South­ern stars shine bright

Selling Travel - - The Review: Trade Show Report -

THIS year’s Travel South USA In­ter­na­tional Show­case trade show, a bou­tique event which brings sup­pli­ers of tourism prod­ucts from a dozen south­ern states to­gether with tour op­er­a­tors from around the world, at­tracted the largest UK and Ir­ish del­e­ga­tion in the event’s sev­enyear his­tory.

Op­er­a­tors in a chilly Nashville in­cluded Purely Travel, Va­ca­tions to Amer­ica, Amer­ica As You Like It, Leger Hol­i­days, Trav­el­sphere and Amer­i­can Hol­i­days (Ire­land).

The event, which at­tracted 463 del­e­gates that in­cluded 120 in­ter­na­tional buy­ers, show­cased des­ti­na­tions, ho­tels and ex­pe­ri­ences in Ten­nessee, Mis­sis­sippi, Alabama, Arkansas, Ge­or­gia, Ken­tucky, Mis­souri, North Carolina, South Carolina, West Vir­ginia, Vir­ginia and Louisiana.

Themes on the show floor com­mon to all South­ern states in­cluded mu­sic, cul­ture, cui­sine, his­tory and the U.S. Civil Rights Trail, which launched last year.

Liz Bit­tner, Pres­i­dent and CEO, Travel South, said: “The South­ern USA has en­joyed dou­ble-digit in­creases from the UK and Ire­land for three years in a row, beat­ing the na­tional av­er­ages, and we ex­pect this trend to con­tinue.

“Whole­sale op­er­a­tors con­tinue to in­vest in our re­gion, with new fly-drive prod­ucts, city stays and even spe­cial­ity niche pro­grammes for themes like mu­sic and his­tory… 2019 is poised to be an­other ter­rific year for the South­ern USA, and the travel trades in the UK and Ire­land will be cru­cial to con­tin­u­ing this mo­men­tum.”

Tourism is worth over $159 bil­lion to a re­gion now healthily served by flights from the UK.

Bri­tish Air­ways has di­rect ser­vices be­tween Heathrow and Atlanta, Nashville (daily from March 31), New Or­leans (five flights a week) and, from April 4, Charleston, South Carolina (twice weekly).

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