A Big Island Aloha

Tuesday, 13 June 2017 12:41

Incentive travel organisers from around the world, including 13 New Zealanders, are in the Hawaii Islands this week for the first Experience Aloha Business Exchange, spearheaded by the Hawaii Tourism Authority.
Ahead of the exchange, officially starting today, groups from New Zealand, Australia, South East Asia and Europe headed to Hawaii’s Big Island to check out active volcanoes, waterfalls, snorkelling, zip lining, hiking and golf.
Debbie Hogan, senior director of sales for the Big Island Visitors Bureau, says holding the exchange on the Big Island was a big win for the bureau, as the island hasn’t always been first choice for visitors to the tropical destination. But with more and more direct flights

Brand USA funding cut slammed

Wednesday, 07 June 2017 03:32

‘Perplexing,’ is how US Travel Association president and CEO Roger Dow has described the proposed elimination of the Brand USA tourism marketing agency in President Trump's federal budget document.
With the country’s major travel trade event underway in Washington DC this week and international visitation being the number two export supporting 15 million American jobs, Dow is ‘struggling to understand' how cutting Brand USA squares with the administration’s stated priorities.

One big welcome?

Wednesday, 07 June 2017 03:17

The proposed budget cut for Brand USA was not the only ‘elephant in the room’ when the organisation’s president and CEO Chris Thompson addressed 500 media from 70 countries at the official IPW 2017 press conference in Washington DC yesterday.
The other was President Trump’s not particularly welcoming executive order limiting travel from six predominantly Muslim countries.

Motoring home in USA

Friday, 03 March 2017 17:25

A motorhome drive from Washington DC to Orlando, taking in the Carolinas on the way, is one of the new suggested itineraries in the new Cruise America Tourbook.
Tracy Thompson, sales and marketing manager with Cruise America says people who hire campervans can obviously work out their own route, but the suggested itineraries offer ideas to start with.
The Washington DC to Orlando itinerary suggests taking 15 days and visiting places such as First Landing State Park, Kitty Hawk, Myrtle Beach and Savannah.

Kidafornia targets Kiwi families

Friday, 03 March 2017 17:22

When it comes to families, California has much more than theme parks, says Melanie Mayer, travel industry manager with states tourism organisation.
A new push towards the family market was highlighted by Visit California at the Brand USA Discover America evening in Auckland this week.
Kidafornia, is a just launched campaign that will run for about 18 months.

What Trump slump?

Friday, 10 February 2017 22:02

By Lisa Bradley

While overall visits to the US appear to have taken a hit following the release of President Donald Trump’s banned list, hardy Kiwi travellers are still eager to tour there this year.
New Zealand trade reports Kiwi interest in the destination has not waned under Trump’s leadership, and House of Travel, The Travel Corporation and Flight Centre predict the US can continue to enjoy healthy visitor numbers from here.  
The Kiwi position appears to buck international statistics, revealed this week by ForwardKeys. The travel analyst’s figures show there had been a 6.5% worldwide drop in travel to the US in the week following Trump’s 27 January release of his seven-country

The show goes on for Brand USA in spite of visa turmoil

Wednesday, 01 February 2017 08:09

By Lisa Bradley
A cloud may be hanging over visa entry into America, but that hasn’t dampened the spirits of Brand USA Zealand, which has opened registration for its annual roadshow.
Registrations were being received from yesterday, just days after The White House placed a 90-day ban on immigration to the US for individuals from Iran, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.
The US Embassy and Consulate in New Zealand advises those with dual nationality of one of these countries also fall under President Donald Trump’s executive order.  

Travellers go ga ga for La La Land

Tuesday, 17 January 2017 14:37

Movie-going travellers intoxicated by Golden Globe-winning La La Land are now being presented with a guide to one of the film’s primary characters – the city of Los Angeles. Discover Los Angeles has created the guide, available at
La La Land, which features the film’s must-see locations and the imagery of social influencer @paperboyo, with whom the travel body has partnered with.
La La Land, released in New Zealand on Boxing Day, tells the story of aspiring actress Mia (Emma Stone) and jazz musician Sebastian (Ryan Gosling), who are chasing their dreams in modern-day Los Angeles. It features more than 40 locations in the City of Angels.  

Star Wars museum for LA

Tuesday, 17 January 2017 13:26

George Lucas has settled on a US city not so far, far away as the location for a US$1 billion museum to house his Star Wars memorabilia.  
Exposition Park in Los Angeles won the tussle for Lucas’ Museum of Narrative Art over rival San Francisco.
Lucas, 72, has been trying to build the museum for more than 10 years. He will contribute about $1 billion to the project alongside his art and an endowment of at least US$400 million.
The director’s art collection is said to consist of about 10,000 paintings and illustrations as well as memorabilia from Star Wars  and The Ten Commandments.

Argentina ripe for incentives

Friday, 21 October 2016 09:00

Organisers of incentive travel, corporate retreats and other group movements are being urged to think beyond Buenos Aires when recommending Argentina to their clients.
Maria Jose Barciela, marketing director of boutique travel operator Across Argentina, has been living in Auckland and working the New Zealand and Australian markets since April this year.
Born and bred in Buenos Aires, Barciela says she loves the city but that Kiwi organisers and delegates will find Argentina’s real gems beyond the city boundaries. ‘Of course, people can find that city experience but Argentina’s natural attractions are amazing. At the same time they will find a high level of service, and international standards.’

Brand USA wants Kiwi agents

Saturday, 08 October 2016 19:37

Brand USA has put the microscope on the needs and strategies of the Kiwi industry selling into America.

Matt Fletcher, who was named the Brand USA Australia and New Zealand director a month ago, was in Auckland for three days talking to major retailers and wholesalers, determining how the organisation can partner more closely to trade here. ‘There is increased opportunity with the increased airlift, but that also creates a need to maximise that opportunity so we get even more momentum,’ Fletcher says.

Brand USA is now sourcing new products to further entice Kiwi travellers to its shores. There has been a strong focus on America’s great outdoors this year, and in 2017 attention will turn to pop culture. ‘There is no destination like it in the world for this… sports and concerts are not an established product here, and it’s going be an area of opportunity for us.'

America – Kiwi crowd goes Wild

Friday, 26 August 2016 15:30

Brand USA in conjunction with the US Ambassador, Mark Gilbert, celebrated the 100th anniversary of the US National Park Service with a VIP screening of the documentary America Wild: National Parks Adventure at Auckland’s IMAX theatre this week. America Wild, filmed in more than 30 national parks across the USA with IMAX 3D cameras, follows three adventurers as they hike, climb and explore their way across a few of the USA’s national parks.

In town for the launch, Anne Madison chief strategy and communication officer for Brand USA says it was appropriate to screen the movie here as New Zealanders have a shared interest in preserving their parks. ‘There is a juxtaposition between the outdoors and the city in New Zealand insofar as Kiwis are never too far from the outdoors and are regarded as natural explorers. With this movie, we want to show what unexpected surprises are in store within the US National Parks.’

There are more than 400 state and national parks throughout the USA and Madison says more national parks have been established under this current president than previous. ‘He is a positive influence and wants to ensure the protection and preservation of the great outdoors,’ she says. ‘So many Kiwis would not be aware they are

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