Create a new USA experience

The brand-new Visit USA Travel Planner offers a host of ideas to help agents plan the perfect USA holiday itineraries for their clients in 2018.

Visit USA

The comprehensive 72-page publication is packed with inspirational features and destination pieces and includes a useful centrefold map.

The Travel Planner has been written and designed to provide the perfect tool for those looking to explore outside the main popular gateway cities.

The articles include topics that range from the USA’s Natural Wonders and Food Festivals to Animal Magic and the Old West. There are also pieces on Shopping, Twin Centres, Road Trips, Rail Journeys and many others.

A special section is dedicated to all 50 U.S. states and some of its territories.

Take a closer look at the eclectic mix of travel experiences the USA has to offer by visiting:

visitusa.org.uk/TravelPlanner

Arlington looks to the UK

Arlington, Virginia, is on the hunt for more UK visitors after taking steps to increase its UK trade profile.

Arlington

Arlington, which is joined to Washington DC by a series of bridges that span the Potomac River, appointed a UK rep company earlier this year and exhibited at World Travel Market (WTM) in London in November for the third time.

Emily Cassell, Director of the Arlington Convention and Visitors Service, said at WTM that the destination has "noticeably increased its exposure to the UK audience and raised awareness of Arlington as a ‘must see’ destination when visiting the DC area."

“We are considering fam trips in 2018 and are open to ideas what these will feature,” added Cassell.

Arlington’s neighbourhoods are centred on 11 Metro stops, with each having their own vibrant and dynamic feel and offering plenty of outside dining, walking and shopping options.

The destination is best known for Arlington National Cemetery, which offers visitors a walk through American history as well as unbeatable views across National Mall in the nation’s capital.

Added Cassell: “We were originally part of the Washington DC that was 10 miles square; today we make up the other half of the city that is on the west side of the Potomac.

“If I have one tip for agents to pass on to their clients it would be to tell them that we are as close to Washington DC as you could possibly get but that our hotel rates run around 20% lower than those downtown hotels.”

stayarlington.com

Vegas a trip for Cirque

Cirque du Soleil is marking the launch of its new training programme by offering UK and Irish agents the chance to win a trip to Las Vegas.

Vegas

Agents who complete the ‘Discover Cirque’ online training will be entered into a draw to win a trip to the ‘Entertainment Capital of the World’ to experience two Cirque du Soleil shows.

The prize includes a two-night trip for two, with economy seats with British Airways from Heathrow to Las Vegas, accommodation at the MGM Grand Las Vegas in a Grand Tower room and a pair of tickets to two Cirque du Soleil Las Vegas shows (some terms and conditions apply).

The competition’s qualifying period started October 18 and ends November 20.

The winner, who must be over 21 years of age, will be selected on December 7. Holiday date restrictions apply and flights and accommodation are subject to availability.

Cirque du Soleil currently has seven shows permanently based in Las Vegas: Mystère at Treasure Island, “O” at Bellagio Resort & Casino, Zumanity at New York-New York Hotel & Casino, KÀ at MGM Grand Hotel & Casino, The Beatles™ LOVE™ at The Mirage Hotel & Casino, Criss Angel MINDFREAK® LIVE! at Luxor Hotel & Casino and Michael Jackson ONE at Mandalay Bay Hotel & Casino.

“There is nothing quite like experiencing a Cirque du Soleil show,” said Jacinta Jose, Senior Travel Industry Sales Manager for Cirque du Soleil Resident Shows Division.

“This new online platform allows our partners, who are based globally, to get a deeper understanding of the Cirque product, even if they can’t see it live. Providing them the tools they need makes for a better partnership.”

For more information see:

discovercirque.com

Premier’s USA insight

Premier Holidays has teamed up with Insight Vacations on a campaign promoting premium escorted journeys in the USA.

Premier

Under the initiative, agents can book two special offers: A Best of California itinerary from £3,399pp, which combines San Francisco and Los Angeles with Yosemite National Park, and the spectacular drive down the iconic Pacific Coast Highway, departing on June 11 2018.

There is also a Best of Eastern Canada and USA tour, priced from £4,799pp. Departing on May 20 2018 it includes stops in cities on America’s east coast such as Boston, New York, New Jersey and Washington, DC.

Both offers include return flights from Heathrow, VIP home pick-up, stays in top hotels, sightseeing and the services of a tour director.

Agents can earn up to £150 for every inclusive booking, depending on the value.

They can also promote the campaign with a range of promotional materials including glossy window posters, double-sided A4 flyers introducing more detail on each tour and and social media jpegs that agents can share.

trade.premierholidays.co.uk

Loews new in-house flavors

Loews Hotels new in-house food concept, Flavor, has been rolled out to all the hotel group’s 24 properties across North America.

Loew

The concept, which premiered at Loews Miami Beach Hotel earlier this year, is built on partnerships with artisan food and beverage vendors including bakeries, smokehouses, distilleries, breweries, juice shops, ice cream makers and others.

The local products are showcased on menus across the brand’s portfolio, enabling guests to experience a taste of the destination they are in.

“Flavor by Loews Hotels goes beyond the farm-to-table movement of highlighting native ingredients on restaurant menus," said Mark Weiss, Senior Vice President of Food & Beverage of Loews Hotels & Co.

"We’re offering guests celebrated and locally-known products from resident artisans right within the walls of our hotels.”

Examples of the local menus include at Loews Ventana Canyon Resort, which has partnered with Tucson Tamale Company to serve its tamales, made from locally sourced ingredients including organic non-GMO corn and Santa Cruz Red Chile; in Seattle, where Loews Hotel 1000 is featuring smoked salmon from the city’s Jensen’s Old Fashioned Smokehouse and pumpernickel bread from Seattle’s Grand Central Baking Company for the restaurant’s Smoked Salmon Rillettes; and in Nashville, where guests at Loews Vanderbilt Hotel can enjoy Whisper Creek Tennessee Sipping Cream and Pickers Vodka from SPEAKeasy Spirits, available on tap and through monthly “Craft of Draft” cocktail specials at the hotel’s Mason Bar.

At the Loews Regency New York Hotel two pizzas - Truffle and Diavolo - made with charcoal crust from Olivella Bread is being served at the Regency Bar & Grill.

loewshotels.com

Harry celebration in Orlando

Universal Orlando Resort and Warner Bros have announced the return of ‘A Celebration of Harry Potter’ from January 26-28 2018.

Universal

This event will feature an array of interactive experiences aimed at the ultimate fans of J.K. Rowling’s creation.

For the first time in the event's history, Stanislav Yanevski (Viktor Krum) will attend and participate in festivities throughout the weekend, alongside returning fan favourites James and Oliver Phelps (Fred and George Weasley).

During the three-day event, guests will also have the opportunity to attend Q&A sessions with select film talent, experience and participate in the interactive activities and displays from J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World at the Harry Potter Expo, enjoy special panels and demonstrations that give them a look ‘behind the scenes’, visit The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade at Universal’s Islands of Adventure and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley at Universal Studios Florida, and ride the Hogwarts Express between the two lands with a 2-Park ticket.

Entrance to ‘A Celebration of Harry Potter’ is included with regular park-to-park admission (2-Park Explorer ticket).

universalorlando.co.uk

Daytona has image makeover

Visitors to Daytona Beach are discovering a ‘new’ city beyond its iconic motor racing heritage.

Daytona

Linda McMahon, Director of Group Sales for the Florida city’s Convention and Visitors Bureau, said that the almost two billion dollars being pumped into renovations, new hotels and attractions are transforming the holiday experience.

“This is an exciting new chapter in Daytona Beach’s history… the significant investment is making for an even more complete holiday stay for visitors,” she said.

The centrepiece project of the makeover is ONE DAYTONA, a multi-million dollar ‘mixed use’ development springing up from Daytona International Speedway featuring dining options, entertainment venues, shopping complexes and two new hotels: the 105-room Fairfield Inn and Suites, due to open this month, and a 145-room Marriott Autograph Collection property, The Daytona, planned for 2018.

In addition, the historic Streamlime hotel, an Art Deco property, opened in May as an upscale beachside boutique property; Delta by Marriott Daytona is expected to start welcoming guests by the year’s close; the Hilton Daytona Beach Oceanfront Resort just completed a $25 million renovation; and a new-build Hard Rock Hotel on the oceanfront, whose features will include 200 ocean-facing rooms and a guitar-shaped pool for kids and private cabanas, will open in 2018.

Recent additions to Daytona’s line-up of attractions include Tanger Outlets, with 75 brand name and designer outlet stores; the Daytona Beach Ale Trail, featuring a range of craft breweries; and Daytona rising at the Daytona International Speedway complex, which has added the Motorsport Hall of Fame of America in a $400 million-dollar makeover.

Daytona offers the closest coastal break from Orlando.

daytonabeach.com