In what its president and CEO, Christopher Thompson, described as “one of those things” in which the agency can “create new opportunities as a result of our trade development efforts,” Brand USA last week announced at the organization is launch a Brand USA Travel Week in September 2019 that will include a three-day trade show in London.
Cathy Domanico, vice president, global trade development, Brand USA, made the announcement during the organization’s board of directors meeting in Washington, D.C.
The idea “first came up in roundtable discussions in 2016” and gained currency at subsequent discussions, Domanico said, explaining that the new trade show in London, which will include buyers from throughout Europe, will have three components:
- A hosted buyer program for 200 of the top European travel buyers: “Because it is invitation only we get to control the level and quality of the tour operators who will be meeting with U.S. suppliers.”
“We’re also going to open it up to 300 U.S. suppliers across all sectors of the travel industry,” she added. “During the three-day event, there will be 44 pre-arranged meetings that will be scheduled through an interactive electronic appointment system.”
- There will be a focus on leadership and education. Said Domanico: “We plan to create an engaging speaker and seminar series that will be offered throughout the three days. If buyers and suppliers are not in an appointment, they’re really going to be encouraged to attend one of the seminars. Topics will vary.”
- The event will also provide innovative networking events to provide opportunities in which individuals will come- face-to-face with industry leaders
In the future, the event will include a media component, travel agent component and a “really robust” consumer. After the 2019, the event will move on to Year other locations in Europe, said We would like to go global with this as well
Last Year’s Arrival Data to Show a Creep Upward: In her report to the Brand USA board meeting, Carroll Rheem, the agency’s vice president, research and analytics, had some encouraging news. She said that the U.S. National Travel and Tourism Office (NTTO), which has temporarily suspended the publication of overseas arrivals data due to data anomalies in records received from U.S. Customs and Border Protection, is expected to report growth of approximately 2 percent for 2017. Previously, she noted, year-to-date numbers through September was put at minus 6 percent.
Despite growth, Rheem pointed out, the USA lost substantial market share of the global long-haul air traffic market and that next year is expected to present a consistently, if not more, challenging environment due to a strong U.S. dollar, heightened political sensitivity and market uncertainty due to escalating tariffs and trade tensions overall.