Flush with the security it received via its five-year Congressional re-authorization three months ago, Brand USA and its presence at Messe Berlin Expo Center City made for a ready hub for discussion and for tips and leads on anything having to do with the Visit USA business. Tom Garzilli, Brand USA’s senior vice president, global partner marketing, spoke with INBOUND and furnished updates on what, of note, the agency is doing to increase traffic to America.
First, he indicated that Brand USA was not going to react with tactical measures to currency fluctuations that were beyond their control and could well change once again. That said, it is set to implement plans similar to those of 2014 when they were able to measure strong key performance indicators and ROI.
Second, the 2015 Mega Fam 2 for the UK trade later this spring will provide more exposure for destinations beyond the gateways. The fam trip for travel agents, which is being conducted in partnership with British Airways and American Airlines, will be visiting many second- and third-tier destinations. It will visit 22 states, 12 of which have not previously been included in the Mega Fam itineraries.
Third, the release of a giant screen movie featuring U.S. National Parks is in the works. The finished product should be ready, Garzilli told the March 12 meeting of the Brand USA board of directors in time for a showing at the annual international conference and trade show of the Giant Screen Cinema Association (GSCA) in September in San Francisco. Brand USA plans to use the occasion to sign up giant screen theater owners to show the film, which should be ready for consumer viewing by January of next year 2016. The National Park Service, which was created by Congress on August 25, 1916, will be observing its centennial throughout the year. Garzilli was enthusiastic about the big screen movie’s chances for impact, explaining that the giant screen market, (which includes IMAX theaters as well as theatres in education venues such as museums) is growing internationally, especially in China, which is on track to become the number one overseas source market for inbound tourism to the United States in 2019.