Visit USA Roadshow goes digital

The Visit USA Association is inviting agents to sign up to its first-ever digital Roadshow.

Visit USA Roadshow

Being staged as an online event this year due to the challenges posed by the pandemic, the Visit USA Roadshow will consist of two one-hour sessions on Tuesday October 6 and Wednesday October 7, with proceedings starting at 18.00

Twenty Visit USA members will present their latest travel ideas, via an interactive digital platform, with opportunities for live interaction via Question and Answer sessions.

Agents will hear all the key USPs and latest news from: Aer Lingus; The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel; Caesars Entertainment; Colorado Tourism Office; Cruise America RV Rentals; Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism; Maverick Aviation Group; Grand Canyon & Las Vegas; Naples, Marco Island, Everglades - Florida’s Paradise Coast; New Orleans & Company and Louisiana Office of Tourism; Visit North Carolina; Oklahoma Tourism & Recreation; Experience Scottsdale; Visit Seattle; Tennessee Tourism; Travel Portland; Travel Texas; TravelBeat; Universal Parks & Resorts; Utah Office of Tourism; and Visit West Hollywood

Agents who attend both sessions will put their names in the frame to win a 10-day RV rental, courtesy of Cruise America RV Rentals – a prize that can be claimed up until March 2022.

There will also be a daily bonus prize, which will be won by one agent at each of the two sessions.

Tracey Spuyman, CEO of Visit USA (UK), said: “It has obviously been a challenging few months for the travel industry but it is important that the travel trade is kept up to date with what is on offer in the USA so that when travel reopens it is ready to access the diverse destinations and experiences that will fulfil pent-up demand from UK travellers.”

"We urge agents to secure their place and join us in early October for a USA extravaganza!”

Register at www.visitusaroadshow.com today

 

 

Food glorious food on USA road trips

Visit USA has invited the winners of this year’s Visit USA Media Awards to share their own memorable Stateside experiences.

Food

Sara Lawrence, who was 'Highly Commended' for her Online Feature, 'Swamps, Smoke, and Spirituality in the Deep South', in this year’s Visit USA Media Awards, describes her love of food Stateside and takes the reader on a coast-to-coast culinary journey.

Sara's idea of holiday heaven is a "food crawl" and admits that when thinking about the many U.S. locations she has visited "it's the meals, snacks and eating-related pit-stops which stand out".

She recalls with some longing the "Double-Double Animal Style' burger" from regional fast food chain In-N-Out she enjoyed on the drive back (from Palm Springs) to Los Angeles.

"At around $3 for two juicy patties grilled in mustard, two slices of cheese, cooked onions, lettuce, tomato and thousand island sauce crammed into the crispy on the outside, soft on the inside bun, this off-menu (you've got to request it) item has become my very own American dream," she writes.

Other foodie experiences that have stuck in Sara's memory include crab cakes in Charleston, fish tacos from a roadside stand in Los Felix, pizza in New York City, fried green tomatoes in the South, a food truck serving "the king of grilled cheese sandwiches" in Massachusetts and "hash browns, over easy eggs and bottomless coffee in unpretentious, down-home diners around the country".

Then there were the "long dinners featuring fancy tasting menus, sustainable farm-to-table lunches in a succession of rural idylls, mouth-melting ribs and brisket at mind-blowingly brilliant BBQ joints".

On a road trip from Nashville to New Orleans stops exploring the roots of American music were rivalled by the memorable dinner she enjoyed at the Highlands Bar & Grill in downtown Birmingham, Alabama.

Voted 'America's most outstanding restaurant' in 2018 by the James Beard Awards, the restaurant is known for its Southern-accented French cooking and sophisticated-yet-relaxed vibe.

Read Sara's food-inspired blog at:

visitusa.org.uk/blogs

Pittsburgh has plenty to charm Brits

The partner support network and access to both trade and consumers that is provided by the Visit USA Association is more crucial than ever during these uncertain times for international travel, says the chief of one of the country's tourism bodies.

Pittsburgh

Jerad Bachar, CEO of VisitPITTSBURGH, says membership of the Association is "absolutely vital" at this time.

"We need to be in the minds of future travellers. At some point UK consumers will again be making their international travel plans, which is why we need to keep engaging with our partners who produce outbound travel, like travel agents and tour operators".

The UK and Ireland will remain the key overseas markets for the ex-steel producing destination that has been successfully transforming itself into one of the USA's most diverse and 'liveable' cities in recent years, says Bachar.

Pittsburgh, served by a direct British Airways service from Heathrow, and its surrounding regions in southwestern Pennsylvania, is reliant on tourism to the tune of around 6.4 billion dollars a year - a total that will likely be halved in this year of the Covid-19 pandemic, said Bachar.

"But we are starting to see some growth again: client numbers at both Pittsburgh International Airport and city hotels are beginning to increase...but we know it is going to take some time to fully recover," he says.

When the gateways to the U.S. are reopened to international visitors, Pittsburgh will be well placed to welcome those with an interest in seeking out some true 'American experiences'.

In the video interview below, Bachar describes how Pittsburgh is linked with famous names such as Andy Warhol, Henry John Heinz and Frank Lloyd Wright.

Visitors can visit the Andy Warhol Museum - the largest museum in the U.S. dedicated to a single artist - see the original recipe for tomato ketchup at the Heinz History Centre and visit Falling Water, probably Frank Lloyd Wright's best-known creation, located a short drive out of the city.

They can see more cultural gems or catch an opera or ballet in the downtown 14-block Cultural District, or discover some of the more than 90 different neighbourhoods, each with its own distinctive food, shops and other influences tied to waves of immigrants from Greece, Germany, Poland and many other countries.

Pittsburgh is also a city of green spaces with myriad opportunities for outdoor activities like cycling, hiking, kayaking and kite-boarding, says Bachar.

He also explains how the city comfortably fits into a touring itinerary of the north-east that could also take in some of the Great Lakes region, Niagara Falls and even Toronto in Canada.

"We are just 90 minutes below the Great Lakes and three hours to Niagara Falls. Cleveland and Chicago are both relatively short drives away so agents have the opportunity to put together a diverse and comfortable touring trip of the region."

To see the full interview click on the link below

 

Pittsburgh

 

Inside stories create special memories

Inside Stories

Phoebe Smith, recipient of the 'Best Broadcast Programme' in this year's Visit USA Media Awards for a podcast entitled Wander Woman, has been a regular visitor to the USA over the last 20 years but always discovers "new stories and new voices" on every trip.

In one of the latest blogs added to the Visit USA Association’s website, she recalls a memorable road trip she undertook, travelling from Los Angeles to New York in winter.

"Travelling through the interior of the country showed me a completely different side to the U.S. that I'd never previously experienced," she says. "Since then I was hooked on finding the hidden places that are never in the spotlight."

That's a travelling mission statement has taken her to towns along the Appalachian Trail and to following the Mississippi River to learn about the tales of a physical boundary that connects both north and south and east and west.

"I've been determined to showcase the lesser known areas, such as the Chincoteague Islands in Virginia and the resident herd of wild ponies, cliff camping experiences in Colorado and, more recently, the plight of the endangered manatees who every year come to Florida," she says.

For more on these ideas and others, see the blog at:

visitusa.org.uk/blog

Phoebe’s Wander Woman Podcast can be accessed via all main podcast platforms.