“Fly like a butterfly…” Starting this June, you can fly into the newly named Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport that honors its native son. Even the airport logo, unveiled two years ago, is cool. It features a silhouette of Ali, arms held aloft in victory against the backdrop of a butterfly’s wings.
“It’s ironic that a man who left this city to embark on his first international trip with a fear of flying now has the airport, the place where he was welcomed back from that trip from the Rome Olympics as an Olympic gold medalist, now will bear his name,” Lonnie Ali said at the 2019 announcement. She said airport visitors “will feel that same welcoming embrace from the city and its citizens that everyone felt who met Muhammad.”
Québec City, closed to visitors, has produced a 3-minute YouTube video titled, “Let’s Enjoy Québec City While They Can’t.” It features people (actors) with cancelled plans chiming in (with English or French subtitles) from South Korea, France, and Mexico to look at the upside of not going there, saying things like, “Québec City isn’t really the place to lose weight.” The closing chorus of voices lament, “I’m super jealous. I wish I could be there. You’re so close, so get going. Go, go, go for all of us who can’t…” And finally, “What, you’re still here? It’s go time,” laughs a Frenchman (who cannot find history in France?)
Created and produced by LG2 and NOVA Films, the campaign from Québec City Tourism (described as “disappointed travellers speak up on behalf of would-be visitors”) is aimed at residents in the province. With a budget of $3 million, it will appear on a variety of platforms, including TV, through media content partnerships, and on social media through September 26, 2021.
Los Angeles Tourism and Convention Board has formed a partnership with CLEAR to use the Health Pass for secure screening at conferences. Meeting and event planners can take advantage of priority access to Health Pass, available free within the CLEAR app, to ensure expedited entry to events.
Las Vegas Monorail has started operating again and the convention center is preparing for the first large-scale convention in the USA since pre-pandemic times. The 2021 World of Concrete event will take place at the Las Vegas Convention Center June 8-10. While expectations don’t run to the 50,000 – 60,000 attendees as in past years, “Las Vegas is seeing a surge of visitors again: ‘It’s like somebody turned on a light switch,’” reports The Washington Post.
On May 21, Washington, D.C. fully reopened for in-person meetings, conventions, trade shows and special events.
In San Francisco, the city’s largest convention, Dreamforce, re-booked for September 21-23 with a maximum of 5,000 attendees (per current guidelines) and mandatory vaccination. In previous years, there were 171,000 in-person attendees. Last year, streaming captured 140 million views, so that aspect of the Salesforce event is now baked in. “Salesforce worked with epidemiologist Larry Brilliant to develop safety standards and is also partnering with Marriott, the biggest hotel operator in San Francisco, on cleaning plans,” reports the San Francisco Chronicle.
In May 2020, VisitDallas became “the first destination to receive Global Biorisk Advisory Council (GBAC) STAR™ accreditation designating Dallas hotels, the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center Dallas and selected city-owned arts and cultural institutions as sanitary and safe.” Hyatt is the clear leader in accommodation. A list of about 50 accredited convention centers in the U.S. is found here and more about GBAC is found here.
Cruise News & Flight News
The CDC has relaxed requirements and protocols, dropped mask and distancing rules on cruises where passengers and crew are vaccinated to 95% or better and at least two weeks past their final dose of an approved coronavirus vaccine. Parts of the ship, such as casinos, spas and restaurants, can be designated for vaccinated individuals.
Crew vaccinations must be in accordance with CDC guidelines, at a minimum of 98%. Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, Princess Cruises, Holland America Line, and Carnival Cruise Line have all announced plans to resume cruising this summer. — Source: Travel Weekly
Alaska Tourism Restoration Act has been signed into law, allowing large cruise ships to enter the state, relieving restrictions requiring a stop in Canada. In 2019, Alaska got about 60 percent of its summer tourists from cruise ships. — Source: Anchorage Daily News
TSA throughput shows over 1.95 million travelers on the Friday ahead of Memorial Day weekend, the highest figure reported since March 2020. Monday’s numbers also topped 1.9 million. In 2019, daily numbers were routinely more than 2 million daily. — Source: TSA
IATA projects air traffic during 2021 will be 52% of 2019, up slightly from the 50% that was forecast six months ago. Looking further ahead, IATA projects global passenger numbers will hit 88% of 2019 levels next year and exceed 2019 levels in 2023. — Source: IATA
American Airlines is working with mobile health partner Daon and its app VeriFLY to help customers verify they are vaccinated and ready to fly before they even set foot in an airport. Customers can download the app for free from the iOS App Store or Google Play Store. The VeriFLY mobile health passport is also available for American’s partners: Aer Lingus, Alaska Airlines, British Airways, Iberia, Japan Air Lines, and Qantas. — Source Insider Travel Report
Breeze Airways, headquartered in Salt Lake City and founded by JetBlue founder David Neeleman, commences operations to nonstop city pairs in underserved domestic air corridors such as: Norfolk to Charleston, Tampa, New Orleans, Columbus, Hartford, Pittsburgh, and Providence. From now through July 22, 39 routes are starting up priced from $39 one-way including one personal item and one carry on bag of <35 lbs. that fits into the overhead bin.
Black to the Future
National Blacks in Travel & Tourism Collaborative is partnering with the Cultural Heritage Alliance for Tourism, Inc., a Black-owned receptive tour operator based in Miami to launch the Black Cultural Heritage Road Trip. The Black Cultural Heritage Tours team is traveling throughout the U.S., curating local, immersive Black cultural heritage tour itineraries and experiences. “As the only Black-owned receptive tour operator in the U.S., our mission is to create inclusion and engagement of local Black cultural heritage community assets in the multibillion-dollar tourism industry, spurring economic growth and sustainability for small businesses and cultural institutions in underserved Black communities,” said founder Stephanie Jones.
Charlottesville and Albemarle Convention and Visitors Bureau has created Discover Black Cville following a series of meetings with about 50 stakeholders. The initiative aims to elevate local Black community storytelling while promoting local Black-owned businesses and attractions. Discover Black Cville is launching on Facebook and Instagram, as well as a landing page on the DMO’s website that highlights Black-owned businesses and Black historic sites. It also links to the Charlottesville Black Business Directory. The Daily Progress reports, “Courtney Cacatian said that when she started as executive director of the CACVB in August 2019, she began to meet with as many people as possible to find out how the tourism bureau could better serve the community.”
In Boston, a self-guided walking path, the Freedom Trail, has been drawing millions since 1951. Similarly, The Black Heritage Trail® covers 15 pre-Civil War sites around Beacon Hill, including the 1806 African Meeting House, the nation’s oldest surviving Black church and The Hayden House, a stop on the Underground Railroad. The walk includes a recently restored 19th century bronze relief facing the state house at the Boston Common, a tribute to the Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry 54th Regiment, one of the first African American regiments of the Civil War.
On its website, “Experience Bourbon City’s Black Heritage,” Louisville Tourism highlights 1-, 2-, and 3-day itineraries. Newest is the Roots 101 African American Museum opening on June 12, 2021 “…dedicated to telling the story of the African American Journey from Africa and all ports between.”
Tech and Hollywood are committing to a landmark union; the Twitterverse is wondering if they did it for the future rights to Bond movies. Amazon is buying MGM Holdings for $8.45 billion. Keeping track of Amazon acquisitions?
Simpleview has invested in Stroll, a location-based marketing platform, aimed at helping destinations engage with visitors in real time based on interests and location.Stroll, founded in 2019, is developing Vibe Guide, a television show hosted by “Strollers,” or influencers who provide travel inspiration on destinations. Butch Spyridon, CEO of Nashville Convention & Visitors Corporation, a Stroll and Vibe Guide customer, adds: “Having the ability to deliver information based on a visitor’s location and interests will not only enhance the visitor experience, but it will also allow our member businesses to target their offer.” — Source: Phocuswire
City Experiences [by Hornblower] continues its expansion of water- and land-based experiences with the acquisition of Niagara Falls’ leading whitewater jet boat tour experiences provider, Niagara Jet Adventures. The newly rebranded company operates dining, sightseeing and private events across 22 destinations in the U.S., Canada and the UK plus cruises on behalf of the National Park Service and the Niagara Parks Commission to provide ferry service to the Statue of Liberty National Monument and the Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration, Alcatraz Island, and Niagara Falls.
Last week, Google Travel announced an update that brings vacation rental properties into hotel search results for accommodations. While there is a vacation rentals filter, the default now combines both types of accommodation. Phocuswire reports, “Google says results are ranked organically based on relevance to the user’s query. The company would not provide a list of current supply partners, but searches on the site show listings from Tripadvisor, Vacasa, Red Awning, Sonder, Rentals United and others.” Expedia had pulled Vrbo listings in February; it’s “unclear,” says Phocuswire, whether Bookings.com or Airbnb are participating and that publication had no reply to a request for comment.
The Out-of-Doors Is In: According to Travel Weekly, tour operators specializing in outdoor adventures are saying: “We are literally filled up and can’t get any more space.” At Pleasant Holidays where 180 additional properties were added to tour package offerings, CEO Jack Richards said, “Our bookings for the USA are very close to 2019 levels, which was a record year for the company.” Also, “At the adventure company Backroads, founder and president Tom Hale said summer trips are mostly sold out,” reports TW. “‘We are overwhelmed,’ said Hale, who noted bookings are at ‘an absolute all-time high—by a long shot. We’re up over 40% than in 2019, which was our previous high watermark.'”