U.S. destinations unveil raft of new themes

U.S. destinations unveil raft of new themes

States and cities across the U.S. used IPW in Los Angeles (May 4-7) to introduce new touring ideas, marketing slogans and slogan-led brands.

The Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism (MOTT) is gearing up to commemorate the 250th anniversary of the American Revolution with a series of events that comprise its MA 250 initiative.

The state is planning re-enactments and other events throughout 2025 and 2026, including a meeting of tall ships from more than 30 countries in Boston as part of Sail250 celebrations, an event that will be shared by New York city and other several U.S. cities.

“We invite visitors from around the globe to join us for a commemoration of our past and celebration of our future. Massachusetts is a state of firsts, where ideas are formed and legacies are made,” said Kate Fox, Executive Director of MOTT.

“We will use the themes of independence and revolution to share the historic, cultural, creative and natural resources across our state to inspire future travel to Massachusetts. This summer we will launch a new marketing strategy that uses the rich and authentic history found throughout Massachusetts to share both where we have gone and where we are going.”

“Boston never gets old” was the message from Martha Sheridan, President and CEO of Meet Boston, who told IPW that Boston is “rich in history but is always moving forward”.

“Whether it is summer in Boston, fall in Boston or winter in Boston, the city never gets old,” she said. “Boston is so much more than the area between Boston Common and Fenway Park. Instead, head out to our vibrant neighbourhoods and discover another Boston.”

Mark Ezell, Commissioner of Tourism for Tennessee, explained the background behind the state’s ‘Tennessee Sounds Perfect’ slogan.

“As the home of blues, bluegrass, country, rockabilly, rick and roll and more, music always sounds perfect in Tennessee. But beyond the music, whether it is the sounds of the Mississippi river, children enjoying Dollywood or the rush of the white-water on a world-class rafting trip, the ‘Tennessee Sounds Perfect’ slogan always seems fitting,” he said.

The state will soon unveil details of a new ‘Bike Tennessee’ trail system and anniversaries in 2025 will include the centenary of the world’s longest running radio station Grand Ole Opry, what would have been Elvis Presley’s 90th birthday and blues singer B.B. King’s 100th birthday.

Last year the state saw a 15% increase in visitors, with eight million visitors alone experiencing its Whisky Trail.

Tennessee has 1,679 hotels, with another 58 under construction and 252 at the planning stage, said Ezell.  

“There’s only one Washington DC,” Elliott Ferguson, President and CEO of Destination DC, reminded a media audience.

He said a focus this year would be promoting “those things in the city people don’t know about”. Additional funding would be used to highlight the city’s neighbourhoods and how visitors can explore these.

Hosting World Pride in 2025 would be an opportunity to showcase how the city is inclusive of all communities, he added.

The capital will also play a role in the 250th celebrations and pledged to talk about the “good, the bad and the ugly” and what that means for the nation’s capital today.

“There will be commemorative events in our museums, art galleries, theatres, restaurants and other attractions.”

New York City is expecting 65 million visitors this year, which is around 97% of its 2019 figure.  

New York City Tourism + Conventions President and Chief Executive Fred Dixon, who will become Brand USA’s new President and CEO in July, said the UK regained its position as the city’s top international market in 2023.

‘Founded by NYC’ is a new campaign concentrating on the city’s history, including the 400th anniversary of its founding in 2025.

Orlando welcomed 6.13 million international visitors in 2023, an increase of 25% over the previous year.

Overall, 2023 international visitation numbers represent 94% of the pre-pandemic 2019 levels.

“We saw strong gains from all of our core international markets, including the UK,” said Casandra Matej, President and CEO for Visit Orlando.

The UK inbound market grew 8% year-on-year to 877,000.

Visit Orlando ran an ‘Unbelievably Real’ marketing campaign, including a ‘Winter Doesn’t Exist’ campaign in the UK this past winter.

As always, Orlando has an extensive list of forthcoming attractions. For example, Universal Orlando Resort’s new Dreamworks Land will open June 14 at Universal Studios Florida. Inspired by DreamWorks Animation’s characters including Shrek, Kung Fu Panda and Trolls, it will feature a family-friendly roller coaster, Trolls Trollercoaster; interactive play areas, such as Shrek’s Swamp for Little Ogres, Poppy’s Playground and Po’s Kung Fu Training Camp. 

The park will also debut additional experiences this summer. Highlights are Hogwarts Always, an all-new castle projection show debuting on June 14 in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter; Hogsmeade at Universal Islands of Adventure; and Universal’s largest daytime parade to date, Universal Mega Movie Parade, from July 3 at Universal Studios Florida.

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