July 24, 2024

Adventure Destinations League

Navigating Travel Wonders

Air travel to the U.S. from Canada is up, plus more good news from Brand USA and tourism boards at Discover America Day – Canada

According to the latest stats, in the first seven months of 2023, some 12.2 million Canadians visited the U.S. That’s up 5% over 2019.

For 2024, forecasts estimate that 58% of Canadian outbound travel will be to the U.S.

“We’re doing really well,” said Casey Canevari at Discover America Day – Canada.

Canevari is senior manager, global trade development (Canada) for Brand USA, a driving force behind the popular Discover America Day – Canada event.

Travel advisors and the trade should keep an eye out for a new campaign from Brand USA, ‘Experience It All’, which launches this month in the Canadian market.

Air travel to the U.S. from Canada is up 32%, while road trips are down 14%. Whether the uptick in air travel and the dip in car travel is due to travellers splurging on travel post-pandemic, or the desire to maximize time in destination, or concern over rental car availability or gas prices, one thing’s for sure: air travel is much more likely to be booked by travel advisors, making this trend a positive one for the trade.

Brand USA’s upcoming Mega Fams are a boon for travel agents too. The six fams, all taking place the same week in April 2024, fan out to six regions across the U.S., with participation by 60 Canadian travel agents. There’s also a sales mission.

Here are just a few of the updates that came out of the Discover America Day – Canada event…


EXPERIENCE KISSIMMEE

Kissimmee continues to thrive as the ‘Vacation Home Capital of the World’. As Keri Woody, Media Relations Specialist, and Samantha Carreira, PR Manager for Experience Kissimmee noted, Kissimmee offers the ultimate “thrill and chill” vacation, with its close proximity to Florida’s top theme parks. “You can take in all the action at the parks, and then come back to Kissimmee and your own vacation home and relax in your own space.”

As Experience Kissimmee President and CEO DT Minich told Travelweek back in July, Kissimmee is home to more than 30,000 vacation homes, and as professionally managed homes that work with tour operators, travel advisors can make commission on vacation home bookings. Kissimmee’s vacation homes are 15-25 minutes from Walt Disney World Resort, and 30-35 minutes from Universal Studios and SeaWorld.

ExperienceKissimmee.com


VISIT CENTRAL FLORIDA

The Central Florida region, including Polk County, is ideal for Canadians flying into either Tampa and Orlando: “We’re right between both airports,” says Michael Hogan, Senior Communications Supervisor, Visit Central Florida.

Air travel to the U.S. from Canada is up, plus more good news from Brand USA and tourism boards at Discover America Day - Canada

Juanita Ariza Gomez and Michael Hogan with Visit Central Florida

Local highlights include Bob Tower Gardens, Westgate River Ranch Resort & Rodeo, several golf courses, SUN ’n FUN Aerospace Expo and more.

VisitCentralFlorida.org


NEVADA 

While Las Vegas is the perennial big draw for Nevada, the state’s tourism board mandate emphasizes all the things to see and do outside of Sin City.

Nevada enjoys a reputation as the ‘Road Trip Capital of the U.S.’, and popular itineraries include ‘Cowboy Corridor’ along I-80, ‘Death Valley Rally’ for a world of extremes just off the Strip, the picture-perfect Great Basin Highway route, and ‘Burner Byway’, taking inspiration from the world-famous Burning Man event.

Air travel to the U.S. from Canada is up, plus more good news from Brand USA and tourism boards at Discover America Day - Canada

Heather McGillivray representing Travel Nevada

There’s lots of lift to Nevada, including Porter Airlines’ just-announced service between Toronto and Las Vegas, starting March 5, 2024.

TravelNevada.com


THE PALM BEACHES

With 75 kilometres of beaches, Florida’s The Palm Beaches more than lives up to its name. Anchored by Jupiter to the north and Boca Raton to the south, The Palm Beaches is also home to West Palm Beach, and famously luxurious resorts including The Breakers.

Air travel to the U.S. from Canada is up, plus more good news from Brand USA and tourism boards at Discover America Day - Canada

Paul Larcher for Discover The Palm Beaches

The Palm Beaches has good lift, says Paul Larcher, Account Director – Canada at VoX International, on behalf of Discover The Palm Beaches. The local airport, Palm Beach International Airport (PBI) serves as the gateway for The Palm Beaches. Air Canada’s PBI flights start at the end of October and run through the end of April, daily from Toronto, and three times weekly from Montreal. Alternatively, visitors to The Palm Beaches can also fly into FLL, just a 30-minute drive away.

ThePalmBeaches.com


VISIT FLORIDA

In the first six months of 2023, 2.1 million Canadians headed to Florida. That’s a recovery rate of 94%. And the average length of stay was 13 days, says Erin Cramer, Public Relations Account Executive for VISIT FLORIDA.

Cramer adds that while Ontario and Quebec have historically been the marketing focus for VISIT FLORIDA in Canada, efforts have now grown to prioritize western Canada now that Air Canada has new Vancouver – Miami flights.

All of Canada’s airlines offer plenty of flights into Florida. Joining the club, Porter is adding five Florida destinations to its network starting next month, from YYZ: Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Miami, Orlando and Tampa. Porter will also offer Fort Lauderdale and Orlando flights from YOW.

Air travel to the U.S. from Canada is up, plus more good news from Brand USA and tourism boards at Discover America Day - Canada

Shahfreen Elavia and Erin Cramer for VISIT FLORIDA

Florida’s new train, Brightline, connects many of the Florida destinations featured at the Discover America Day – Canada event, including Orlando (MCO), Boca Raton, Aventura, West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale and Miami. “The trains are beautiful,” says Cramer. “Brightline is a great way to connect south Florida and central Florida.” On Cramer’s wishlist? More Brightline stops, in Jacksonville, Tampa and (maybe someday) Pensacola.

For now, Brightline is focusing on developing a second system, ‘Brightline West’, a 350-km route connecting Southern California and Las Vegas.

VisitFlorida.com


HAWAII TOURISM CANADA

Got clients who want to help Maui in its time of need? Tell them to come visit, says Account Director, Hawaii Tourism Canada, Lorenzo Campos. All of West Maui except for burned-out sections of historic Lahaina will reopen to tourism on Nov. 1.

Air travel to the U.S. from Canada is up, plus more good news from Brand USA and tourism boards at Discover America Day - Canada

Lorenzo Campos for Hawaii Tourism Canada

“If you want to help, travel to Maui and bring your dollars,” says Campos. “Reactivating the economy, that will help a lot.” The Malama Maui program welcomes and encourages respectful travel to West Maui; more details are at 

GoHawaii.com


VISIT DETROIT

As Visit Detroit’s Chris Moyer, Senior Director of Communications, told Travelweek’s deputy editor Cindy Sosroutomo in an interview last month, Detroit now has one of the top 10 safest downtown cores of any major metropolitan area in the United States.

Air travel to the U.S. from Canada is up, plus more good news from Brand USA and tourism boards at Discover America Day - Canada

Meg Griffith and Christopher Moyer with Visit Detroit

But as Moyer noted at yesterday’s Discover America Day – Canada event, misperceptions about Detroit persist. Visit Detroit will be launching a new national and international marketing campaign in early 2024 that paints a more accurate picture of its many offerings. Described as a “love letter to the city,” the campaign is aimed at the “urban explorer under 40” and will target key markets including Toronto, Montreal, Quebec City, Vancouver and Calgary.

VisitDetroit.com


UTAH OFFICE OF TOURISM

Utah’s draws are legion, and increasingly well-known to Canadian travel advisors. Not only is the state home to what it brands as its ‘Mighty 5’ National Parks: Arches, Bryce Canyon, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef and Zion, it also has the highest concentration of the Dark Sky locations in the world (perfect for stargazing). Meanwhile Salt Lake City is increasingly a destination for foodies, plus there are myriad opportunities for outdoor adventure right on the city’s doorstep.

Air travel to the U.S. from Canada is up, plus more good news from Brand USA and tourism boards at Discover America Day - Canada

Zach Fyne, Utah Office of Tourism

Zach Fyne, Global Markets Specialist, Utah Office of Tourism, says Bryce Canyon National Park just celebrated its 100th anniversary, plus Utah’s film tourism scene is marking its centennial soon too. Utah is also known as the ‘Glamping Capital of the World’, with popular spots including Camp Sarika by Amangiri, Zion White Bison Resort and Capitol Reef Resort.

VisitUtah.com


VISIT ORLANDO

Orlando is world-famous for its theme parks, but there’s so much more to the destination, says DCI’s Hannah Lajara, representing VISIT FLORIDA. Beyond the theme parks, Orlando is home to 46 restaurants in the Michelin Guide. That ties in well to a key growing market for Orlando: adults without kids. “Orlando has neighbourhoods full of art and culture,” says Lajara. “Orlando is also all about affordability, with tons of attractions priced at less than $30.”

Air travel to the U.S. from Canada is up, plus more good news from Brand USA and tourism boards at Discover America Day - Canada

Hannah Lajara for Visit Orlando

Orlando also has one of the most robust lift offerings of all the U.S. cities, with flights on just about every major Canadian carrier. One attraction that’s close to MCO, for families looking to fit in one last splash before their flight, or just keep close if they’re staying out by the airport: Nona Adventure Park, complete with inflatable aqua park/obstacle course, Nona Wake cable park, and a 60’ climbing tower/ropes course/rock walls.

VisitOrlando.com


FORT MYERS ISLANDS, BEACHES AND NEIGHBOURHOODS

While Fort Myers, FL is still in recovery mode from Hurricane Ian in September 2022, the destination is going from strength to strength, says Andrew Ricketts, representing Fort Myers Islands, Beaches and Neighbourhoods. “Fort Myers is at 70% occupancy, which is really nice to see,” says Ricketts.

Air travel to the U.S. from Canada is up, plus more good news from Brand USA and tourism boards at Discover America Day - Canada

Andrew Ricketts, representing Fort Myers Islands, Beaches and Neighbourhoods

New properties include Margaritaville Beach Resort Fort Myers Beach, scheduled for its soft opening Dec. 20. There’s also Luminary Hotel & Co., part of Marriott’s Autograph Collection. For lift, Air Canada, WestJet and Lynx offer flights, plus Porter’s new service to Fort Myers from Toronto Pearson start Nov. 10.

VisitFortMyers.com


SANTA MONICA TRAVEL AND TOURISM

Santa Monica’s five-star luxury Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows is doubling down on ensuring all guests get a good night’s rest with the debut of its brand new Serenity Suite. As the first wellness suite in Santa Monica, the state-of-the-art experience offers a haven for guests who want to relax, rejuvenate, and restore a sense of well-being during their stay, says Pulse Communications’ Sana Keller, Director of Public Relations, Santa Monica Travel & Tourism – Canada Office.

Air travel to the U.S. from Canada is up, plus more good news from Brand USA and tourism boards at Discover America Day - Canada

Sana Keller representing Santa Monica Travel and Tourism

The spacious 800-square foot suite features city views and fresh sea air with a range of amenities, from in-suite fitness and meditation classes available on a Lululemon Studio Mirror, plus yoga mat and weights, to a complimentary in-person Exhale Spa fitness or yoga class per stay. The suite also features locally sourced luxury aromatherapy bath and body products, special in-room wellness dining menu and mini-bar stocked with plant-based snacks, organic drinks, wellness shots & select teas, and much more.

Also new in the destination: The Pierside Hotel Santa Monica. The beautiful new property offers everything from Saturday morning yoga on the beach, to rental surf boards, picnic kits, even GoPRO action cameras.

SantaMonica.com

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