Brand USA is Back … Live & In Person
And Better, as Travel Week Europe and Global Market Place Establish Their Presence
It was clearly a mood that suggested relief as much as it did rejoicing—for the first time in more than a year-and-a-half, the Brand USA board of directors conducted a live, face-to-face meeting last Wednesday in Washington, D.C, where the organization is headquartered. The meeting’s agenda showed that Brand USA, which had been operating in a limbo-like state of readiness, was indeed now operating in a post-pandemic mindset. Underscoring the point were the half-dozen new hires who were on hand the night before the meeting to meet board members.
While the session was only a little longer than most of the board’s meetings, it nonetheless packed a lot of updates into its schedule, mostly from Tom Garzilli, its chief marketing officer, who walked everyone through a presentation of some 50 minutes that came across as a tight, concise 101 international marketing class for inbound travel and tourism industry professionals.
One surprise that came out of all Garzilli had to say is that the organization’s Brand USA Travel Week held October 25-28 in London, which brought a select group of European buyers of Visit USA travel product together, proved to be a resounding success. The event, held for the second time (after the original second edition was scratched due to the global pandemic) pulled enough U.S. travel suppliers—mostly DMOs—to make the trip to London. This was just a week out from the mega-trade show World Travel Market, held Nov. 1-3, 2021, also in London. And it followed Sept. 18-22 IPW—the top industry show on the Visit USA international travel market circuit, in which Brand USA, plays a key role.
Brand USA Travel Week by the numbers:
—12 enrichment sessions featuring 38 speakers
—Over 300 exhibitors from 95 organizations
—85 percent of the exhibitors were destinations
—More than 130 buyers from 13 countries, representing 20 markets
—Networking opportunities–“This time around, those were really important because people were so happy to see one another,” said Garzilli.
Also a hit for those who had the occasion to attend its sessions was a C-Suite Collection of meeting which came together in the last two weeks before Travel Week itself, with a focus on the media professionals who attended the event.
Some C-Suite numbers:
—40 key media
“We didn’t get 100 percent of all the buyers that were available to us, but if we had, we probably would not get that much higher than 155-160,” explained Garzilli. “But the size of the buyer market is pretty finite. And we are very much in engaged with who they are and how to make them more engaged with the breadth of our product. They were as familiar coming to the Travel Week as our exhibitors were, and they were very happy.” Overall, as the following numbers show, it seems to have gone over well with most attendees.
Brand USA Travel Week Survey Feedback
● 100 percent of exhibitors and 96 percent of buyer respondents agreed that the event helped them achieve their goals.
● 100 percent of exhibitors and 97 percent of buyer respondents were satisfied with Brand USA Travel Week Europe 2021.
● 100 percent of exhibitors and 68 percent of buyers rated the quality of meetings as “good” or “very good.”
Garzilli said that Brand USA is getting ready to finalize the dates for the next Travel Week in the autumn of 2022 in Frankfort. The show will take place every other year in London.
As an aside, he noted that the all of the above was handled by a staff contingent that was half its size vs. the number who were with the organization when it put on the first Brand USA Travel Week
“We have to find a way to do a virtual Travel Week.” So said Garzilli as he pointed to the apparent success of Brand USA’s Global Marketplace, a virtual, ongoing trade show with all the bells, whistles and other features that travel and tourism professionals have come to expect. He said that the organization realized, “we have to keep the lights on for all of our partners.”
He added, “We didn’t do it just to use a platform. We had to own a platform. And have a platform. And that’s what this became/ This is our virtual marketplace.” To use it between IPWs and Travel Weeks and IPWs.”
Built and launched in about three months, in October of 2020, the Global Marketplace gives Brand USA “gives us ability to use a virtual training program for industry employees, and to train members of organizations who are members” of Brand USA.
Since then, it has facilitated more than 5,000 one-on-one meetings, hosted more than 3,000 event attendees and served partners in 29 countries. For more on the Brand USA Global Marketplace, visit https://www.thebrandusa.com/programs/brand-usa-global-marketplace.
To see the Brand USA board meeting’s presentation, click here.
Why Wait for a Blue Monday in January?
Brits not waiting for January 17th to book their holidays. “The third Monday in January (or Blue Monday) is a date often touted as harboring particularly low spirits in the UK, as Christmas spending, short days and cold temperatures dent British cheer.” So says a post on the website of London-based Simplexity Travel Management, explaining, “but the time is also known as an important yearly turning point in the travel industry. The idea is that the third week of January marks the point when fed up holiday-makers have had enough of the UK’s cold weather and start booking spring and summer vacations.”
In ordinary years, such an assessment might have a following, but as 2021 rolls in 2022, it has little meaning for scores of thousands of Britons who are already celebrating and booking flights and packages in recognition of the reopening of long-haul travel and, specifically, travel to the warmth of Central Florida.
It has been a challenge for INBOUND and for other journals that follow and cover the business of inbound travel to the United States from the United Kingdom, which is the largest overseas source market for international travelers from the UK. The reason is that consumers simply did not want to wait another day, another month or another season of leisure travel, which they have been unable to enjoy for more than a year-and-a-half, due to the global pandemic wrought by the COVID-19 virus, which brought travel to a crunching halt.
And now we are experiencing a hectic recovery. But as hectic as it has been since the lifting of the de facto travel ban to the United States for COVID-vaccinated travelers from the UK, most of the EU and some other countries, it could have been less manageable had the U.S. government simply ended the ban on September 20th, when it was first announced. The seven-week period from then to November 8th gave airlines the opportunity to re-start familiar routes and reactivate staff, and for others in the distribute chain time to update their itineraries and have staff in place to handle calls as well as face-to-face and in-store meetings with clients.
The seven-week interregnum from Sept 20 to Nov. 8 also enabled U.S. travel suppliers time to “re-up” staff and have old and new tour guides and other support personnel in place. It has been obvious, however, that the travel and tourism industry, is sorely in need of additional employees as it deals with this recovery.
The numbers tell us that it doesn’t look like it’s going to cool off for a while. Why? First, and something we all witnessed throughout the darkest days of the pandemic is survey after survey showed that, even when there were declines among those Brits who intended to travel, Brits stubbornly held to the conviction that there just might be time to take a holiday this year and, if not, perhaps early next year.
The return of travel has only further whetted their thirst for travel. And for many Brits, a USA holiday seems to be just the right tonic. Consider the following findings from several recent UK surveys.
● According to new research from ABTA, the UK travel trade association:
—Pent-up demand makes US second most popular destination among Brits
—Nearly one in five (18 percent) Brits planning to travel abroad in the next 12 months want to visit the U.S., according to ABTA research.
—The U.S. was the second most-popular destination among Brits before the pandemic, but was overtaken last year by France, when the US borders were closed. Spain remains number one for Brits.
—Said ABTA Chief Executive Mark Tanzer: “British holidaymakers are now able to enjoy a long-anticipated break in the USA again. The reopening of travel to the U.S. is a very welcome development.” He added, “The USA is currently the second most popular destination on holidaymakers’ wish list for the next year. Pre-pandemic figures show that 4.8 million UK travelers visited the destination in 2019.”
● A Travel Weekly article that focused on U.S. tour operators who specialize in U.S. product reported continued strong forward and short-term demand.
●On the Monday before last, reported Olly Brendon, chief executive of ATD Travel Services, bookings were 40 percent higher than average for November as travel to the US restarted, with Orlando and the West Coast particularly strong.
● Ocean Holidays co-chief executive Harry Hastings said inquiries were up 20 percent week-on-week following a sharp upturn in October, when business returned to pre-pandemic levels.
● Nick Hughes sales director of Gold Medal, told Travel Weekly that U.S. sales had largely driven the company’s strongest sales month since the start of the pandemic in October. He indicated that said the majority of US bookings were for 2022 but there were “a lot of enquires” from agents for December travel and Christmas breaks.
—He added, “Florida has regained its top spot as our most in-demand destination, with the majority of bookings for travel next summer – although so far in November, we’re also receiving a lot of enquiries from agents whose customers want to get over the pond in December. Christmas shopping breaks are doing really well.”
● The Advantage Travel Partnership said both leisure and business bookings to the U.S. had increased.
● New research from Holiday Extras found that the United States is the long-haul destination topping the bucket lists of British travelers. When asked which long haul destination travelers would like to return to first:
—Almost a quarter (23 percent) of Britons put the United States over trips to The Caribbean (14 percent), The Maldives (13 percent), Australia (11 percent) and New Zealand (7%).
—New York City (14 percent) also topped the list of cities holidaymakers missed traveling to the most while restrictions were in place, beating popular European destinations including Paris (13 percent), Barcelona (10 percent) and Rome (9 percent).
—Holiday Extras’ own booking data confirms the results, as the US is currently its second most booked destination – highlighting the pent-up demand to go stateside that has been building whilst borders were closed.
● Over the past weekend, the TTG Travel Agent Tracker showed that more than 99 percent of agents received new holiday enquiries during the previous two weeks– the highest level since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.
—Virtually all agents said they had received at least one enquiry during the two weeks to 12 November, a record high since the Tracker was first launched in April 2020.
—Some 59 percent of agents said they had received enquiries for the U.S. and Canada … up from 55 percent from in the previous Tracker survey, region ranking only behind the Mediterranean in popularity.
USA,Hier Kommen Wir!
USA, here we come! Lifting of Travel Ban this month cheers German travel trade.
Timing is everything. For those who follow the key index on the retail side of the tourism business in Germany—it has been the only readily available measure since the outbreak of the pandemic crisis—the monotonous tally of anemic numbers was as painful as a visit to a dentist to have a tooth pulled.
Then, on September 20th, the U.S. government announced that, beginning November 8, the ban on travel to the USA from the UK, most EU nations and some other countries was being lifted.
The month of October triggered a spending spree for long-haul travel to the United States—it is the number two overseas source market for visitors to the U.S., behind only the UK—and, more important for the overall tourism industry, it helped increase travel within Europe and short-haul international traffic as well.
The total invoiced turnover of the travel agencies recorded in the “ta.ts Reisebürospiegel” (or ta.ts* Travel Agency Mirror) was up 389.6 percent in October 2021 compared to the same month of 2020. Compared to the very strong year of October 2019, total invoiced revenue was down 49.6 percent. The rest of the figures that follow, as well as the bar chart below, are a statistical measure of how much Germans had longed to travel abroad during the 20-month reign of the pandemic, which is still not over.
|Sign of industry recovery in Germany: Lufthansa announced the week before last that it has finally finished returning all the financial aid that the German government had given it early in the pandemic, much sooner than it had planned. The government of outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel contributed 6 billion euros ($6.8 billion) to the Lufthansa group for its recapitalization, just as the pandemic crisis began. Later, it granted a loan of 3,000 million euros ($3.4 billion) with the same purpose in mind.|
—Billed tourism turnover for October showed an increase of 334.8 percent compared to 2020. Compared to October 2019, the billed tourism turnover is down much less—minus 40.6% percent
—Air traffic revenue was up 837.1 for the month compared to 2020. As of October 2019, revenue in air traffic was down 58.4 percent.
—“Other” revenues in October 2021 vs. 2020 were up 127.5 percent and down 43.4 percent vs. 2019, respectively.
—The number of tickets was up 450.1 percent compared to October 2020 and minus 59.3 when compared to October 2019.
—Revenue from the Cruises tourism division was up 508.8 percent in October compared to 2020 and down 49.0 percent compared to October 2019.
—Cumulatively, the total invoiced travel agency turnover in the months from January to October was plus 5.5 percent compared to 2020. For the same period in 2019, cumulative invoiced travel agency revenue was minus 74.2 percent.
—Tourism experienced an increase of 11.0 percent compared to 2020 and minus 71.6 percent compared to 2019. Air traffic recorded an increase of 0.1 percent vs. 2020 and a decline of 79.5 percent when measured against 2019.
—“Other” revenues show an increase of 4.6 percent compared to 2020 and a minus of 59.1 percent compared to 2019.
—The number of tickets is down 18.1 percent compared to 2020 and down 78.8 percent compared to 2019.
—The sub-segment of cruises recorded a cumulative minus of 11.7 percent compared to 2020 and a minus of 75.9 percent compared to 2019.
*Travel Agency Technologies & Services is a Frankfurt-based company that specializes data and technology management, as well as accounting services.
Survey—Four out of five Germans want to travel in 2022: Results of a recent survey* of Germans conducted by Amadeus suggest that the desire to travel is strong. Some specific survey findings include the following:
—81 percent of Germans want to travel next year.
—European destinations comprise the top choice, as 62 percent prefer a vacation in Europe.
—91 percent of the respondents would be willing to provide personal information and health data for the use of the digital health passport.
—Many travel restrictions are still problematic, as they cause irritation among vacationers. Around a third of those surveyed (34 percent) think that the current international travel restrictions and guidelines are confusing and unclear. And that keeps them from booking a trip.
—Travelers have almost no problems with sharing their health data. 91 percent of those surveyed would be willing to provide personal information and health data for the use of the digital health passport.
—The COVID-19 virus continues to cause certain fears among potential vacationers. The greatest concern of German travelers is the possibility of self-isolation or quarantine before and after the trip. This scares 39 percent of those surveyed.
—Next on the list of concerns about changes are travel restrictions that lead to last-minute cancellations (38 percent).
—In addition, the fear of non-reimbursement of payments made caused 37 percent of those surveyed to be reluctant to book.
—Only four percent of the respondents from the Amadeus study are completely free of fear and worry when it comes to traveling in times of COVID.
Amadeus also asked which technology would increase confidence in travel again. Automated and flexible cancellation guidelines would be important for 42 percent of those surveyed. 41 percent would like mobile applications that offer notifications and warnings while traveling. 40 percent would find an app to store digital health data useful.
* For its “Rebuild Travel” survey, Amadeus asked 1,000 citizens in Germany who had traveled abroad in the last 18 months.
And this, from German travel trade publication FVW/TravelTalk: “German travel demand “will go back to the future” … Germans will return to their traditional tourism behavior and choice of destinations once the pandemic ebbs sufficiently to allow international travel to resume ‘normally’ again worldwide, according to a leading tourism researcher. Read more here.
France Poised for Restart, Recovery
Country’s visitor arrivals in USA A Set a Record in 2019
Much of the travel trade press attention on the re-opening of U.S. borders to visitors from Europe beginning November 8th has focused on the UK—understandably so, since the latter is the number one overseas source market for travelers coming to the United States.
But watch out for the French visitors. At, in or near the top ten overseas source markets for inbound travel to the USA, the country as a market set a record in 2019 for the number of visitors it sent to the United States for one year. Then came the end of the first quarter in 2020 and a virtual halt to visitor traffic to America.
Outlook, in Brief: Perhaps the tourism industry in France has fared better than other countries because of the financial assistance it afforded its employees and owners. One indication is that France’s population was is in a better position than others as destinations abroad opened up. Recent coverage of the industry indicates that French travelers were inclined to travel as never before—to favored European, Mediterranean and short-haul destinations. And yes, they are just as likely to visit the USA in strong numbers.
Arrivals in USA
|Year||Number of Arrivals||% Change from previous year|
What the Current Data Show Us: We took a look at recent data provided by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Travel and Tourism Office (NTTO), focusing on its market update for France. What one learns is that, for 2020, some familiar destinations and activities stand to benefit for a resurgent French market. For example:
—More than three quarters of French visitors come to America for either a vacation/holiday or for VFR purposes.
—French travelers still value personal recommendations (27 percent) as an information source for making a travel selection.
—However, more than half (53 percent) rely on airlines for information, while OTAs (28.6 percent) and brick-and-mortar travel agencies are preferred by about 12 percent of travelers.
—More than a third (38 percent like to visit are galleries or museums; another 18.4 percent like to see historical locations; and
—Nearly half (47.6 percent) of French visitors coming to the U.S. want to visit our national parks and monuments.
More than three out of every four visitors to the USA from France arrive via New York & Newark, Miami, Los Angeles, San Francisco or Atlanta.
—And, of course, shopping is big for visitors from a country that invented haute couture
Top Ports of Entry for Visitors from France to the USA
|Port of Entry||Share of Arrivals to U.S. from France|
|1. New York & Newark||33.6%|
|3. Los Angeles||14.2|
|4. San Francisco||6.4%|
|Share of Above Ports of Entry of Total||77.1%|
(In Millions of U.S. Dollars)
|Total Travel & Tourism Receipts*||$3,403||$3,052||$4,579||$5,854||$5,441||$5,472||$5,830||$5,975||$1,237|
|Passenger Air Transportation||$558||$694||$807||$1,087||$1,055||$1,072||$1,242||$1,226||$272|
|% Change vs. Previous Year||+6%||+12%||+12%||+2%||-7%||+1%||+7%||+2%||-79%|
* In millions of U.S. dollars
Note: Total Travel & Tourism Exports = travel receipts (purchase of travel and tourism-related goods and services, to include food, lodging, recreation, gifts, entertainment, local transportation in the country of travel, and other items incident to a U.S. visit) + passenger fare receipts (fares paid by foreign residents to U.S. air carriers for travel from foreign countries to the United States). All traveler spending data are subject to periodic, annual, and decennial revisions. BEA releases data for various countries and various categories across three release dates throughout the year. The March release provides travel export estimates for only the largest export countries and for only the “Travel Receipts” category. NTTO estimates Passenger Air Transportation in order to provide a total travel and tourism export estimate prior to October of the current year, when that estimate otherwise would be released. All NTTO estimates are supplanted by the BEA October official release, and previously-released BEA estimates may be revised.
Trip Purpose—Main Purpose
|Business||– – –||– – –||– – –||12.2||11.0||12.3||13.5||12.0||13.1|
|Business/Professional||34.5||27.0||14.3||– – –||– – –||– – –||– – –||– – –||– – –|
|Education||– – –||– – –||– – –||2.2||2.7||3.3||3.3||2.3||2.2|
|Study/Teaching||1.9||1.7||3.2||– – –||– – –||– – –||– – –||– – –||– – –|
|Vacation/Holiday||– – –||– – –||– – –||62.6||59.4||60.9||59.9||65.3||58.2|
|Leisure/Recreation/ Holidays||38.7||42.7||59.1||– – –||– – –||– – –||– – –||– – –||– – –|
* One Response (Percentage of Respondents)
Information Sources Used for Trip
|% of Respondents||2000||2005||2010||2015||2016||2017||2018||2019||2020|
|Corporate Travel Department||10.1||10.6||7.6||12.3||10.5||13.1||13.0||12.2||14.6|
|In-flight Information Systems||0.4||1.3||0.6||– – –||– – –||– – –||– – –||– – –||– – –|
|Newspapers/Magazines||1.5||3.0||1.5||– – –||– – –||– – –||– – –||– – –||– – –|
|Personal Recommendation||– – –||– – –||– – –||24.5||31.8||26.5||29.8||29.9||26.7|
|Friends/Relatives||12.7||8.7||13.1||– – –||– – –||– – –||– – –||– – –||– – –|
|Travel Agency (Online)||– – –||– – –||– – –||31.7||30.6||30.6||29.6||29.3||28.6|
|Travel Agency (Office)||– – –||– – –||– – –||16.4||14.9||13.9||13.1||11.9||11.9|
|Travel Agency||56.3||40.8||27.6||– – –||– – –||– – –||– – –||– – –||– – –|
|Travel Office (National/State/City)||– – –||– – –||– – –||4.5||5.8||5.5||7.8||6.4||5.2|
|National Gov’t Tourist Office||1.6||0.7||1.7||– – –||– – –||– – –||– – –||– – –||– – –|
|State/City Travel Office||1.4||1.7||1.0||– – –||– – –||– – –||– – –||– – –||– – –|
|Personal Computer||17.2||36.7||50.2||– – –||– – –||– – –||– – –||– – –||– – –|
|Tour Operator/Travel Club||– – –||– – –||– – –||6.9||6.7||5.6||4.2||5.0||4.5|
|Tour Company||4.5||3.3||2.7||– – –||– – –||– – –||– – –||– – –||– – –|
|TV/Radio||1.6||0.9||0.8||– – –||– – –||– – –||– – –||– – –||– – –|
|Other||– – –||– – –||– – –||4.5||5.7||4.6||5.4||6.2||7.6|
* One Response (Percentage of Respondents)
Activity Participation Part One
|% of Respondents||2000||2005||2010||2015||2016||2017||2018||2019||2020|
|American Indian Communities||7.3||7.0||5.9||9.3||8.2||9.0||10.8||9.4||6.0|
|Cruises (see note below)||3.5||4.3||6.2||– – –||– – –||– – –||– – –||– – –||– – –|
|Cultural / Ethnic Heritage Sites||– – –||– – –||– – –||20.6||18.8||20.4||21.2||19.7||14.8|
|Cultural Heritage Sites||23.6||27.2||37.1||– – –||– – –||– – –||– – –||– – –||– – –|
|Ethnic Heritage Sites||6.0||5.8||8.8||– – –||– – –||– – –||– – –||– – –||– – –|
|Dining (Experience Fine)||– – –||– – –||– – –||46.5||27.7||21.4||18.4||19.0||22.3|
|Dining in Restaurants||85.3||80.8||80.7||– – –||– – –||– – –||– – –||– – –||– – –|
|Historical Locations||– – –||– – –||– – –||30.1||29.8||29.7||28.1||30.8||18.4|
|Historical Places||38.7||46.0||54.6||– – –||– – –||– – –||– – –||– – –||– – –|
Notes: “Cruises” was removed as an activity type in 2012, but was added as a transportation type (“Cruise Ship/River Boar 1+ Nights”)
Activity Participation Part Two
|% of Respondents||2000||2005||2010||2015||2016||2017||2018||2019||2020|
|National Parks/Monuments||– – –||– – –||– – –||48.2||50.2||49.6||50.6||49.0||47.6|
|National Parks||26.7||24.2||30.9||– – –||– – –||– – –||– – –||– – –||– – –|
|Ranch Vacations||1.0||0.8||0.7||– – –||– – –||– – –||– – –||– – –||– – –|
|Sightseeing||– – –||– – –||– – –||77.7||78.3||74.6||75.0||75.6||68.1|
|Sightseeing in Cities||49.0||49.0||55.0||– – –||– – –||– – –||– – –||– – –||– – –|
|Touring Countryside||23.3||22.3||17.1||– – –||– – –||– – –||– – –||– – –||– – –|
|Snow Sports||– – –||– – –||– – –||0.9||0.7||0.6||0.4||0.4||3.4|
|Snow Skiing||1.2||1.3||1.1||– – –||– – –||– – –||– – –||– – –||– – –|
|Sporting Event||– – –||– – –||– – –||11.8||11.4||10.1||13.7||12.0||16.2|
|Attend Sporting Event||5.0||8.4||6.9||– – –||– – –||– – –||– – –||– – –||– – –|
|Water Sports||– – –||– – –||– – –||8.4||6.9||7.7||8.4||6.2||5.8|
|Water Sports/Sunbathing||17.1||18.6||17.1||– – –||– – –||– – –||– – –||– – –||– – –|
|Other||– – –||– – –||– – –||2.7||1.2||0.6||0.5||2.1||2.4|
INBOUND’s Inside Tip: French visitors seem to have a special fondness for a unique U.S. product—its music and, in particular, music with a uniquely African American signature. Just take one of the tours of New York City offered by Harlem Spirituals, which has been marketing its tours of Harlem and other parts of the city for more than three decades, with a special emphasis on gospel music. A large portion of its visitors are from France, and most of its guides speak French. We tried its basic tour twice and found that the many French visitors on the tour bus were likely to know about the famous African-American poet, Langston Hughes (1901-1967), whose ashes are buried beneath the lobby area of the New York Public Library’s Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem at 515 Malcom X Boulevard. Tours also include a brief stop at the world-famous Apollo Theatre at West 125th Street in Harlem.
Click here for NTTO tables on all major country markets.
A final note: Those interested can access the phone numbers and e-mail addresses of the NTTO team of analysts here: https://www.trade.gov/travel-and-tourism-research-team/
Drawn from the current edition of TourOperatorLand The Magazine is the following sampler of new developments and products in key USA destinations. More to be found at: www.touroperatorland.com.
● Today, Union Station in Saint Louis is a balance of nostalgia and renovation. The stylish and sophisticated Grand Hall features elegant historic touches like the original terrazzo floor, green glazed terracotta bricks, stained glass windows and wooden carpentry detailing. (www.touroperatorland.com)
The Moonshine Tour at Tennessee Shine Co. (www.tnshineco.com) Learn the history of moonshine, how it ties into NASCAR, and how it’s made at TN Shine Company. Guests 21+ can hand out after the tour for free moonshine, whiskey and wine tastings!
In the Shasta Cascade region of California, a hidden gem, Lassen Volcanic National Park, is the best kept secret in the national park system. Lassen offers scenery reminiscent of Yosemite and geothermal wonders similar to Yellowstone and it’s the only place on earth where all four types of volcanoes are found in one concentrated area. (https://www.shastacascade.com/account/lassen-volcanic-national-park)
Baton Rouge’s newest attraction opened in April 2021. Blue Zoo is an interactive aquarium located in the Mall of Louisiana. It boasts aquatic life with an emphasis on education, fun and interactive experiences, with an opportunity to learn about animals from all over the world. A great way to combine fun and shopping. https://batonrouge.bluezoo.us/
Currently in the final stages of construction and preparation of a new building in Birmingham is the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame, which pays tribute to jazz legends with Alabama ties. Interactive exhibits recall the contributions of Nat King Cole, Duke Ellington, Lionel Hampton, and Sun Ra and His Intergalactic Space Arkestra. Clarence “Pinetop” Smith and Erskine Hawkins also are immortalized in this impressive musical showcase. (https://jazzhall.com/)
HODGE PODGE: Appointments, Openings and Changes
Alice Norsworthy, chief marketing officer for Universal Parks & Resorts, has been elected chair of the board of directors of Brand USA. She succeeds Kyle Edmiston, president and CEO of the Lake Charles/Southwest Louisiana Convention & Visitors Bureau. The action took place at last week’s board meeting in Washington, D.C. Norsworthy is responsible for the oversight of Universal Orlando’s Marketing and Sales divisions and reports to Tom Williams, chairman and chief executive officer for Universal Parks & Resorts. Norsworthy has been recognized by Advertising Age as one of America’s Top 50 marketers, “who broke through the clutter and delivered real impact (and ROI) for their brands.” She has also been named one of the 100 Most Powerful Women in Travel three times by Travel Agent Magazine.
The venerable Ron Kuhlman, vice president of tourism marketing and sales for the Virginia Beach Convention & Visitors Bureau, has announced that he will be retiring on February 1, 2022. “It’s been a great run surrounded by talented and dedicated staff who made the job enjoyable, said Kuhlman, who announced the move to friends and colleagues in a social media post, adding, “I will miss everyone I worked with and wish everyone well!” Kuhlman joined the bureau in 1991. Previously, he held senior sales and marketing positions with Discover the World Marketing in Scottsdale, Arizona; the Greater New Orleans Tourist & Convention Commission; and US Airways.
The Arkansas Parks and Tourism Department has announced that economic development official Katherine Andrews will lead the newly created Arkansas Office of Outdoor Recreation. Gov. Asa Hutchinson established the office by executive order in June. Andrews has worked for the Arkansas Economic Development Commission since 2016, most recently serving as director of small business and entrepreneurship development. She was previously a project manager at the commission and has worked in commercial real estate.
Felipe Garcia has been named interim president and CEO of Visit Tucson, taking over for Brent DeRaad, who recently resigned from the post to take over as head of the Arlington (Texas) convention and visitors bureau. Garcia has worked at Visit Tucson for 17 years, and was executive vice president for the last nine.
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz has appointed Lauren Bennett McGinty as the new director of Explore Minnesota Tourism. Bennett McGinty replaces former director John Edman, who retired in June after holding the job for more than two decades under four governors. For the last decade, Bennett McGinty worked in various roles with Minnesota nonprofits, most recently as executive director of the Minnesota Craft Brewers Guild. In that position she directed strategic planning, marketing and events for more than 160 breweries.
Tour operator Gold Medal has appointed Simon Applebaum as its new managing director, replacing Lisa McAuley who is departing after taking a majority stake in Silver Travel Advisor. Applebaum joins the company from a health & technology business. He previously held senior roles at Thomas Cook and Attraction World Group, where he was managing director of Attraction World until 2018 and Days out with the Kids until 2020.
Melissa McClure has joined the team at Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau as global tourism sales manager. McClure, well known in the Washington, D.C. area tourism industry as destination sales manager, domestic & international leisure tour for Visit Fairfax—not far from our nation’s capital—has also served tenures for such brands as The DMC Group and the Seward (Alaska) Chamber of Commerce.
Visit Dallas has tapped Jennifer Walker as its new chief marketing officer. A veteran of nearly 20 years in the travel and tourism industry, Walker comes to her new job having previously served in senior-level positions at Visit California, Visit Santa Barbara and Visit Austin
Jeremy Palmer has been promoted by Tauck to the post of chief operating officer. He was most recently as a senior vice president overseeing the U.S. company’s worldwide operations, brand management, strategic planning and new business initiatives. He has worked for operator since 2007 in operational and planning roles. Palmer has also been a member of the company’s executive team since 2015.
Steven Guilbeault is the new federal minister responsible for Parks Canada and Banff National Park. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau recently appointed Quebec’s Guilbeault as federal minister of environment and climate change. A well-known political activist in Canada, Guilbeault once scaled the CN Tower in Toronto in 2001 to protest Canada’s lack of action on climate change. In 1993, Guilbeault co-founded Équiterre, the largest environmental organization in Quebec, and served as its senior director from 2008 to 2018. He was elected an MP in 2019.
Hawaiian Airlines has announced the appointment of Ashlee Kishimoto, Hawaiian’s managing director of human resources operations since 2018, to managing director of investor relations. Kishimoto, who previously headed the investor relations department between 2013 and 2017, will be responsible for managing Hawaiian’s communication with investors and other financial stakeholders.
Jaime Bricker has been named tourism director for Skagway, Alaska. A Skagway Traditional Council president and school board member, Bricker has worked at White Pass and Yukon Route Railroad for nearly fifteen years. She’s leaving the railroad as director of public relations.
One of the UK’s largest travel agencies, Barrhead Travel, has promoted its public relations and communications manager Karen Musgrave to the newly created role of head of public relations and communications. She joined Barrhead Travel seven years ago at the age of 22 as a marketing executive, before being promoted to PR and communications manager. In 2019, Musgrave became responsible for the UK PR of parent company, Internova Travel Group, which she will continue in her new role.
Lisa Tully-Lavian has been named senior vice president of marketing for the Denver-based proptech company Sentral, which focuses on the way people work, travel and live. She most recently served as the executive vice president of marketing at Highgate where she oversaw all aspects of the organization’s marketing, corporate communications, digital presence, and brand development. Earlier in her career, Lisa led marketing, customer research, acquisition, and ecommerce efforts for Departures Magazine, American Express and S&P Global.
Mario Pérez has been named as the new commercial director of Spanish tour operator Tour10. A 15-year veteran of the tourism business, Pérez was previously sales director of Smyrooms (Logitravel), a position. Prior to that, he was linked to Traveltino and to the Viajes Olympia His mission at Tour10 will consist mainly of finding new business opportunities, developing, coordinating and implementing business plans and expanding the company’s presence in the market.
UK tourism industry veteran Chris Agbaosi has been appointed to the position of partnerships administrator for the G Travel Group. It is a new role created to support travel agents. Mr Agbaosi will become the first point of contact for all agent enquiries. His responsibilities will be varied, said the company, but include responding to agent queries, providing product advice, organizing brochure supplies and marketing material plus managing the dedicated agents’ Facebook page. Mr Agbaosi will work across all three brands – Just Go! Holidays, National Holidays and Omega Breaks and report directly to trade sales manager Claire Dutton.
The global travel agency CWT—it is the 5th largest agency on the Travel Weekly Power List—has appointed Nick Vournakis as executive vide president and chief customer officer, and Derek Sharp as executive vice president and chief traveler experience officer. Both positions will report to Michelle McKinney Frymire and serve as a members of the company’s Executive Leadership Team. Immediately prior to this appointment, Vournakis was managing director, global customer development, before which he was President, US Military & Government. Vournakis joined CWT in January 2000 and his other senior roles in the company have included responsibility for North American Air Solutions, and managing CWT’s Canadian operations. Before this promotion, Sharp was chief operating officer for RoomIt, CWT’s global hotel platform. He also ran CWT Meetings & Events. He spent eight years at Travelport in various senior management, strategy and consulting positions, as he has with HP Enterprise Services, EDS, UPS and Bain & Company.
From SearchWide Global:
—Visit El Paso is searching for a director of marketing and communications. More details here.
—The Abilene Convention and Visitors Bureau has an opening for the position of vice president. More details here.
—An international hotel corporation with a diverse and distinctive portfolio is seeking a dual director of sales & marketing to develop and implement the total sales and marketing strategy for two or more hotels located in the same market—Silicon Valley, California. More details here.
—A world-wide hospitality group is looking for an executive director of hotel sales & marketing a position that would be based in San Francisco, Toronto or remotely. More details here:
—Visit Greater Palm Springs has an opening for a vice president of sales. More details here.
—Experience Grand Rapids is searching for a vice president of engagement and inclusion. More details here.
—Visit Annapolis & Anne Arundel County is looking for a director of marketing & communications. More details here.
—Visit Denver is seeking to hire a new vice president of tourism. More details here.
—Visit Santa Cruz is searching for a new CEO/Executive Vice President. More details here.
—The Little Rock Convention & Visitors Bureau has an opening for a director of marketing. More details here.
—There is an opening for the position of president & CEO at Visit Fort Wayne. More details here.
—The North Lake Tahoe Resort Association is looking for a CEO. More details here.
—Visit Savanah has an opening for a vice president of communications & marketing. More details here.
—Destinations International is searching for a vice president of equity, diversity & inclusion. More details here.
—The City of Tacoma has an opening for a director of venue & events. More details here.
—Visit Dana Point is looking for an executive director. More details here.
—Visit Milwaukee is searching for a vice president of marketing and communications. More details here.
—Discover The Palm Beaches is searching for a director of events, tradeshow & strategic sales partnerships. More details here.
—The Colorado Office of Economic Development & International Trade is searching for a director of marketing and communications. More details here.
—Freeman is searching for a vice president, national graphics. More details here.
—In the Charlotte/Concord area of North Carolina, Great Wolf Resorts has an opening for a director of sales and catering. For details, click here
From LinkedIn Jobs: Known to many across the board in the travel and tourism industry, the LinkedIn list (click here) has numerous job opportunities posted. Following is a brief sample of some of those jobs currently listed.
—Explore St. Louis has an opening for a director of communications. More details here.
—Amazon Web Services is searching for a head of travel & hospitality industry marketing. Located in Seattle. More details here.
—City Experiences has an opening for a national associate director of tourism. More details here.
—Delta Air Lines is searching for a specialist, reservations strategic initiatives. More details here.
From Indeed.com: We’ve taken a look at this site (click here) which says that it has hundreds of new jobs listed, including a fair number in the travel, tourism and related industries. A sampler of what to expect is below.
—Monmouth County, New Jersey, is looking for a division head (tourism director) who would be based in Freehold, New Jersey. More details here.
—There is an opening for an attractions general manager at the Myrle Beach Hollywood Wax Museum Entertainment Center. More details here.
—The Philadelphia office of Tiquets, the global ticket booking company for attractions, is looking for a U.S.-based supply coordinator (the company is headquartered in the Netherlands). More details here.
—The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority is looking for a vice president of guest experience. The salary range is $130,000 – $157,000 a year: More details here.
Have a job to offer in the travel and tourism industry? Let us know and we’ll post your notice—no cost to you. Email [email protected]