The visit by the CEOs and team members of Destination DC, Meet Boston and the Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau included a media update in the morning, a lunch for for travel wholesalers and product managers, then an evening event for about 90 agents and brokers.
Key supporters included Delta Airlines and Marriott International (the venue was Four Points by Sheraton Auckland).
Gregg Caren, Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau says one event sure to attract interest from this market is the 40th Anniversary of Wrestlemania in April next year.
‘People sometimes laugh but that event will bring visitors from 35 countries and fill the Lincoln Financial Field (capacity 68,000) for two days and then fill the arena next door for another two days.
‘It’s actually a family orientated event and it’s not unusual to see three generations of family there – even the wrestlers are mutli-generational. Everyone recognises that this is not so much a sporting event as it is about entertainment.
‘And while people are there they can experience the things Philadelphia is famous for – the arts, the neighbourhoods, the biking and walking trails and the cuisine.’
Theresa Belpusi, VP of tourism, sports and visitor services with Destination DC says that while museums, monuments and memorials still play a big role in tourism, there are plenty of new attractions.
‘The sophistication of our waterways is something many people are not aware of.’
Belpusi pinpoints The Wharf development on the Southwest Waterfront as a major new attraction. Phase two of the development opened about five months ago including the luxury Pendry Hotel.
Stacy Thornton, director of leisure sales at Meet Boston highlights the Innovation Trail which opened last year as a drawcard to the city. Clients can take a guided tour (90 minute and three hour versions are available) or just take it at their own pace.
The trail celebrates the history of innovation in Boston and neighbouring Cambridge and pinpoints 21 sites where innovators developed world-changing inventions within the region.