As promised, here are updates from select exhibitors who were on hand at Monday's Discover America Day event.
Air Canada's leisure carrier will begin twice-weekly service from Toronto to Honolulu beginning Nov. 26, 2014. From gateways across Canada, also including Calgary and Vancouver, the airline offers 21 flights weekly to Hawaii destinations - Honolulu, Kona and Maui.
In addition, earlier this year, the expansion of the TSA Pre-Check included eligible customers of Air Canada who utilize printed boarding passes at the airport check-in desk or from the kiosk in the departure lobby, which helps expedite the screening program for passengers.
Plus, in the new year, the airline's North American fleet will be fully equipped with Wifi capabilities.
Detroit Metro CVB
I could be tempted to visit the city of Detroit in the next year, as the city is experiencing a renaissance of sorts despite the economic struggles. There is now more private investments being made there than there has been in decades amounting to "hundreds of millions of dollars," which means great new restaurants and retail opportunities. It is reportedly emerging as young and entrepreneurial (Google just opened an office there!), not to mention easily accessible from Ontario, an international hub, and a great place for sports fans.
Big investments are being made throughout Kissimmee. The Radisson Resort Orlando-Celebration recently completed a $10-million transformation. Also, hotels such as Sevilla Inn, Knights Inn Kissimmee and Baymont Inn & Suites, located in the Kissimmee East and Downtown Kissimmee area, are making investments of as much as $2 million. Plus, Park Inn by Radisson Resort & Convention Center, formerly known as Worldgate Resort and located minutes from Walt Disney World Resort, has renovated its 434 spacious sleeping rooms and is in the process of rejuvenating its meeting space and common areas.
The State of Texas continues to promote itself as a destination beyond the cowboy culture. From birding to architecture to culinary tourism and everything in between, this tourism hotspot is now welcoming even more visitors thanks to the recent opening of the Galveston cruise port. Travel trade professionals can stay updated with what's going on at texastraveltrade.com.
Trying to expand its image beyond That 70s Show and cheese, representatives of Wisconsin discussed that the variety of attractions within the State, from quaint historic and resort towns to its largest city, which happens to sit on one of the Great Lakes. Milwaukee, located along Lake Michigan, is known for its world-class festivals, Harley-Davidson roots (the global brand was founded here) and is called “Brew City” for its history with American brewery brands like Miller, Pabst, and Schlitz. A short drive south to Racine will take you to world-famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s largest residential and commercial buildings. Take some time to relax and explore the mansions of early 20th century industrialists in the resort town of Lake Geneva. Along the way, you’ll find specialty and boutique shops, one-of-a-kind galleries, urban malls and outlet stores. Southeastern Wisconsin is filled with old-world charm mixed with new world vigor.
Kennedy Space Center
Last summer, Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex opened the doors to the world’s most comprehensive and interactive attraction devoted to NASA’s 30-year Space Shuttle Program –Space Shuttle Atlantis. Of the three space-flown orbiters distributed by NASA to science centers and museums throughout the country, only Atlantis is the focal point of a $100 million, 90,000-square-foot attraction containing four multimedia and cinematic productions and more than 60 interactive experiences that invite guests to “be the astronaut” and to celebrate the people, passion and patriotism behind the shuttle program. Canadians are the attraction's number three international market.
Visit Orlando will be launching a new integrated marketing campaign in Ontario and Quebec this fall. The multifaceted campaign will include television, digital, radio, out of home, print advertising, promotions, publicity and tour operator partnerships. Historically, Visit Orlando campaigns have focused on the Ontario market, where a high percentage of Orlando’s Canadian visitors reside. Recognizing the growth potential and interest from Quebec consumers, Visit Orlando will continue on its expansion from 2013 with a targeted advertising campaign in Quebec and will once again run French Canadian advertising on Quebec television, radio and online. The expanded efforts in Quebec are in addition to longstanding programs and partnerships with travel trade partners and publicity efforts that target the entire country.
The Ontario campaign, beginning Oct. 20 and running through Dec. 28, will drive consumers to VisitOrlando.ca, offering detailed information for itinerary planning, links to tour operator partners and Deals Made for Canadians – offers developed specifically for the Canada market. The Quebec campaign, kicking off Oct. 20 and concluding Nov. 30, will drive to a refreshed French Canadian site at VisitOrlando.com/quebec, offering tailored information for Quebec travellers.
The State of Massachusetts remains near and dear to me as it was a visit to Western Mass that marked my first ever press trip. There's plenty of news coming from this nearby destination, including more than 1,000 new hotel rooms coming online in downtown Boston, thanks to growing conventions business. Representatives continue to share the message of its diverse appeal for girlfriend getaways, family vacations, action and adventure, and more.
State of Illinois
As the craft beer scene continues to explode across the U.S., Illinois is part of the trend with more than 1,000 breweries across the state. They welcomed nearly 2.2 million international visitors in 2013, up three per cent from the year prior. Canada remains among the top markets, in addition to Mexico, the U.K., China and Germany. Visitors to the State spent nearly $34.6 billion last year.