Travelbiz E-Zine
23
May
2024

Visit USA Roadshow 22 May 2024

The Visit USA Roadshow came to town in style yesterday. Chairperson Tryphavana Cross and Tony Lane, Executive Director Visit USA Committee Ireland, hosted media and travel trade partners to a delicious lunch in the Iveagh Garden Hotel, Dublin. Participating members from Kennedy Space Centre Visitor Complex, Visit Savannnah, Nashville, Santa Monica, Florida Keys & Key West and Travel Texas gave us insightful updates on these destinations. Your Travelbiz Reporter, Marian Benton, was delighted to attend and to share these with you.

Tryphavana introduced everyone and told us that Irish travel to the USA has rebounded so well since 2019.  In 2023 figures were 87% of 2019, which was a really good year, but quarter one of 2024 is up 20% already. With over 50,000 visitors Ireland is number one per capita and number sixteen for visitations to the USA. This is a great result for Ireland (punching above our weight again). Tryphavana said the USA is a great place to visit with and ever expanding range of products on offer.

Philip from the Kennedy Space Centre Visitor Complex reminded us that a visit to the Centre is a very interactive experience offering a unique glimpse into space exploration history and the future. You have the opportunity to see the mighty Saturn V that propelled astronauts to the moon and the Space Shuttle Atlantis. There are 90 rocket launches scheduled for this year and the Centre offers several viewing options for the public. You also have the opportunity to meet a real veteran NASA astronaut!

Della from Visit Savannah concedes that it is not difficult to sell the beautiful and historic city of Savannah. Many films were shot there the most famous being Forest Gump. It is a small and very walkable city with beautifully preserved antebellum architecture. Food and music feature strongly. River Street is the main hub for shops, restaurants and views of the river. Savannah is one of the most haunted cities in the USA and, for those looking for something a little offbeat, there are numerous ghost tours from which to choose.

Karl from Florida Keys & Key West really whetted our appetites for this stunningly beautiful area. This string of tropical islands stretches 120 miles off the southern tip of Florida between the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. This has to be the ultimate road trip. The upper Keys and Key Largo are relaxed and have the added benefit of being near the Everglades. Islamorada is made up of six islands and is known for its fishing, swimming with dolphins and unbelievable sunsets. No visit would be complete without a visit to the southernmost city of Key West to see Ernest Hemingway’s house and drink a daiquiri in Sloppy Joe’s bar in his memory.7

Megan was keen to tell us that whilst Nashville is Music City and the home of country music with over 180 music venues including the Grand Ole Oprey, The Ryman Auditorium and the Country Music Hall of Fame that there are neighbourhoods also worth visiting including Green Hills with its upmarket shopping, Germantown, home to the Tennessee State Museum, boutiques and many of Nashville’s most acclaimed restaurants, 12 South, a mecca for shopping and dining and currently the ‘hot’ neighbourhood and the historic area of East Nashville a hub of arts, local music, restaurants and craft beer. Megan also told us about the new intercity bus service from Memphis to Nashville.

Josh from Santa Monica informed us that Santa Monica is just 8 miles from Los Angeles Airport, is 8 square miles in size and has 8 neighbourhoods! Santa Monica is the classic Southern California beach town with a vibrant cityscape and almost 4 miles of pristine beach on the Pacific Ocean with its famous Pier. The Getty Villa Museum with its 44,000 Greek and Roman artifacts is definitely worth a visit. Santa Monica has over 400 restaurants, swanky nightclubs and unmatched shopping.

Jane from Travel Texas waxed lyrical about the Lone Star State, the second largest in the USA (for you quiz buffs Alaska is the largest). Texas has over 400 miles of coastline along the Gulf Coast, prairies and lakes and an endless variety of experiences including star gazing, Western Heritage in Dallas Forth Worth, the Alamo Mission in San Antonio, the wine country of Fredericksburg and the Austin Music festivals. The centenary of Route 66 takes place in 2026. 200 miles of the famous Route crosses the Texas Panhandle and a Texas Route 66 Festival takes place annually along the route.

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