1. “Emmy Award-winning DMO has a nice ring to it,” said Leah Chandler, CMO, Discover Puerto Rico. From CEO Brad Dean, “So very proud of our Discover Puerto Rico team for winning three Emmy awards for the “Sounds Like Puerto Rico” series. In the midst of a pandemic with a negligible budget, they excelled…congrats to the entire team…” 🇵🇷
2. “The @EmpireStateBldg was again the most frequently Ubered-to tourist attraction in the world. One driver even went 253 times.” — an Uber tweet
3. According to Billboard’s Boxscore, Red Rocks Park & Amphitheater, owned and operated by the City of Denver, was the most-attended and highest-grossing venue of 2021 with 996,570 attendees. Gross ticket revenue exceeded $60 million on 134 concerts.
4. Visit Orlando‘s 16th Annual Magical Dining® promotion raised $289,281 from 95 participating restaurants donating $1 per meal to charities.
5. There are only six Starbucks Reserve® Roastery locations in the world, including three in the U.S. The newest immersive coffee experience is in Chicago’s Magnificent Mile (2019), joining existing locations in Seattle (2014), New York City (2018), Shanghai, Milan, and Tokyo.
6. In Q3 of 2021, hotel revenues in the Fort Worth-Arlington, Texas metro surpassed pre-pandemic levels by 6.7%, per Source Strategies.
7. Miami, which hosted the international contemporary art fair Art Basel, led the nation with 82% hotel occupancy last week and 90% over the weekend. Eleven hotels reported ADR above $1,000 for the week, with the market average at $374 and the weekend topping $422 — both pandemic-era highs.
8. Construction on a new $9.5 billion terminal at JFK International Airport is slated to begin in 2022.
9. Almost two years into the pandemic, about 630 movie theaters remain closed across North America. That represents about 12% of the nation’s cinemas. Source: Comscore
10. In the Lunar calendar, 2022 is the Year of the Tiger. Chinese New Year is February 1st.
11. Delta Air Lines will no longer award frequent flier miles for Basic Economy tickets. This may be the first time a major U.S. airline has stripped loyalty points from customers who purchase the cheapest fare, a move that Travel Pulse calls “stunning” at a time when airlines are trying to lure back travelers lost to pandemic malaise.
12. In November, gasoline prices averaged $3.39 nationally, the highest since September 2014. The U.S. Energy Information Administration says that national average for regular gas will drop to $3.13 a gallon in December and continue falling to $3.01 a gallon in January. For 2022, gas prices are expected to average $2.88.
13. In Honolulu, a huge 100 by 60-foot mural has been unveiled, a tribute to two native Hawaiian Olympians at the birthplace of surfing. “Surfer of the Century” Duke Kahanamoku, and Carissa Moore, the 2020 gold medallist, are portrayed.
14. Tears of Joy 😂 was the most popular emoji in 2021 followed by the heart ❤️. The next most-used emojis through the year were 🤣 👍 😭 🙏 😘 🥰 😍 and 😊. Flags continue to be the least used emoji, despite being the largest category (258). Source: Unicode Consortium
15. Americans love dogs. There are nearly 77 million dogs as pets in the U.S. in more than 48 million households. So DMOs, you know what to do. Source: American Veterinary Medical Association
16. Louisiana Travel created an official state float, the longest one in the 95-year history of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City, broadcast live to millions of viewers. The 60-foot “Celebration Gator” is was a $1.375 million investment for the float that will appear for three years.
17. Five USA & Canada destinations made their way onto the editors’ curated Conde Nast Traveler list, “The 22 Best Places to Go in 2022.” Cheers to Birmingham, AL (for food); Alberta, Canada and Charleston, SC (for arts & culture); The Great Lakes (for transportation); and West Virginia (for outdoors).
18. “The 50 Best Places to Travel in 2022” by Travel + Leisure gives a shout out to: Alaska; New York’s Finger Lakes; Franklin, Tenn.; Greater Palm Springs; Greenville, SC; Jackson Hole, Lanai, Hawaii; Las Vegas; Louisville; Newport, RI: Santa Ynez Valley, Calif.; Savannah; Seattle; Sedona, Southwest Michigan; St. Pete/Clearwater; Quebec; and Walt Disney World.
19. House prices in small and midsized cities are rising rapidly in the Mountain West. Average home values in Colorado Springs rose by 15% between February 2020 and February 2021. Prices in Bozeman, Montana increased by nearly 20%. In Boise, Idaho house prices are up by 28%, the biggest increase among the 900 metro areas tracked by Zillow, an online listings platform. Source: The Economist
20. Photogenic Yellowstone National Park is by far the most popular national park on TikTok. It’s followed by Denali in Alaska and Yosemite in California. On a global basis, seven of the top 10 parks are in the USA.
21. “Into the Northern Lights: An Immersive Experience” was presented on Dec. 9-11 by Destination Canada at Grand Central Terminal in New York City. Thanks to a floor-to-ceiling mirrored light display, the public enjoys the perspective of walking through the northern lights, incorporating audio and interactive visuals to emulate the mesmerizing beauty of the natural phenomenon.
22. In Pigeon Forge, Sevier County, Tennessee, 2021 gross revenue is expected to top $2 billion — shattering the 2019 record of $1.5 billion — in a town with just 6,000 residents.
Department of Tourism Executive Director Leon Downey says it’s the lure of road trips to the Smoky Mountains region. Yet, we think it could be his recipe for sweet potato casserole, just as yummy on the Christmas menu.