Pittsburgh shows UK steel

Tourism officials from Pittsburgh visited the UK to spread the word about a city that’s enjoying a major renaissance.


Speaking before a trade event at the new U.S. Embassy in London, Craig T. Davies, Chief Marketing Officer for Visit Pittsburgh said: “We have been delighted by the reaction of the UK tour operators we met…they had a genuine interest in learning more about the way our city is transforming itself.”

Among the key developments in the former steal town is a $1.1 billion ‘modernization plan’ for Pittsburgh International Airport designed to improve the traveller experience.

Pittsburgh’s resurgence is also seen in the number of new hotel openings, which has increased accommodation options in the city by 25% over the past eight years.

These include the Distrikt Hotel – a property housed in the former Salvation Army headquarters – and the Drury Plaza, in the historic Federal Reserve Bank building.

Hotels to have opened their doors this year include an AC hotel (a boutique brand), Hotel Indigo Pittsburgh Downtown and Even Hotel (in the former downtown Macy’s building). Due to open this summer along the city’s North Shore is the Rivers Casino Hotel.

The city’s foodie scene is also thriving, added Davies. “Pittsburgh has seen a huge influx of independent eateries, start-up restaurants and budding chefs to the city,...we are now one of the top foodie cities in the U.S.”

It is a city that will appeal to sports fans (there’s a professional team for all the major U.S. professional sports) and lovers of real beer: there are over 40 craft breweries in the Pittsburgh area.

Cyclists are also well catered for: The 150-mile Great Allegheny Passage (GAP) takes in valleys, mountains, and skirts alongside the three rivers that flow through the city.


Cosmos has more of USA

Cosmos has launched a range of new tours to the Americas for 2019, with low deposits of just £99.


To celebrate its new brochure, Cosmos is running a £49pp inbound flight upgrade offer on U.S. and Canada bookings made before August 15.

And for any 2019 tours to the USA, a deposit of just £99 is required.

The new tours include 'Highlights of the Canyonlands', with stops in Utah and Arizona taking in the Grand Canyon, Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks and Monument Valley (pictured). It is priced from £1,469.

America's Greatest Treasures tour visits Colorado, South Dakota, Wyoming and Utah, with highlights such as the Black Hills of South Dakota, Mount Rushmore, Yellowstone National Park and the Grand Tetons. It is priced from £2,335pp.

The Grand Alaskan Adventure will explore Denali National Park, Valdez, the Thompson Pass and Denali Highway. Also is included is a cruise across the Prince William Sound. Prices start from £2,529.


LA puts the H in Hollywood

The Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board (LATCB) helped bring a piece of iconic Hollywood history to London’s O2.


The Heart of Hollywood Tour exhibits, which is touring the globe, features a whole host of Hollywood memorabilia including the original, 14-metre high 'H' from the famous Hollywood Sign.

Commenting on the exhibition, LATCB’s Regional Director, Europe and Middle East, Francine Sheridan, said; “Any first-time visitor to Los Angeles will typically have Hollywood on their bucket list, and the Hollywood Sign itself has become a symbol of the city’s endless possibilities and aspirational lifestyle.

“We were thrilled to have the opportunity to support ‘The Heart of Hollywood Tour’ and bring a taste of one of L.A’s most iconic neighbourhoods to London."

“While the exhibition is shining a light on the Golden Age of Hollywood, we hope to inspire Brits to revisit Hollywood on their next visit, as hot new openings are shining a spotlight back onto the neighbourhood," she added.

“Ten new hotels are in development and set to join joining the popular Mama Shelter, The Hollywood Roosevelt and the recently opened Dream Hollywood. In addition world-class culinary offerings, Instagram-worthy bars and cutting-edge galleries popping up all over the area."

The original letters of The Hollywood Sign were first erected in 1923 – secured to frames constructed of pipes, wires, and telephone poles after being pulled up by mule teams and tractors.

Pictured by the original Hollywood H sign are Hollie Thomson, Head of PR at Adhesive PR; Francine Sheridan Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board Regional Director Europe and Middle East; Hayley French, Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board Sales and Marketing Manager Europe and Middle East; and Eimear Cassidy LATCB.


Titan looks east

Titan’s recently released 2019 Worldwide brochure features a new U.S escorted tour to some of the country's most popular eastern cities.


‘America’s Historic Cities’ promises clients ‘a colourful adventure exploring America’s east coast cities’.

Departing August 22 2019, the 12-night escorted tour takes clients from the moss-draped oak trees of Savannah in Georgia to ever-changing New York City to the nation’s capital, Washington DC.

Among the Included excursions are a CNN backstage tour in Atlanta, and guided tours in Savannah, Charleston, Wilmington, Washington DC, Philadelphia, and New York.

There are also visits to Magnolia Plantation and Gardens in Charleston, Virginia Beach, and Colonial Williamsburg and Jamestown.

The ‘America’s Historic Cities’ tour is priced from £2,799pp and, Titan now offers a guaranteed departures policy on every tour date featured in the Worldwide brochure.

The escorted tour operator offers regional flights and home transfers for mainland customers in northern England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands.


Twin cities have much to say

Tourism officials from Dallas and Fort Worth have been in the UK to share news of key developments in the Texas twin cities.

Twin cities

Just 20 minutes apart but offering unique characteristics and experiences, both are set to benefit from a raft of new hotel developments and attractions.

When it comes to the number of new hotels, Dallas ranks second in the U.S. with 18 new openings in the last year or so and 37 more properties under construction, including the first Virgin Hotel in the Southwest.

A major new visitor experience, The Holocaust and Human Rights Museum, is due to open in Dallas in May 2019 with programmes currently being created with Steven Spielberg.

Coming to the African American Museum on September 22 and running to December 21, is a major new exhibition on Sally Hemings, Thomas Jefferson’s concubine. It will tell the story of plantation days in the early 1800s from the perspective of a slave.

Over in Fort Worth, the Marriott Signature Collection will open in 2019 in the historic Sinclair Building and will feature 165 rooms, a basement restaurant and rooftop bar.

Also now open in the popular Stockyards district is the Courtyard Marriott, with Springhill Suites due to open in the same area later this year.

The TX Whiskey distillery is also new and offers tours, a bar and a tasting room. Beer fans should also check out the newly-launched Fort Worth Ale Trail that takes in nine of the area’s breweries.

Mark D. Thompson, SVP, Tourism for Visit Dallas said: “Right now the American South is really popular, and our UK market is booming. Dallas and Atlanta are the key gateways to the South, which puts us in a great position."


USA specialist in trade off

USA specialist Vacations to America is to build on its growing ties with agents by again paying shop visits to independent agencies.

USA Specialist

The company, celebrating its 25th year, plans to repeat 2017’s successful trade campaign that featured agency calls and training for around 1,000 agents.

“We are one of the UK’s top USA travel specialists but it’s fair to say that before we started our focused-visit campaign many agents had not heard of us … but I can say with confidence that they have now” said Richard Wimms, Vacations to America MD.

“We are committed to working in partnership with agents and, if the agent is prepared to work with us, then we are prepared to invest in them,” he added.

“We have always known that travel agents need a ‘go to’ specialist for the USA and I am confident that our message is now starting to be heard,” added Wimms.

“Working closely with our US partners, Vacations to America will focus even more on independent agents in 2018 as the popularity for the USA returns.

“The USA is an enormous country, and on a daily basis travel agents face the daunting task of having to put together some very complex itineraries for their customers.

"Our team has a combined experience of over 100 years in selling the USA and it’s our job to make life easy for agents whilst offering a comprehensive service for their customers," added Wimms.