Big news out of New York City where Mayor Bill de Blasio has announced a plan to get Broadway theaters re-opened by September 2021. Already closed for more than one year, the lights went dark on 41 theaters as of March 12, 2020. He told a press conference, “Broadway needs to come back, and we will move heaven and earth to bring Broadway back.” The city’s cultural touchstone with economic impact cannot be overemphasized. According to The Broadway League, the 2018-19 season saw 14.8 million attendees at Broadway shows of which 65% came from outside the New York tri-state area and 19% were international visitors. tourists. The industry also supports some 97,000 jobs in the city.
ICYMI: Pepe Avila, CTA, Senior Director Tourism Development at Visit Anaheim has shared the news about a Disneyland Resort reopening date: April 30 — beginning with only allowing California residents. Limited attendance will be managed through a new advance reservation system. Last week, Disneyland announced a huge park expansion plan, promising more rides, retail and dining with a new project called DisneylandForward. No details before 2021, at the earliest.
In Albuquerque, where visitors are no longer required to quarantine for 14 days, the city has redirected $1.5 million in funds from the general fund and its aviation department towards advertising and marketing efforts. The “Albuquerque Home for Life” campaign is directed at luring remote workers and former residents to the city. It launched in late 2020 in Houston, Portland, and Los Angeles and has now been expanded to Dallas, Denver, and Phoenix.
A win-win interstate and regional approach. Brandy Evans, MBA, CDME, VP Communications at Shreveport-Bossier Convention and Tourist Bureau has shared a digital Lonely Planet article, “The best day trips from Dallas.” There’s plenty of space given over to highlight Fort Worth, Austin, Waco, Round Top, Texas wine country, a Canton flea market and other Texas destinations, plus Norman, Oklahoma, too.
Destination Niagara USA has activated its overarching brand campaign, “Feel Free” and “Return to Real,” inviting focused on discovering a sense of release and relief and disconnecting to explore beyond a screen, respectively. The campaign geo-targets New York State as well as markets within an 8-hour drive in a year-long run that’s continuing across various digital channels. John Percy, president & CEO of Destination Niagara USA said, “As pent-up demand continues to grow significantly, it’s important for us to stay in-market and top-of-mind for consumers. We are optimistic about the upcoming season and look forward to safely welcoming visitors.”
Domestic tourism takes off. As the travel industry waits for international flights to reopen and tourism to flow in from Europe and Asia, U.S. airlines are adding more national routes in a bid to get Americans to fly across the country once again. Or, even on a short jump like the new Southwest service between Palm Springs and Las Vegas. United Airlines has introduced direct flights between smaller Midwestern cities and popular vacation spots such as Hilton Head Island, as well as adding over two dozen new domestic routes for the summer. Delta has 20 new flights to parks, beach, and leisure destinations (The Travel Vertical, 3/24/21).
A new Visit Florida ad campaign, “It’s Time for a Florida Vacation,” premiered on March 10 and is now airing in 48 states. Inviting people to enjoy the kind of vacation freedom available in few other states, the $7 million ad campaign from Visit Florida will air through June. “I think they are seeing the perfect combination of factors that is influencing their decisions to travel to Florida, so we’re incredibly optimistic about the number of people coming to Florida,” said Visit Florida CEO Dana Young.
Discover The Palm Beaches reports that hotel occupancy in Palm Beach County rose above 80% for first time in a year. The DMO indicates the strong showing comes thanks to CARES funds, well-communicated health and safety messaging, vaccine rollout, and a new campaign, “The Original, The One, The Only – The Palm Beaches” launched in mid-February. President & CEO Jorge Pesquera said, “We’re excited to see some light at the end of the tunnel and hope our recovery plan to keep The Palm Beaches top of mind with travelers continues to be effective throughout the year.
Good idea! Visit Oakland is sharing 4-minute YouTube video walkthroughs of the city’s hotels on Linkedn, Sales and marketing hotel staff presenting the property to provide a look at health & safety protocols, front desk, guest rooms, meeting room arrangements, and so on. Here, Director of Sales Kevin M. Thomas presents the Best Western Plus Bayside Hotel, Oakland’s #1 on Tripadvisor.
Arrivalist is making two datasets free to customers through the end of the year to help measure travel’s rebound. The new datasets allow comparisons between visitation in 2021 to activity from the same period in 2019, not just the timeframe when travel came to a standstill in 2020. Comparing March 2021 to March 2019 reveals that U.S. road trips are within 10.9% of pre-Covid levels. “Whether promoting themselves or not, it’s vital that our clients get daily updates – without fear of inconsistency – on the visitation volume to their destinations,” says Arrivalist Founder & CEO Cree Lawson.
Visit Salt Lake is partnering with Zartico to enhance Its data-driven efforts. Founded in 2019, Zartico’s proprietary Destination Operating System takes intelligence, analytics and data visualizations and combines it with context and strategic input to support VSL’s data-driven decisions in real-time. Zartico (formerly Entrada Insights) is Utah-based and also continues to work with that state’s tourism office. The data company has plans to hire new engineer and data scientist positions, with a focus on creating a diverse and inclusive workforce.
Destination News From Beyond Our Borders
It had to happen: Roger Federer + Tourism Switzerland. The 39-year-old Basel native, winner of 20 Grand Slam tennis men’s singles titles, has now become an official brand ambassador for the destination. He’s entering into a long-term cooperation with the Swiss national tourism board, which has chosen the hashtag #IneedSwitzerland.
Will business travel return? Indications come from Air New Zealand, which has reported that domestic business travel returned to 90% of pre-pandemic levels. Leanne Geraghty, chief customer and sales officer said the airline was “blown away” by the new data, which exceeds expectations. “To recover to near normal levels this quickly really reinforces the strength of our domestic network and the desire of Kiwis to reconnect in person.”
Spain is poised to experiment with a four-day work week, Europe’s first. The move to a 32-hour week, allowing workers to spend less time at the office without any change in pay, is an idea that was catching on before the pandemic. The experiment is expected to cost about 50 million euros ($59.5 million) and last three years beginning as early as this fall.
Other Worldly Destination News
Three hundred million miles: A remnant of the Wright brothers’ first airplane is landing on Mars. A postage-sized swatch of linen fabric from the bottom left wing of the 1903 Wright Flyer, donated by The Carillon Historical Park in Dayton, Ohio, made the journey aboard Perseverance last month. On April 8, a Martian helicopter called Ingenuity will make the drop.