as local food, comfy twin-share hotels, adrenaline fuelled excursions and various attractions, but can accommodate larger groups of around 30 like-minded 18-35 year olds.

A TrekAmerica spokesperson said: “These exciting new itineraries offer the best of both worlds: big-hitting shorter tours with all the creature comforts but with the potential to ‘go large’ – bolting on more bite-sized chunks and extending travel plans to discover even more of the U.S. on an epic road trip, TrekAmerica style!”

trekamerica.co.uk