Southern stars shine bright
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).