North America and Caribbean Bring Their Best to WTM London
From Canada to Tobago, and New York to California, exhibitors at WTM London – the global event where ideas arrive – will be highlighting new hotels, fresh campaigns and state-of-the-art tourism developments across North America, Mexico and the Caribbean. As well as established destinations and global brands, delegates at the event in ExCeL will be able to meet representatives of innovative attractions, boutique properties and exciting eco-tourism initiatives. Executives from Destination Canada (NA400) will talk about the tourism agency’s uplifting new tagline, For Glowing Hearts, inspired by the words of the national anthem and imagery of the Canadian flag. Ben Cowan-Dewar, chairperson of Destination Canada’s board, said: “The brand evolution is driven by the belief that travel should change you and Canada will leave a lasting mark on your heart.” Also on NA400, the Canadian province of Ontario will be promoting its wealth of new upmarket hotels – such as Delta Hotels by Marriott Thunder Bay – and new air services, such as WestJet’s daily Dreamliner service from London Gatwick-Toronto, and Norwegian Air’s daily link between Hamilton and Dublin. Just south of the border between Canada and the US lies New England, which will be in the international spotlight during 2020, as it marks the 400th anniversary of the sailing of the Mayflower. The Plymouth 400 Anniversary will highlight cultural contributions and traditions that began with the interaction of the Wampanoag people and English settlers in 1620. Next year also marks the bicentennial of the state of Maine, which will see celebrations and commemorations. The regional tourism authority, Discover New England (NA165), represents five states: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island. South of New England is the Big Apple and this year WTM London welcomes four new exhibitors from New York, sharing the NYC & Company stand (NA300) along with more than 30 other attractions. Other exciting exhibitors on stand, will be: New York Cruise Lines, which operates the Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises; New York Philharmonic; Seaport District NYC, a shopping, dining and events neighbourhood; and Running Subway, which is creating a new attraction due to open in Times Square next spring, described as “part museum and part ride” and includes a flight simulation ride over the city’s landmarks. Travelling further south brings visitors to historic Philadelphia, in the state of Pennsylvania. The Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau (NA340) will highlight a host of new hotels – including the Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia at Comcast Center, which occupies the top 12 floors of the 60-storey Comcast Innovation and Technology Center building – and the revamped Philadelphia Museum of Art, which will re-open in autumn 2020 following a $196 million transformation. Even further south is the ‘sunshine state’ of Florida, where tourism is the mainstay of the economy, especially in the home of world-class theme parks, Orlando. Planes, trains and self-driving buses are on the agenda for Visit Orlando (NA250), as it promotes quicker and easier ways for tourists to get around. A new terminal will open at Orlando International Airport in 2021; Virgin Trains will begin a service connecting Miami and Orlando from 2022; and driverless shuttle buses started running in some neighbourhoods, with plans to expand. These developments, along with news focus on sustainability initiatives, will be discussed at WTM London by Visit Orlando’s Chief Executive George Aguel and the new mayor of Orlando & Orange County, Jerry Demings. Meanwhile, Experience Kissimmee (NA330) in Florida will be showing delegates why the destination is known as the Vacation Home Capital of the World. It will also promote its ecotourism attractions such as wildlife reserves and birdwatching trails, plus activity centres for fishing, ziplining, hot air ballooning, horse riding, kayaking and airboat rides. Visit Tampa Bay (NA240) will unveil its new cocktail book, Tampa with a Twist, at WTM London, showcasing cocktails created by local mixologists. Known for its hip hospitality, the Florida destination features a host of cocktail bars as well as craft breweries. The tourist board will also highlight new theme park rides such as Iron Gwazi – the fastest and steepest hybrid roller coaster in the world – which opens in spring 2020 at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay. Overall, there are four new exhibitors from Florida, which include Isla Bella Beach Resort (NA200) set along the coastline of the Florida Keys; Orlando International Airport (NA250); Florida’s Northeast Coast (NA240), which represents five tourist boards along the Atlantic coastline; and CHM-Florida Resorts (NA240), which runs Sundial Beach Resort & Spa and the World Equestrian Center Hotel & Spa. Nearby, is the island destination of Puerto Rico, which is on Stand NA100, part of the Brand USA Pavilion. It will be displaying a recent video collaboration with Lin-Manuel Miranda, the famous playwright and Hamilton composer, entitled ‘Discover Puerto Rico with Lin-Manuel’. The video series follows the Puerto Rican actor around his favourite locations to encourage visitors to discover the wonders of the destination. Heading out west brings tourists to the Texan cities of Dallas and Fort Worth. Their tourist boards will be on stand NA350 to celebrate the forthcoming opening of several hotels – such as Virgin Hotels Dallas and Hotel Drover at Fort Worth’s Stockyards – as well as cultural developments, including major exhibitions at the African American Museum, and the recent opening of the Holocaust and Human Rights Museum. Joining these exciting exhibitors at the Brand USA Pavilion are the attractions and entertainment specialist Legends Attractions (NA285); Noble House Hotels & Resorts, which features boutique properties in destinations across North America (NA200); Sahara Las Vegas, a hotel and casino with three distinctive towers (NA150). Brand USA will also be using WTM London 2019 as an opportunity to promote their third big screen release – Into America’s Wild, scheduled to premiere in February. It will feature American trailblazers such as John Herrington, the first Native American Astronaut, and the Alaskan Pilot Ariel Tweto, who will take part in a cross-country journey of the United States and its iconic landscapes. South of the US, there is a host of tourist attractions and hotels in Mexico and the Caribbean, which are sending delegations to WTM London. The Mexican destination of Los Cabos will see its first ever, direct service from Europe launch on November 7, 2019. Holiday giant TUI will start the flights from London Gatwick airport, at the beginning of the winter season. Ten travel and tourism operators from Los Cabos (LA130) will share a stand at WTM London to highlight the region’s increased connectivity from the UK and Europe, as well as its upmarket attractions along Mexico’s Pacific coast. Elsewhere, visitors to the Hard Rock Hotels stand (TA170) can enter a prize draw at WTM London to win a three-night stay in the new Hard Rock Hotel Los Cabos. The all-inclusive resort will also be the place to see the debut of a new show, Bazzar, by Cirque de Soleil in January 2020. Nobu Hotels (NA330) will be showcasing Nobu Hotel Los Cabos, which opened in April 2019, and Nobu Hotel Chicago which opens in early 2020. Meanwhile, on Mexico’s Riviera Maya is adult-only hotel UNICO 20˚87˚ (CA300). It has a new bar, Gin Time, and is launching more food and drink experiences, as well as wellness options and romance packages for 2020. Heading eastwards from Mexico brings tourists to the Caribbean destination of the Dominican Republic. Bosses from the tourism ministry will be on stand CA300 to update delegates on the progress of the island’s first theme park, due to open in late 2020. Called Katmandu, Punta Cana, it will also include a 36-hole golf course. Further east, where the Caribbean and Atlantic meet, is Antigua and Barbuda. Executives from the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority (CA245) will be promoting the islands’ sailing, water-sports, romance and wellness themes. Highlights include the region’s biggest regatta, Antigua Sailing Week (April 25-May 1, 2020) and increased Virgin Atlantic services from London Gatwick to Antigua from 8 June, 2020. To the south is the ‘Nature Island’ of Dominica. The Discover Dominica Authority (CA260) will be at WTM London to highlight its remarkable renaissance as the island continues its recovery from Hurricane Maria in 2017. Overall visitor arrivals for the first half of 2019 are up by 321% year-on-year, and overnight stays reached 43,774 – a 67% increase year-on-year. New luxury hotels include Jungle Bay Resort and Spa, Kempinski Cabrits Resort and Spa and Anichi Resort and Spa. Meanwhile, in the southern Caribbean is Tobago, from where the Tobago Tourism Agency (CA250) will be bringing an eco-friendly message to WTM London. It will be promoting the island’s green initiatives and tagline: ‘Tobago Beyond: unspoilt, untouched, undiscovered’. Next year will see sustainability projects come together under the Greening Initiative, as the destination works towards internationally recognised environmental standards. Furthermore, Styrofoam cups will be phased out and a new award will be given to the most environmentally sustainable resorts. World Travel Market (WTM) portfolio comprises eight leading events across four continents, generating more than $7 billion of industry deals.