NYC always welcoming

NYC & Company has launched a refreshed version of its 'Famous Original New York City' campaign.

NYC

The promotion, which carries the tagline, 'Welcomes You. Always', will be rolled out in 22 global markets, including Ireland and Singapore for the first time.

A new addition to this year’s initiative is a toolkit designed to help promote New York City, with trade resources including imagery and video, showcasing the five boroughs.

The city expects to break a record for annual visitors in 2019 (14 million) and to encourage sustained visitor growth into 2020 NYC & Company has strategically partnered with tour operators and airlines to offer packages and flight-only deals in the first quarter of the year.

The tourism body is also launching a more personalised experience on NYCGO.com, the official guide for attractions across NYC.

The hub will allow users to plan a visit and navigate the destination by offering ‘favouriting’ tools as well as recommendations.

Fred Dixon, CEO, NYC & Company said: “This latest iteration not only features engagement with a multitude of travel trade partners, but also an enhanced and more personalised digital experience for visitors planning their next visit to The Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens and Staten Island.”

nycgo.com

Stars in new Chicago show

Visitors to Chicago this December will be able to take their seats at the city’s newest stage production.

Chicago

The Light in Piazza, a six-time Tony-award-winning musical, will open at the Lyric Opera of Chicago on December 14 and run until December 29.

The show, about ‘the life-changing thrill of first love’, stars soprano Renee Fleming, Alex Jennings of Netflix’s The Crown and rising star Solea Pfeiffer.

Fleming, who was Tony-nominated for her role as Nettie Fowler in Carousel on Broadway last season, stars as Margaret Johnson a tale that transports the audience to a sun-drenched Florence in the summer of 1953.

As American Margaret Johnson and her daughter Clara (Pfeiffer) take in the city's wonders, a fateful gust of wind whisks Clara's hat into the hands of local dreamer Fabrizio Naccarelli... and it's amore at first sight.

But Clara isn't quite what she appears, and soon they must all confront a secret that's been kept in the shadows for far too long.

Its run on Broadway, New York, won rave reviews with the New York Times describing it as having ‘the most intensely romantic score of any musical since West Side Story’.

London Theatre summed up the show’s score as being one of “swelling, surging musical joy, full of meltingly lovely arias, laments and a sense of overwhelming feeling”.

Agents can purchase tickets for U.S. theatre shows from Leisure Connect, a sub-brand of Visit USA member Broadway Inbound, whose association membership is handled in the UK by made.

broadwaycollection.com
leisureconnect.com

Brits special in Orlando

Orlando may have annual visitor numbers that are the envy of other U.S. destinations but it won’t be resting on its laurels in 2020.

Orlando

"We certainly don’t take for granted the special relationship we have with British visitors (around 1.1 million in 2018)," said George Aguel, President and CEO of Visit Orlando.

"The UK is our number one overseas market... we have a long-standing relationship that is very important to us and we will keep investing in it, particularly with our highly-valued trade partners," he added.

Aguel, who was in London in early November for World Travel Market as part of a delegation that included Jerry Demings, Mayor for Orange County Mayor, said as one of the fastest evolving tourist destinations there was always "a new message to get out there".

These include Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. Opened in late August, the area will feature two signature attractions when Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, opens on December 5 alongside Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run, which puts guests in the cockpit of the famous space ship.

An NBA Experience opened at Disney Springs in August, with interactive games and competitions and immersive experiences.

New for next year will be The Bourne Spectacular. Debuting at Universal Studios Florida in the spring the live-action stunt show will be based on the Bourne film franchise.

Icebreaker, a roller coaster at Seaworld with the steepest vertical drop in Florida, should be thrilling visitors by the spring.

And opening in phases from next year, ICON Park’s new attractions will include the world’s tallest slingshot ride.

Further ahead, Universal’s fourth theme park, Universal’s Epic Universe, will double the size of the company's footprint in Orlando, while a Virgin Trains service will connect Miami and Orlando.

visitorlando.com

Atlantic City in the loop

Atlantic City, the east coast of America's original seaside getaway destination, has plenty of attractions beyond its famed resort and casino hotels.

Atlantic City

Says Heather Colache, Tourism Account Director for Atlantic City Convention and Group Sales: “Our appeal has broadened in recent years, based on a line-up of draw cards that includes beaches, live shows, great shopping and family-focused activities.”

The backbone of the city is its historic seven-mile-long wooden Boardwalk. Here you can stroll, cycle, or jump onto one of the legendary rolling chairs as you pass eateries, surf shops, souvenir stores and specialty boutiques.

For the family there is the steel pier, Ripley’s Believe it or Not! Central Pier Arcade, miniature golf and more.

A block back from Boardwalk is the new Orange Loop!, which takes its name form the U.S. version of Monopoly. Here, the ‘orange’ streets featured in the game – Tennessee Avenue, St. James Place and New York Avenue - comprise three blocks of restaurants, bars, breweries live music, coffee, yoga and more.

Said Colache: “The Orange Loop! offers visitors another fun way to explore our streets off the beach. If your clients are beer lovers they shouldn’t miss Tennessee Avenue Beer Hall, which has over 100 craft beers."

Other attractions in Atlantic City include the country’s third-oldest observation wheel; the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, where upcoming acts include Mariah Carey, Earth, Wind and Fire and Eros Ramazzotti; Absecon Lighthouse, the tallest lighthouse in New Jersey (climb its 228 steps); Atlantic City Aquarium and, just outside of town, Lucy the Elephant, a restored giant historic landmark first built in 1884.

atlanticcitynj.com/international

Hyatt’s sustainable drive

Hyatt Hotels has announced a series of new global initiatives to reduce waste and cut single-use plastics at all its hotels by June 2021.

Hyatt

The measures will see the introduction of large-format bathroom amenities replacing traditional small bottles of shower gel, shampoo, conditioner and lotion.

In addition, all hotels will increase the number of water stations in key public spaces at hotels for guests who wish to refill reusable water bottles.

The hotels will also serve water in carafes or other containers for meetings and events, although bottled water will be available by request.

Said Mark Hoplamazian, President and CEO, Hyatt. “Plastic pollution is a global issue, and we hope our efforts will motivate guests, customers and indeed ourselves to think more critically about our use of plastic.”

A Hyatt spokesperson said transitioning to large-format bathroom amenities and reducing single-use water bottles builds on Hyatt’s broader commitment to reduce disposables and select environmentally preferable options whenever possible, with the exception of when single-use bottles are needed for water quality reasons.

Other recent global initiatives by Hyatt have included removing plastic straws and drink picks and making alternative options available only by request, and increasing the use of compostable, recyclable, or recycled content packaging for to-go food containers.

HHyatt, whose brands include Park Hyatt, Grand Hyatt, Andaz, The Unbound Collection by Hyatt, Hyatt Regency, Thompson Hotels, Hyatt House and Hyatt Place, has several new U.S. openings planned for 2020.

These include Andaz Palm Springs, Hyatt Centric 39th & 5th New York, Hyatt Place, Tulsa (Oklahoma), Hyatt Centric Downtown Portland and Thompson Washington D.C.

Hyatt.com

West Virginia targets UK

New Visit USA member West Virginia is targeting the trade to help push up UK visitor numbers in 2020.

West Virginia

The state, which is easily accessible from Washington D.C. and is also often considered the northern outpost of the Southern states, now has a UK office to drive forward its unique selling points.

From the rolling hills of the Mid-Ohio Valley to the elevated peaks and plateaus of the Potomac Highlands, the state is the third-most forested in the U.S and home to six national parks, Monongahela National Forest (covering nearly a million acres) and 45 state parks and forests.

Activities include some of the best mountain biking and white-water rafting in the U.S., hiking, more than 700 miles of ATV off-roading trails, horse-riding, fishing, golf and winter sports.

Harpers Ferry has 19th-century buildings, a Civil War Museum and John Brown’s Fort, a key site in an 1859 abolitionist raid to free slaves. This is also where the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers meet, known as The Point, with views of Maryland and Virginia.

Here, the Appalachian Trail Visitor Center has exhibits on the long-distance hiking trail.

Luxury options come in the form of small boutique properties while The Greenbriar, a resort destination in White Sulpher Springs, has been a National Historic Landmark since 1778.

Resort facilities at The Greenbrier - which has welcomed 27 presidents - include four golf courses, a casino, a spa and, uniquely, an emergency Cold War fallout shelter and bunker that was never used.

Tours of the top-secret, super-sized bunker that was built for all 535 members of Congress during the Eisenhower era (1950s) are available.

wvtourism.com