Happy Thanksgiving!

Discover America Canada and Brand USA teamed up to host an early US Thanksgiving Day trade luncheon in Toronto yesterday featuring turkey and all the trimmings at The Chef’s House, as well as an update on the latest from both organizations.

Special guest for the celebration was Jackie Ennis, senior director, global trade development, Brand USA, up from Washington, DC.

Ennis said that despite a “difficult atmosphere,” visitor numbers from Canada were up 5% for 2017, with positive first-quarter numbers for 2018 also in the books.

“It’s encouraging,” she said. “We’re in a good place.”

Brand USA initiatives include a continuation of last year’s “Hear The Music” campaign, as well as new IMAX movie, with a working title of Exploring Wild America, “a film that explores wild places with extraordinary people.” The movie is in the process of being filmed and expected to be released in 2020.

Consumer campaigns will be based around experiential travel, showcasing a destination’s diversity.

“We’ll be doing this with storytelling,” said Ennis.

Brand USA’s “USA Discovery Program” gives agents the opportunity to become a USA Expert.

It was also announced that a regional manager for Canada will be appointed, hopefully by the end of February.

Pictured at the event are (l-r) Denise Graham, Experience Kissimmee, Stephen Fine,, Ennis, Susan Webb, president, Discover America Canada, Kosta Tsimiklis, San Francisco Travel, and Cynthia Farrill, VISIT FLORIDA.