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ITB Berlin News - Day 3

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34 REGION ADVERTORIAL AMERICAS The Powerhouse Behind the US Tourism Boom 17% more stands in Brand USA pavilion underlines major success of ITB Berlin as a promotional platform Brand USA’s pavilion in Hall 2.1 has added a number of new exhibitors at ITB Berlin this year as the DMO’s latest campaigns take on new dimensions, with this year seeing a big focus on the country’s national parks. We asked Anne C. Madison, Brand USA’s Chief Strategy and Communications Officer, how her organisation’s activities have been impacting the US economy. Anne C. Madison Chief Strategy and Communications Officer, Brand USA We are in the middle of our third annual ROI study now – due for release at the end of April. What we do know now is that over the past two years there have been two million incremental international visitors, US.5bn in spend, about USbn in total economic impact, and about 50,000 incremental jobs a year on average. Our partner base has grown. In our first year of operation we had 89 partners and now we are very close to 600 partners. How is Brand USA operating on a global scale? We have a very strong base now on an international office standpoint. We are utilising some of those offices to also enter secondary markets, but at this point we are not looking to really open up new offices. We are in the 36 markets that drive 95% of all international travel to the United States, so we feel like we have a really good presence in the markets where we need to be. We have three main thrusts to our marketing campaigns. Firstly, there’s consumer marketing, which we call the “USA Campaign”. It’s a very general campaign within certain markets and is very consumer focused. The second thing we do is co-op marketing with the 600 partners I just mentioned. And the other is pure trade outreach, which is very important in a market like Germany. There are 14 markets where we are running the USA campaign, Germany being one of them. Three new markets in the consumer campaign are Sweden, Chile and Colombia. There are also 20 purely tradefocused markets. One important market for you is of course China, from where you’ve just returned. Tell us more about your activities there. As you know, we are a public/private partnership, not a government agency, but the US government and Chinese government announced, at the end of last year, a year of tourism cooperation, called the US- China Tourism Year. The US hosted the event, and Brand USA organised it on behalf of our partners in the government. It’s a year of what we call “educating, promoting and sharing”. The education side is educating travellers and educating trade and also destinations and suppliers and travel brands about receiving Chinese visitors, and the same for China about receiving US visitors. On the promoting side, it’s of course about promoting travel. On the sharing side, it’s about sharing best practices. What the Chinese are most interested in from us is about our US National Parks – and protecting those lands. With the centennial of the National Parks Service in the United States, along with the launch of our giant screen film – called National Parks Adventure – America WHAT THE CHINESE ARE MOST INTERESTED IN FROM US IS ABOUT OUR US NATIONAL PARKS – AND PROTECTING THOSE LANDS Wild - that was a huge opportunity for us. When the national parks started, as Woodrow Wilson signed the act in 1916, there were 35 protected lands. Now we have 409 National Parks, which extend beyond the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone and Yosemite. They also ITB BERLIN NEWS • Friday 11 th March 2016

AMERICAS REGION 35 ADVERTORIAL include monuments and protected lands, such as the Statue of Liberty. One of the other major promotional activities you’ve been working on is the MegaFam, which is going on at the moment. What was behind the idea of MegaFam, and what is being achieved by it? This is something that epitomises the value that Brand USA can provide. As a public/private partnership, we are three-times removed from the actual product, of the destination and the experience. You have the cities, the states and the country. Being threetimes removed, we can do something to add great value for those partners at the city and state and even a regional level. We do this by bringing all those destinations together to do anywhere between five and eight simultaneous itineraries, bringing over the travel trade, having them go on their various visits and familiarisation tours, and then we bring them back to one selected location within the United States where they all share their stories and their experiences. The benefit of that is that in the past, while various destinations held familiarisation tours, it would be a very difficult – and probably not a worthwhile initiative – for them to try to coordinate with other destinations. They needed to focus on their own destinations. Thanks to MegaFams, they can do just that, and we also take the entire concept to a much larger scale. What’s reaction like this year? We started this in the UK, then we took it to Germany, and now we have it in five markets, and the reaction has been tremendous. The ability for agents to go on these trips in this way takes it to a whole new level, as they are able to experience so much more than in the past. It takes them beyond the gateways, and that’s a big focus that we have this year. We are actually launching a digitally focused campaign here at ITB Berlin this week, which will be showing people the iconic places you can go – the gateways – then the surprising places that you could go within maybe a fivehour radius of that location. The whole objective of that is to get people to go to, through, and beyond the gateways, to stay longer, and to experience more about what the USA offers that they may not have previously considered. Germany is a great market for it because we have travellers that are not just coming for the first time, but for the second, third or fourth visit. The pavilion looks very different this year. What’s changed? As we are growing in our campaigns and our reach, we also wanted to show this here in such a way that we could celebrate all of our exhibitors and partners. You’ll see on our big screen that we also have advertising from many of them. It was a way for us to be able to promote all of the United States on a larger scale, again in ways that add and create value for our partners, because they would not be able to do that on their own. Having a very large screen as well as the two-level conference rooms here, it allows us to provide more meeting space for our partners, to provide a grander scale, a bigger presence, more attention on what the United States’ different destinations and experiences are. We’ve become the hub for that, and we’re able to encourage and motivate others in the travel trade to go out and talk directly to our partners. We have a 17% increase in the partners exhibiting at ITB Berlin, which is one of the largest jumps we’ve seen for any show. Interestingly, ITB Berlin is not just focused on one particular outbound market to the United States, and that’s an opportunity. Much like the value the United States is offering in multiple destinations, you can look at this show and say, ‘There is a value in ITB Berlin because of the multiple originating markets you can talk to.’ What’s the biggest challenge at the moment? One of the biggest issues is the strength of the dollar. And the opportunity to come to this show and to be able to show the value of the United States is still exceptional, through the multiple destinations and experiences you can cover in one trip. Hall 2.1 / Stand 480 WE HAVE A 17% INCREASE IN THE PARTNERS EXHIBITING AT ITB BERLIN, WHICH IS ONE OF THE LARGEST JUMPS WE’VE SEEN FOR ANY SHOW ITB BERLIN NEWS • Friday 11 th March 2016

ITB Berlin News