Check out the highlights of the Ausmerica megafam!
Brand USA and Qantas Airlines recently hosted their first familiarization tour from Australia (the ninth largest source market for international tourists to the USA). Five groups of 10 travel agents traveled on one of five different itineraries throughout the United States. Destinations included: Boston/New England, Florida, Arizona, Texas and New Orleans, as well as surrounding areas. Dubbed the Ausmerica Megafam, the event culminated with an event in Los Angeles at Universal Studios.
Brand USA recently hosted its first familiarization tour from Australia (the ninth largest source market for international tourists to the USA). Brand USA partnered with Qantas, the number one Australian airline with connections to more than 60 cities across the USA.
Dubbed the Ausmerica Megafam, five groups of 10 travel agents traveled on one of five different itineraries throughout the United States. Destinations included: New York/Boston, Florida, Arizona, Texas and New Orleans, as well as surrounding areas. Each group had unique experiences and was able to explore and discover the USA’s land of awesome opportunities.
The first group of agents took in the sights of New York City from both land and sea, with a bicycle tour through Central Park and a Circle Line Cruise around the Statue of Liberty. Then on their way to Boston, they were taken back in time at Plimoth Plantation where they enjoyed a traditional Thanksgiving meal. Once in Boston, the agents walked the famed Freedom trail and explored several of the city’s museums.
Agents on the Florida itinerary started their adventure with an airboat ride spotting alligators. Then it was on to Orlando’s Disney World and Universal Studios. In Miami, agents enjoyed both the sunshine and the night scene during a Style Ventures city tour and an Island Queen Cruise for a Millionaire’s Row tour.
The Arizona itinerary showcased Phoenix, Scottsdale, Mesa, and Flagstaff. Agents had the opportunity to explore the Apache Trail and feast on some of the best Mexican food in the “the Valley of the Sun.” The travel agents also enjoyed some southwestern music at the Musical Saloon as well as the Museum Club, a Historic landmark that plays host to national country acts as well as regional bands.
The Texas itinerary had the travel agents exploring the cowboy life in Dallas and Fort Worth. They went to the Fort Worth Herd, the World’s only twice-daily cattle drive, the Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame and horseback riding at Wildcatter Ranch. They also visited the Dallas Art District and several museums to round out the trip.
Agents on the New Orleans trip explored the city’s French Quarter and Mardi Gras World and went on a local swamp tour. In Baton Rouge, agents visited Louisiana’s Old State Capitol, Magnolia Mound Plantation and Vermilionville for some history and culture. They also enjoyed some of the finest southern cuisine whether it was at a dinner and jazz cruise aboard the Creole Queen or lunch at the Louisiana Culinary Institute.
Agents were able to capture the sights and memories from their trips via Go Pro cameras. The megafam culminated with an event in Los Angeles where all of the agents shared their experiences and videos from their itineraries.
Stay tuned – we’ll be posting the winning agents’ video to our YouTube channel soon!
Brand USA hosted its first familiarization tour from Australia (the ninth largest source market for international tourists to the USA). The team of travel agents that traveled throughout NYC and Massachusetts, tells their story below.
After arriving in NYC on Monday night, we checked into the beautiful Affinia Hotel, located in Midtown Manhattan. The hotel just finished a huge renovation, which has turned it into a beautiful, funky property. We had dinner across the street at the Novotel New York Times Square, which elicited lots of “oohs” and “aahs” for its incredible views. Some of the group then went for karaoke at a local Irish Bar, while plotting out the story line for our megafam video “The Adventures of King Kong in NYC and Massachusetts”
Tuesday morning began with a hearty breakfast at Ben’s Kosher Restaurant and Delicatessen – where we learned all about what makes a meal kosher. We then experienced the subway en route to the Top of the Rock at the Rockefeller Center (such amazing panoramic views and fabulous New York history), before getting some fresh air and exercise on a bicycle tour through the pretty autumn colours of Central Park. Not to be deterred by the chilly winds, we then headed to the Wellington Hotel for a delicious Greek lunch.
Some of our group hit the shops and museums while others took the Circle Line Cruise, taking in the sights of Manhattan and Lady Liberty from the water. We then regrouped at the fabulous Renaissance at Times Square, with stunning views. A comedy show on Broadway at Caroline’s brought lots of laughs at the end of the night. The whole stay was made seamless by the fabulous service from SuperShuttle and the great organisation, support and company of NYC & Co.
The next day we headed to the historic Plymouth, where Plimoth Plantation took us through the ages, from the indigenous people and their perspective on arrivals from the Old World, through to the story of the American Thanksgiving. Plymoth Rock and a replica of the Mayflower had fascinating stories and insights into America’s early history. The group feasted on a hearty, traditional Thanksgiving meal before continuing on to Boston.
After checking into the Revere Hotel, a few quiet beers were experienced at one of Boston’s many Irish pubs. The next day the exploration began, with a Duck Tour (holler….quack!). The amphibious tour took the group past many of Boston’s landmarks, both on land and on water. We took in the Museum of Fine Arts as well as taking a self guided tour along the Freedom Trail. Many group members browsed through Boston’s famed Faneuil Hall. The night ended with a magnificent, classy meal at the Langham, a beautiful dining room, which was previously a bank. It was a highlight of the trip.
The following day was a special time to be in Boston; the 50th Anniversary of the Assassination of JFK. What better place to experience and learn about his significance to the country than a visit to the JFK Museum. Afterwards we headed to the historic Omni Parker House Hotel to dine in the restaurant where JFK had proposed to Jackie.
Our final experience was a visit to Cambridge and the university grounds of Harvard and MIT, including a fascinating visit to the Museum of Natural History at Harvard, which is home to 28 million artifacts!
Brand USA recently hosted its first familiarization tour from Australia (the ninth largest source market for international tourists to the USA). Five groups of 10 travel agents traveled on one of five different itineraries throughout the United States. Destinations included: Boston/New England, Florida, Arizona, Texas and New Orleans, as well as surrounding areas. Dubbed the Ausmerica Megafam, the event culminated with an event in Los Angeles.
The happy team of travel agents that traveled throughout Florida, tells their story below.
Alligators, VIP tours, roller coasters, the Happiest Place on Earth, shopping, dancing, eating, more dancing… as soon as we at Team Florida saw the Brand USA Megafam itinerary, we knew we were in for a treat!
After an early start on day one, the group headed to Boggy Creek to discover what’s lurking under the swamp water. During the airboat ride, we were fortunate enough to spot a Florida alligator in its natural habitat. Better still, the captain let our much-loved mascot, ‘Flory’ the Minion drive the boat!
We then went to Orlando and the Happiest Place on Earth aka Disney World and it certainly lived up to its name. After a few scary roller coasters at Hollywood Studios, we went to Animal Kingdom and immersed ourselves in an African safari. What a day!
Next on the agenda was the beautiful NINE18 restaurant which overlooked a golf course and had a view to-die-for. After dinner, our crisp American dollars were burning holes in our pockets – it was time to shop up a storm! The Premium Outlets were a dream come true for a group of 10 Aussie shopaholics; it was definitely time to start utilizing those second suitcases.
Day two was all about the VIP treatment for Team Florida. We were lucky enough to be treated to a VIP Experience tour at Universal Studios Orlando and Island of Adventures… queuing for rides? Not us! From witnessing the intergalactic war on the new TRANSFORMERS: The Ride – 3D to sampling some “butterbeer” alongside Harry Potter at Hogsmeade, everyone immersed themselves in the theme park fun. That evening, the group headed to Church Street in Downtown Orlando for a tapas feast and some cocktails on a rooftop bar – the perfect end to a perfect day.
That marked the end of our Orlando adventure and it was time to head to Miami. We kept ourselves occupied on the three hour bus journey by learning the lyrics to Will Smith’s famous song, Miami, which soon became the soundtrack to our trip!
After checking in to the stunning Grand Beach Hotel, Team Florida boarded an Island Queen Cruise for a Millionaire’s Row tour. We all loved seeing the homes of the rich and the famous (yes, we are all a little celebrity-obsessed!). All that fun can certainly work up an appetite… and fortunately, the portion sizes at Hard Rock Café were out of this world!
The next day, we explored every district of Miami on a four-hour Style Ventures city tour. From Domino Park in Little Havana to the famous steps where Versace was shot in Miami Beach, we loved soaking up the atmosphere and learning about the architecture and history of this amazing city. That evening, we enjoyed an amazing Asian-inspired menu at the iconic Clevelander Hotel South Beach. A hop, skip and a jump away, the Clevelander was also home to an open-air dance floor. In the words of Will Smith, it was time to ‘party in the city where the heat is on’…And party we did!
Our heads were a little sore the following morning, but luckily the only strenuous activity on the agenda was getting to the airport and catching a flight to Los Angeles. With heavy hearts, it was time to say goodbye to the sunshine state. WE LOVE YOU, FLORIDA!
Brand USA recently hosted a “Southern Cuisine & Whiskey” press trip through Alabama, Tennessee and Kentucky to provide journalists from Germany exposure to some of the unique travel opportunities available in the southern region of the USA. Stuttgarter Zeitung, WAZ, Südwest Presse, Frankfurter Neue Presse and Spotlight Magazin.
The tour began in Montgomery, Alabama with a visit to the Dexter Ave Parsonage and a historic walking tour through downtown Montgomery. The following day the journalists continued to the soulful city of Birmingham to explore the Civil Rights Institute and the 16th Street Baptist Church, a central landmark in the Birmingham Civil Rights District.
The third day took the journalists to the cities of Florence and Muscle Shoals to visit the “Father of Blues”, W.C. Handy’s Home and FAME Studios.
Next up was Huntsville, home to the one-of-a-kind U.S. Space & Rocket Center where simulators let you experience a space shot, G-forces and weightlessness onboard a spacecraft. Throughout the trip the journalists enjoyed some of the delicious southern food local to Alabama.
After Alabama, the crew proceeded to Tenneseee, a state known for it’s diverse music scene and whiskey. The first stop was at Jack Daniel’s Whiskey Distillery in Lynchburg, followed by visits to the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville. The journalists also experienced a local wine tasting at Arrington Vineyards.
Lastly, the press trip concluded in Kentucky for a taste of the state’s famous bourbon. In Bardstown, they attended the Kentucky Bourbon Festival with The Great Kentucky Bourbon Tasting & Gala, which was definitely one of the highlights of the trip. They also visited both the Willett and Heaven Hill distilleries.
The last day of the tour was spent in Louisville, Kentucky’s largest city. There the journalists were given time their own to explore various points of interest within the city, including the Muhammad Ali Center and the Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory, where the famous baseball bats are manufactured. The day culminated with dynamic tour hosted by City Taste Tour”, which included history, shopping, dining and more.
A special thank you to Delta Air Lines and Alamo for helping with transportation. We also appreciate the support of:
- Grey Brennan from Alabama Tourism Department
- Meg Lewis of Montgomery CVB
- Vickie Ashford of Birmingham CVB
- Charles Winters of Huntsville CVB
- Ninon Parker of Muscle Shoals
- Bill Lang of Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail
- Tennessee Tourism
- Mr. Wolfgang Streitbörger, the German rep
- Mike Mangeot and Marge Bateman from Kentucky Tourism
- Dawn Przystal from Bardstown CVB
- Susan Dallas from Louisville CVB
Without their help, the “Southern Cuisine & Whiskey” press trip would not have been as great of an event.
Stay tuned for more updates from our Brand USA press trips.