Wyoming looks forward

Home to the nation’s first national park, Yellowstone, and the first national monument, Devil’s Tower, Wyoming is making preparations for the US National Park Service’s centennial next year.


Diane Shober, Executive Director, Wyoming Office of Tourism said: “To celebrate the centennial we’re engaging with what happened 100 years ago and are looking at what will happen in 100 years going forward.”

A giant-screen film called National Parks Adventure will premier next year, with Wyoming playing a starring role.

In addition, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort is preparing for its 50th anniversary celebrations. The skiing destination will be unveiling its new Teton lift for the 2015-2016 season, opening up 200 acres of terrain. Three new groomed runs will be added and the new Piste Mountain Bistro will offer on-mountain dining.

A direct air service is available to Jackson Hole from 12 US hubs and local tour operators can arrange day excursions to nearby sites including Yellowstone National Park and the National Elk Range.

Meanwhile, the town of Casper is preparing for large numbers of visitors to view the total solar eclipse on August 21, 2017.

On a recent visit to London, Wyoming’s Governor Matt Mead said: “According to NASA it will be the best viewing location for the total solar eclipse. The town will be holding a number of festivals and events to coincide with the eclipse including ASTROCON 2017 and EclipseFest 2017.

The Governor was also excited to share the news that the upcoming Disney Pixar film, ‘The Good Dinosaur’, drew ‘inspiration’ from the state.

Due for release on November 25, the lead character is an Apatosaurus, which would have been indigenous to the state.

Mead said: “The Wyoming landscapes inspired Disney animators. Visitors will be able to go on dino-treks and go fossil fishing.”


Missouri back in the UK

The state of Missouri is looking to establish closer trade contacts in the UK after exhibiting at this month’s World Travel Market for the first time in seven years.


Said Donna Cordle Grey, Managing Director of International Marketing for Missouri Division of Tourism: “It was great to be back at WTM after so many years away.

“We had many productive meetings and look forward to working much closer with the travel trade and carrying out agent training on our great product in 2016.”

Missouri bills itself as the ‘Real America’ and visitors can explore almost 500km of Route 66 - the Mother Road - in the state that named her.

They can also experience ‘iconic Americana’ by visiting Hannibal, the home of Mark Twain and his inspiration for Tom Sawyer, or St. Joseph, where the Pony Express began and outlaw Jesse James met his end.

Then there is Missouri's music scene, which offers something for every taste from St. Louis blues, Kansas City jazz and the musical variety of several shows up in Branson. New attractions for 2016 include the National Blues Museum, scheduled to open in early 2016 in St. Louis. The museum will educate visitors on the historical significance of blues music in the USA and will be the only dedicated museum to blues music. It will feature a variety of interactive exhibits, including travelling exhibits from across the world.’

Added Cordle Grey: “For 2016, we will be focusing on developing the UK market and working with the trade to enhance our great product.”

Pictured, left to right: Dan Lennon, Director of Tourism; Missouri Division of Tourism; Donna Cordle Gray, Managing Director of International Marketing; Renee Eichelberger, Director of Leisure Travel Sales, St. Louis Convention & Visitors Commission; Derek Klaus, Senior Communications Manager, Visit KC (Kansas City, MO).


Great Lakes get out and about

Great Lakes USA launched its new 2016 Visitor guide at WTM 2015.

Great Lakes

The guide covers in-depth the states of Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Wisconsin and Illinois, and also includes ‘Preferred Partners’, Detroit, Michigan; Duluth, Minnesota and Indianapolis, Indiana.

The New Visitor Guide provides an overview of the region, as well as showcasing some of the highlights of the Great Lakes USA.

The publication has a strong focus on being outdoors, particularly in the many national parks of the region, including Isle Royale in Michigan, Apostle Islands in Wisconsin and Cuyahoga Valley in Ohio.

The focus on the national parks ties in with the centennial of the US National Park Service in 2016 and the early 2016 launch of a new Brand USA IMAX movie.

Agents can get a copy of the 2016 brochure from the Great Lakes USA website: where they can also see an electronic copy of the brochure. Pictured: Toby McCarrick Executive Director of Great Lakes USA


New York City embraces the winter

NYC & Company, New York City’s official destination marketing organisation, has launched a new year-round seasonal promotion designed to increase the profile of the city’s five boroughs during the winter.

New York

Unlock NYC – with the tagline “Find a Winter Less Ordinary.”- centres around tips and stories designed to highlight quintessential and NYC experiences that will help visitors discover New York City during the slower tourism months in January, February and March.

This is traditionally a period when travellers can take advantage of the lowest hotel room rates of the year as well as NYC & Company’s signature dining and theater promotions.

The launch tips include both daytime and night time experiences sharing insights from the following categories: Hidden Spaces in Iconic Places; Cinematic City; Eats, Treats and Secret Menus; Stores with Stories; and Broadway & Beyond.

For example, The Staten Island Ferry has enclosed seating, runs 24/7 and is free. Visitors can take a night sightseeing cruise and, over a coffee or beer (sold on board), watch the city skyline sail by.

“There are endless reasons to love New York City in every season, but something special happens when the snow falls – from Lunar New Year celebrations in Flushing and the tree lighting in Rockefeller Center, to watching the Polar Bear Club brave the frigid waters on Coney Island. People from around the world feel the pull of New York City, and with Unlock NYC visitors can find the hidden gems – the New Yorker’s New York – and experience our city on a budget,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio.

During the first three months of the year, the average daily room rate is approximately $235, which is about 22% lower than the average for the rest of the year. Additional savings opportunities are available through NYC & Company’s signature dining and theater promotions.

NYC Restaurant Week offers New Yorkers and visitors three-course prix-fixe lunches for $25 and three-course prix-fixe dinners for $38 (excluding beverages, gratuities and taxes). The dining program returns January 19-February 5 with reservations opening on January 6. Visitors and New Yorkers can take advantage of two-for-one theatre tickets to a selection of the best shows in town during NYC Broadway Week (January 19- February 5, tickets on sale January 7) and NYC Off-Broadway Week (February1–14; tickets on sale January 18).


Bourbon’s new flavours in Kentucky

Bourbon distilling is returning to downtown Louisville with three new distillery projects currently in the works.


When completed, Angel’s Share Brands’ distillery, Michter’s Distillery and the Evan Williams Bourbon Experience plan to offer tours of their facilities along Main Street in the city’s core tourism district.

The planned $12 million distillery for Angel’s Envy bourbon will redevelop a portion of a 19th century manufacturing building known as the old Vermont American Complex. The new complex will include a column still, a bottling line, grain handling equipment and barrel storage areas.

Michter’s Distillery is renovating the Fort Nelson Building to house a new distillery. The plant, located across Main Street from the Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory, will offer tours and tastings when it opens later this year.

Heaven Hill Distilleries will convert its office building into an attraction including a working distillery, retail shop and tasting room. The $9.5 million Evan Williams Bourbon Experience is slated to become the eighth stop on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail when it opens this fall.

Louisville’s Main Street tourism district also includes such well-known attractions such as the Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft, the Muhammad Ali Museum and the Glassworks glass-blowing complex, all within walking distance of each other.