The 11th annual Discover America Day took place in Toronto yesterday (Sept. 25), providing travel media with the opportunity to connect with representatives from more than 25 US destinations and attractions.
“Today we had a record number of exhibitors and media guests participating, which is a very positive indication of the interest in promoting and writing about the USA,” Susan Webb, president of Discover America Canada’s board of directors, told PressToday. “It was a great opportunity for our exhibitors, including tourism offices, convention and visitors bureaus, attractions and airlines to share updates on their destinations and products with top travel writers and editors.”
Some of the suppliers on hand for the event included: Air Canada, Circle Wisconsin, Visit Mesa Arizona, Maryland Office of Tourism and Discover Newport.
Patrice Bell, director – travel trade partnerships for Brand USA, told PressToday that Canada represents over 30% of the visitation to the USA. Although president Trump threatened to cut funding to the organization, which is dedicated to marketing the United States as a premier travel destination, Bell doesn’t expect that will be the case.
“He can set priorities, but it’s congress that passes the budget and it’s congress that’s responsible for the budget, so I think it’s going to be pretty tough because the tax payers don’t actually contribute to Brand USA,” she says. “It’s all visa fees for inbound tourists that need visas – that’s how the money is generated – so it’s not coming out of the tax payers pocket at all.”
With figures from the Conference Board of Canada showing a 5.7% increase in Canadian visits to the US for the first six months of 2017, she’s optimistic about the growth from the Canadian market.
One of the ways agents can increase bookings to the States is through utilizing www.thebrandusa.com/USAtripkit, complete with travel information and suggested itineraries for the destination, including road maps. Meanwhile, she says a training platform for agents is expected to come online next year.
During a luncheon later in the day, Raina Williams, senior account executive, Canada for Expedia Media Solutions provided a keynote on insights into the booking and purchasing path of Canadian travellers.
Following the success of last year’s America Wild: National Parks Adventure film release, Brand USA also announced a new movie set to premiere in February 2018, which will celebrate the country’s musical diversity.
Brand USA and Discover America Canada – a volunteer organization sanctioned by the US Travel Association with a focus on expanding travel and tourism market from Canada to the USA – also highlighted a strategic alliance and collaboration for the annual Canada Music Week, which will take place in Toronto May 7-13. The USA will be the spotlight destination at the conference.
Pictured at the luncheon are (l-r) Webb; Eric Crowley, Commercial Attache, U.S. Consulate General, Toronto, and Bell.