Diverse and enchanting, the expansive Americas are reinforcing their tourism product with a plethora of immersive experiences and fresh infrastructure projects. Natalie Hami reports.
Bright city lights opening up to vast open spaces, deserts, lush forests and jungles; the Americas never tire of stirring the senses of any traveller setting foot on its shores.
A cultural behemoth popular for its gastronomy, architecture, celebrity hype, historical sights and geological wonders, stakeholders promoting these activity-rich cities are eager to showcase their most interesting features and facets to both domestic and foreign visitors.
As air links increase to key cities and regions in the Americas, stakeholders are working to bolster their tourism product with an array of new hotel openings and infrastructure projects.
Vice president of tourism and visitor services, Destination DC, Theresa Belpulsi exclusively revealed to TTG that Washington, DC is dedicated to developing initiatives and investing in new opportunities by adding to its strong industries, with $11.5 billion in development, 20 hotels with 4,544 rooms planned and many new and renovated special events venues in the pipeline.
“In 2019, Phase 2 of CityCenterDC, a high-end residential and retail destination, [will welcome] the $250 million 360-room Herzog & de Meuron-designed Conrad Hotel,” she explained.
Additional hotel openings include Eaton Workshop, a 209-room lifestyle property that is the flagship for future Eaton Workshops planned for San Francisco and Seattle, along with DC’s first Moxy Hotel, a budget-minded, millennial-forward 200-room property, set to open later this year.
San Diego’s hospitality landscape has recently been graced with Pendry San Diego and InterContinental San Diego, according to director of communications, San Diego Tourism Authority, Candice Eley.
Moving southward, president and CEO, Visit Dallas, Phillip Jones told TTG that 18 hotels have recently opened in the city, with 37 hotel projects and more than 5,800 additional hotel rooms in the pipeline. These include Virgin Hotel, which is opening in Dallas.
“In late 2019, Virgin Hotels will open a 200-room hotel in Dallas’ hip and growing Design District. The $80 million lifestyle hotel will cater to the new, savvy traveller, offering fee-free WiFi, cancellation and late checkout and a complimentary social hour for guests. It’s the fourth planned Virgin Hotels property in the US.”
On the US’ east coast, New York City has been actively bolstering its hospitality sector with 117,300 hotel rooms and an expected inventory of nearly 137,000 hotel rooms by the end of 2019, according to NYC & Company. Next year will also see the addition of an Equinox branded luxury hotel and TWA Hotel at JFK Airport in Queens. Other projects expected to boost the city’s MICE appeal include the Glasshouse, set to be one of NYC’s largest private event spaces with two outdoor observation terraces overlooking the Hudson River, and the Verizon Executive Education Center at the Roosevelt Island Cornell Tech Campus, which will offer a venue for academic conferences and workshops, as well as executive programmes. Furthermore, the Javits Center also continues its expansion and is set to be completed in 2021.
At the core of many a travel experience lies exploration and discovery, and as a result, travel companies and DMCs must ensure that they can provide a bevy of fascinating and immersive experiences for their clientele.
USA president, Insight Vacations and Luxury Gold, Jon Grutzner explained that guests want to feel authentically connected to a destination as well as enjoy experiences that cannot be had by the average traveller. “By offering behind-the-scenes access to museums, hands-on culinary experiences and private meetings with notable local characters, we are able to make our clients’ travel dreams come true in the best way possible,” he told TTG.
Some of the activities that the company provides include an ATV (all-terrain vehicle) tour of Utah’s Monument Valley with a local Navajo guide. In Pennsylvania, visitors can step back in time and gain fascinating insight into the Amish lifestyle during a tour with a local expert. In Banff, Canada, they meet with a Royal Canadian Mountie and hear his personal stories.
Meanwhile, providing escorted group tours and small ship cruising globally, Tauck tours prides itself on the unique insights and perspectives of the award-winning filmmaker Ken Burns.
“Our journeys exploring the natural world (including the Galapagos Islands and Costa Rica) are offered in cooperation with the nature documentary filmmakers at BBC Earth,” revealed corporate communications manager, Tauck, Tom Armstrong.
In 2019, Tauck will be launching small ship cruises in Alaska and on the US’ great lakes.
As the continent continues to grow its tourism markets on a global scale, the MENA region is one particular source market which stakeholders continue to foster through a number of means, including an increase in air links between the US and key cities in the Middle East.
Belpulsi of Destination DC noted that the MENA market is of particular interest, stating that it is supported by non-stop air services into Washington Dulles International Airport via Qatar Airways, Emirates Airline and Etihad Airways.
Meanwhile, director of marketing communications, Mandarin Oriental Miami, Oriane Lluch also highlighted the significance of the MENA market to the luxury property. She noted: “We target the MENA market because we are able to provide a five-star level of service, breath-taking views, an award-winning spa and a private beach – all attributes sough-after by guests travelling to Miami from the region. In the last few years, it has also become easier to travel to Miami from [the region].”
Apart from the Middle East market, Eley of San Diego Tourism Authority explained that the tourism stakeholder will be focusing on domestic tourism, along with Mexico. “The overseas markets that have the highest visitation rates to San Diego are the UK and China, followed by Australia and Japan.”
Increasing its accessibility to global markets, the Americas continue to captivate visitors far and wide.