… And Other Attractions-Related Developments of Interest: For many in the U.S. inbound tourism industry, perhaps the best news they have heard since the coronavirus-driven global pandemic and its effective shutdown of international travel to the United States beginning some five months ago was the news that, beginning on August 24, museums and cultural institutions were finally be able to entertain New Yorkers and international visitors. New York City is, after all, the most popular U.S. destination for overseas visitors to America.
Most NYC museums have reopened or have announced reopening dates. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, for instance, reopened on August 29, and the American Museum of Natural History will reopen on September 9. The 9/11 Memorial Museum will reopen to the general public on September 12. Some museums have decided to hold off on reopening during a pandemic. The New York Hall of Science announced that it will stay closed until at least Spring 2021. The exhibits are hands-on, which museum officials say could cause an unsafe environment for children at this time.
Elsewhere, in destinations large and small and in one instance, outside the United States, the development of new attractions and facilities that are a part of the overall attractions component make for some interesting reading.
• Scheduled to open on September 15, the new Krispy Kreme store at Times Square, New York City—a 4,500-square-foot tourist attraction that has a glaze waterfall, a 24-hour street-side pickup window, exclusive merchandise and a doughnut-making theater that produces 4,560 doughnuts an hour—is just one part of the brand’s growing “doughnut ecosystem” in the city. The September opening is more than four months after an originally scheduled May launch date, which was scratched because of the COVID-19 virus. For many, the Krispy Kreme brand will be a new experience, although it has around 400 locations in the United States, with another 20 opening by the end of 2020. In total, there are 1,400 shops in 33 countries. It is part of JAB Holding, which also owns Keurig, Panera and Pret a Manger. For more information, visit here, or call 212.695.0428.
• Virtual Long-Haul Travel That Never Leaves the Ground: While the cost of a first class roundtrip ticket for a flight from Tokyo to New York City can sometimes cost more than $10,000—depending on time of departure, day of the week, etc.—it only costs a little more for than $60 to experience the same sensation of long-haul travel without ever even leaving the ground. Receiving a lot of attention recently is First Airlines, with its long-haul service to Hawaii, as well as to the USA and Europe without ever leaving the ground. While First Airlines is several years old and has been a steady success, its business began to spike as long-haul business travelers realized that—in the near-total shutdown of international travel during the global pandemic—they actually missed the experience. And since the journey is not that long, why not take along family? (In fact, bookings have doubled during the pandemic, the airline reports. So, a two-hour “flight” involves check-in, the usual instructions from flight attendants, takeoff and landing, inflight meals and drinks and video of the destination that one is supposedly going to visit. For more information, send your query to: [email protected], or call 03.6907.0981.
• The Games are on Display Full Time at New U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Museum: Though a much-anticipated earlier open had been the hope, which was dashed with the coronavirus-driven global pandemic, which effectively halted long-haul travel and visits public places that attracted large numbers of people, Colorado Springs has managed, nonetheless to open its U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Museum. As is the case with any travel attraction that opens during the era of COVID-19, visitors will be subject to all the protocols now in place to insure a clean and safe environment. In addition (and understandable), there will be an emphasis on accessibility. The museum features “inclusive” designs with a focus on making the experience available to people of all abilities. Every video display features an ASL translator at the bottom corner.
Just a sample of what else there is: visitors will be able to meet an athlete through an interactive display where one can ask a question into a microphone and a digital screen athlete will do their best to answer you; and for those who want to test your speed against Olympic sprinters, there is a track that virtually pits you against the best runners in the world. Standard ticket price is just under $25. For more information, visit https://usopm.org/ or call 719.497.1234.
• Meet Bruce the Moose from Clinton, Ontario (CA): The story of Bruce the Moose is brief but instructive, as it serves as a case study of how to create a tourist attraction with not very much of an infrastructure. What happened is that Willy’s Burger Bar in Clinton (about 50 miles north of London) Ontario, decided to flag visitors to the small town (est. population of 3,200) by building Bruce, a 10-foot tall, 8-foot long moose. With the local newspaper as a booster, Bruce has become widely known on the social media and has helped to generate tourist traffic where none existed before. Burger Bar owner Gillian Potter told the local newspaper that hopes Bruce will unveiling help stimulate business locally after many local shops were affected by COVID-19, adding ““Now that things are starting to open back up, it’ll be another reason for people to come out and come this way and hopefully help not only our town but help southwestern Ontario out.” Or more on #WillysBruceTheMoose, visit Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/willysburgerbar/) or call 59.606.0040.