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BINDLESTIFF TOURS

April 2017 – The Greg Evans Consultancy is pleased to announce it has been appointed as the UK and Ireland sales and marketing office for small group adventure specialist Bindlestiff Tours.

Founded in 2011, Bindlestiff Tours specialises in operating small group adventure tours in the American West with a focus on Nevada, Utah, Arizona, California, Pacific Northwest and Alaska offering a range of one to seven-day experiences. Based in Las Vegas, the company offers clients the opportunity to explore world-famous landscapes and National Parks, which are home to some of the most breath-taking scenery in the US, including Monument Valley, Yosemite, Bryce and Antelope Canyon, Death Valley and also the Grand Canyon.

Alongside day-tours, the overnight tour programmes provided by Bindlestiff Tours also include traditional American post-hike activities including evenings around the campfire, BBQs by the lake and camping under the stars. With knowledgeable and enthusiastic tour guides, the award-winning group adventure specialist is dedicated in providing the best for travellers looking to explore the American Southwest’s unique natural landscapes with like-minded international travellers.

For more details please get in touch
mark@gregevansconsultancy.com

The Writing’s On The Wall In Philadelphia’s Art Scene This Summer

For globetrotters looking for a dose of authentic culture and an inspiring burst of art this summer, Philadelphia offers something for all artistic tastes to get excited about. Home to three of the greatest museums of art in America – the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Barnes Foundation and Pennsylvania Academy Of The Fine Arts – the city has long been established as a cultural hub.

What is more, Mural Arts Philadelphia has just relaunched its programme of tours in time for the summer, so visitors can marvel at some of the city’s 4,000 murals between more traditional museum visits.

Mural Arts Tour Summer Programme
Offering a taste of the unique and fascinating stories behind the art that has connected communities throughout the city for over 30 years, arts fans should look no further than a Philadelphia Mural Arts Tour for their summer holiday itinerary. The programme brings art to life with its offerings of trolley jaunts, guided walks and even Segway excursions, each showcasing public artworks instilled with the notion that art ignites change and encourages learning. Each year, the professionally-trained guides lead 12,000 residents and visitors through the striking outdoor gallery that has become an intrinsic part of the city’s landscape and is renowned globally. Tours can now be booked for April onwards and tickets start from $22 (£17.67) per person. For more information and to book, visit www.muralarts.org/.

Philadelphia Museum of Art
While they were made world-famous by Rocky Balboa, the steps up to the Philadelphia Museum of Art are also a gateway to some of the finest culture in the United States. Visitors can roam the expansive space for hours, enjoying the 240,000 artistic and architectural offerings from global talents that are displayed in permanent and semi-permanent exhibition rooms. With sculptures, paintings, prints, photographs and more on show, there really is something for every whim, stretched across one of America’s largest museums. Opening hours are 10am to 5pm, Tuesday through to Sunday, and admission starts from $14 (£11.21) for children aged 13-18 and adult tickets cost $20 (£16.07). Free for under-12s. For more information, visit www.philamuseum.org/.

The Barnes Foundation
Home to over 3,000 masterpieces, including 181 Renoirs, 69 Cézannes, 59 Matisses, 46 Picassos, 16 Modiglianis and 7 Van Goghs, plus textiles, metalwork, decorative objects, African Sculpture, Native American ceramics and jewellery, and Pennsylvania German furniture. Since opening in 1922, the Barnes Foundation has welcomed over one million visitors and promoted “the advancement of education and the appreciation of the fine arts and horticulture.” Visitors can either study the masterpieces in each gallery unaccompanied or opt for a guided tour on their favourite artist. And on the first Friday of every month, the museum extends its opening hours from 6pm – 9pm and offers free admission on the first Sunday of every month. Standard opening hours are 10am to 5pm, Wednesday through to Monday, and admission starts from $10 (£8.01) for children aged 6-18 and adult tickets cost $25 (£20.08). Free for under-5s. For more information, visit www.barnesfoundation.org.

Pennsylvania Academy Of The Fine Arts
Founded in 1805, the Pennsylvania Academy Of The Fine Arts (PAFA) was the first art museum and art school to be established in the United States. Teeming with culture, the museum is renowned globally for its collections of 19th- and 20th-century American paintings and sculptures, while its archives hold important materials for the study of American art history, museums and art training. With a busy calendar of events and temporary exhibitions scheduled throughout the summer, PAFA has plenty on offer to keep the most discerning traveller entertained. Weekday opening hours are 10am to 5pm on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, while doors do not close until 9pm on Wednesday. Weekend hours are 11am to 5pm. Admission starts from $8 (£6.41) for children aged 13-18 and adult tickets cost $15 (£12.05). Free for under-12s. For more information, visit www.pafa.org/visit.

For more information on Philadelphia, visit the Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau’s website, www.discoverphl.co.uk

PHILADELPHIA TO WELCOME PLETHORA OF NEW TOURISM DEVELOPMENTS IN 2017

With myriad new openings planned to arrive into the city in 2017, there’s no time like the present to book a trip to Philadelphia, the birthplace of America.

Visitors in 2017 will be able to enjoy a number of new experiences scheduled to open in Philadelphia including a day trip of the city on the new Total Philly Tour, a cultural visit to the new Museum of the American Revolution and an immersive and educational experience with the latest Virtual Reality demonstration at the Franklin Institution.

Launch of Total Philly Tour
Launching in 2017, the ‘Total Philly Tour’ will take visitors through the city’s hotspots and hidden gems. Participants can relish in tasting the delicious food at Jewish delis and the famous Italian Market – the oldest and largest everyday open-air market in America – before paying homage to the unmissable sights within the historic district. This tour also includes a glimpse of public art and stunning mosaics in the Bella Vista neighbourhood and Magic Gardens, adding intricate beauty to any traveller’s photo collection. To top it all off, the tour comes to a close with a local beer expert, who will guide visitors through the booming local bar and pub scene, showcasing the city’s regional breweries and microbrews. The tour starts from outside New Image Art & Framing (601 South 9th Street) at 10am, finishing at 7pm. Strictly over 21s. For more information, visit www.urbanadventures.com/Philadelphia-tour-total-philly-tour.

Museum of the American Revolution to Open in April
Firmly marking 2017 as a year to celebrate Philadelphia’s colourful past, the state-of-the-art Museum of the American Revolution will open its doors to the public in April next year. Taking visitors on a journey through the remarkable story of America’s founding, the stunning building will feature four floors of permanent and temporary exhibition galleries. Aptly located in the historic heart of the city, the museum is just two blocks from Independence Hall and across the street from Carpenter’s Hall, where the Constitutional Congress first met. Original artefacts, immersive settings and dynamic theatres will instil visitors of all ages with a profound understanding of, and interest in, the outbreak of conflict and ensuing new nation. For more information, visit www.amrevmuseum.org/.

Liberty Title and Trust Building to Become Aloft Hotel by Starwood
As the only building on the block of Broad Street and Arch Street to survive the expansion of the Pennsylvania Convention Centre, the 1929 Liberty Title and Trust Building is a stalwart of historic architecture in Philadelphia. After years of being vacant, the historically-certified 21-story complex is being renovated into a 179-room Aloft by Starwood hotel – the second from the brand to open in the city. With its superb access to the city’s ancient and modern landmarks, the hotel will be a fantastic addition to the Philadelphia accommodation scene when it opens in 2017. For more information, visit www.starwoodmediacentre.com/aloft.

New Foodie Hotspots
Why not toast the start of 2017 in one of several new restaurants in Philadelphia. At the iconic Ritz-Carlton Hotel, where luxury and grand decor can be found in abundance, savour Latin-American cuisine in the stunning, newly-decorated hotel lobby restaurant. ‘Aqimero’ is bound to make any occasion special, whether diners have a reservation to stay the night or not. For more information, visit http://www.ritzcarlton.com/en/hotels/philadelphia. For a more vintage dining experience, Chef Michael Schulson has opened ‘Harp & Crown,’ a trendy new foodie hotspot close to Dilworth Park and Philadelphia’s City Hall. Combining charm and luxury with modern sensibility and functionality, the restaurant showcases seasonal ingredients in a menu of global cuisines, as well as a comprehensive cocktail menu at the 32-seat bar. What is more, the space has been transformed to include a two-lane bowling alley in the basement, where revellers can enjoy drinks, pizza and charcuterie between strikes. For more information, visit http://harpcrown.com/.

Franklin Institute Launches Virtual Reality Experience
As one of America’s oldest and most beloved museums, the Franklin Institute has been delighting visitors old and young since it was founded in 1824. Despite its age, this science museum on North 21st Street has long been paving the way for innovative displays of information and the latest new Virtual Reality initiative is no exception. Open to visitors in 2017, the VR demonstration spaces will allow visitors to try out an HTC Vice or Oculus Rift and be transported through outer space, encounter a blue whale, explore the human body, tour the solar system and even take a peek inside a brain! For more information, visit https://www.fi.edu/.

Sad News re Judy McCluskey

On Tuesday 15 November 2016, Judy McCluskey, Agency Principal of travel and tourism PR and Marketing consultancy McCluskey International, passed away. Judy had suffered a heart-attack a week earlier and sadly didn’t recover.

???????????????????????????????????? Judy McCluskey

A small funeral has been arranged for close family and friends on Wednesday 23 November, and a larger memorial will be held on Wednesday 30 November at 12 noon at Our Lady of Grace and St Edward Church on Chiswick High Road, Chiswick, W4 4PU with a reception to follow afterwards.

Please contact info@mccluskey.co.uk to receive an address to send condolence cards or messages to. Those that wish to attend the memorial service on Wednesday 30 November are asked to also please email info@mccluskey.co.uk so that Judy’s family can be informed.

UK Was Top Overseas Market Travelling to Philadelphia in 2015

Plus Icelandair Flights Launching in 2017 Will Add New Connections to Welcome More Visitors

A recent report on 2015 visitor figures in Philadelphia has unveiled the UK as the source of the city’s biggest overseas tourism support with 109,900 UK visitors travelling to Philadelphia in 2015, an increase on the previous year by 4.5%. This total makes up a significant portion of the 638,000 total overseas visitors that arrived in the first World Heritage City in the US for a holiday in 2015.

Since 2014, the total number of foreign visitors to Philadelphia has grown by 3.2%, generating $982 million in economic impact for the region in 2015, versus $966 million in 2014.

“Overseas visitors continue to be a vital part of Philadelphia’s travel and tourism industry,” said Julie Coker Graham, president & CEO, Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau. “We look forward to continued success in driving overseas visitation, capitalising on the interest generated by our targeted sales and marketing efforts.”

Visitors to Philadelphia from overseas in 2015 were most interested in spending their leisure time shopping, sightseeing or visiting the city’s art galleries and museums, as well as seeing national parks and monuments and historical locations. As a result, the top spending categories for overseas visitors (excluding food, lodging and transportation) were shopping, gifts and other purchases, with an average of $434 per visitor per trip, followed by entertainment and recreation, with an average of $200 per visitor per trip.

“As a longtime Philadelphian, it is exciting to see increased interest from overseas visitors to our city,” said City of Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney. “As the first World Heritage City in the United States, we are proud to have visitors from across the globe experience our rich history, cultural attractions and diverse neighbourhoods. We appreciate the valuable work the PHLCVB does to attract overseas visitors to Philadelphia.”

Looking ahead, Icelandair announced last week the launch of a non-stop service from Reykjavik to Philadelphia that will begin in May 2017. Icelandair offers great connections to multiple cities in the UK and Europe, providing more options for travellers looking to visit Philadelphia. The PHLCVB team has worked successfully with the Nordic market for the last few years by building awareness through trade and press opportunities, and will actively support the new partnership between the Philadelphia International Airport and Icelandair.

To learn more about Philadelphia, or for more ideas for what’s on in the city throughout October, go to www.discoverPHL.co.uk.

SPEND HALLOWEEN IN AMERICA’S MOST HAUNTED CITY, PHILADELPHIA, THIS OCTOBER

It’s known as one of America’s most haunted cities – and with good reason too. Selected as the filming location by M. Night Shyamalan for his blockbuster supernatural films, such as The Sixth Sense, and home to some of the oldest relics and institutions in the country, Philadelphia enjoys a highly eerie premise.

For families and couples heading to the city this October, there is a calendar chock-a-block with spooky fun for everyone to get involved with and the Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau is therefore encouraging visitors to come and explore the city’s fascinating past, combined with myriad haunting events this autumn. From the ‘Terror Behind The Walls’ experience at the prison-turned-museum Eastern State Penitentiary to haunted historical sites, such as Fort Mifflin Battlefield, even the most steely character is bound to get a case of the jitters while exploring the United States’ first world heritage city this Halloween.

EASTERN STATE PENITENTIARY
Each year, the Eastern State Penitentiary’s ‘Terror Behind the Walls’ experience is more petrifying and hair-raising than ever. This sprawling abandoned prison, which is renowned for being the most wicked and overcrowded in the country, is the perfect setting for a Halloween adventure owing to its long stretches of dark and empty cell blocks, gothic structure and melancholy history. Visitors are guided through the prison’s 13 dimly-lit dilapidated rooms, with terrifyingly-dressed performers and a spooky story-teller for company. The effects, make-up and costumes add tension to the frightening notion that, since the 11-acre prison was abandoned in 1971, ghost sightings in the building have only increased. For tickets and further information, visit: https://www.easternstate.org/halloween/visit/schedule-prices.

LAUREL HILL CEMETERY
One of the oldest cemeteries in the country, Halloween celebrations at Laurel Hill embrace the site’s inherently spooky atmosphere with a series of extra scary events throughout the month of October for the whole family to enjoy. The calendar has been designed with young and old in mind and includes: an immersive theatre performance featuring the story of a young psychic’s kidnapping; a 5K run and after-party among the gravestones at sunset; and a guided tour through the barely-lit pathways and headstones to hear the rich history of the cemetery and the most notable characters lying six feet under. Taking place between 6 and 28 October, further information and tickets are available here: https://thelaurelhillcemetery.org/.

FORT MIFFLIN BATTLEFIELD
Visit the oldest Revolutionary War battlefield in America, a chilling site that is widely considered the most haunted in the U.S. Still as intact as it stood when hostilities came to an end in 1865, Fort Mifflin will be hosting an an ‘Open Investigation Evening’ on 14 October. The event will be held for visitors looking to track down some of the spirits of colonial soldiers that allegedly stalk the grounds, along with the woman whose ghostly shrieks have been so loud and petrifying that the police have actually been called to investigate (or so the story goes!). Taking place at twilight, visitors are encouraged to bring their own ghost-hunting equipment or just bring a flashlight and take guidance from the enthusiasts nearby. For further information, visit: http://www.fortmifflin.us/.

MÜTTER MUSEUM
The disturbingly informative Mütter Museum, part of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia, features a creepy collection of medial oddities, wax models, antique medical equipment, anatomical ad pathological specimens, and more. Marvel at the conjoined liver of Siamese twins Chang and Eng Bunkers, slides of Albert Einstein’s brain and the mystery surrounding the famous ‘Soap Lady.’ This creepy, yet interesting museum is another great spot to add to a Halloween-themed itinerary. For more information, visit http://muttermuseum.org/.

To learn more about Philadelphia, or for more ideas for what’s on in the city throughout October, go to www.discoverPHL.co.uk.

World Travel Market 2016

World Travel Market is only a few weeks way.

PHILADELPHIA (STAND NA250A-1)

Drop by and see the team from Philadelphia, The Countryside of Philadelphia and the Hershey Harrisburg Region.
On the booth attending this year will be Julie Coker-Graham and Svetlana Yazovskikh from Philadelphia CVB. Mike Bowman, Marc Kaminetsky and Greg Edevane from The Countryside of Philadelphia and Audrey Bialas from Hershey Harrisburg Region. Along with the team our very own Greg Evans will also be on the booth.

ATLANTIC CITY (STAND NA140-3B)

Meet AC will be represented at WTM by Heather Colache this year.

Please contact Greg on email: g.p.evans@btinternet.com or call 01633-481710 for appointments.

Mark White joins up with Greg Evans

The Greg Evans Consultancy (GEC) has announced that Mark White will join the consultancy as a Director with effect from 01 October, 2016.

Greg Evans said “Mark will bring a wealth of experience and additional skills onboard and I look forward to working with him.”

White with a travel career spanning over 20 years, has for the past 12 years worked within the product and purchasing functions of a number of leading long haul tour operators and wholesalers including Gold Medal Travel Group, Travel Counsellors and Thomas Cook Scheduled Businesses.

White said “I look forward to working on new and exciting projects with Greg Evans and the rest of the team.  We will focus on building and maintaining the relationships that GEC has worked hard to establish over the past 5 years and developing new opportunities for GEC.  This is a busy and exciting time for the company and I am looking forward to the challenges that lie ahead.”

KING OF PRUSSIA MALL EXTENSION

On August 18, 2016, Simon, a global leader in retail real estate, will mark the completion of a 155,000-square-foot expansion at King of Prussia Mall. The project, which broke ground in summer 2014, will add 50 new retail and dining storefronts and increase the mall’s footprint to 2.9 million-square-feet, further elevating one of the most productive and iconic malls in the country. This noteworthy project entailed an enclosed multi-level expansion connecting the five-anchor, 1,680,000-square-foot Plaza, and the two-anchor, 902,000-square-foot Court. The two retail areas have been separated by a roadway since their initial construction.

The new expansion will be home to an exciting collection of luxury retailers, upscale dining options, and first-to-market brands including: Altar’d State, Bottega Veneta, Calligaris, CH Carolina Herrera, Clarins, Diane von Furstenberg, Jimmy Choo, MCM, Oliver Peoples, Robert Graham, Superdry and Vince.

Additionally, the corridor will offer shoppers enhanced amenities including a branded dining experience, Savor King of Prussia with popular regional eateries and national favorites including Kevin Sbraga’s The Fat Ham, Michelin-starred chef Michael White’s Nicoletta, Hai Street Kitchen & Co., Shake Shack, Melt Shop and sweetgreen; a concierge-level guest service center; and a new, state-of-the-art parking garage with speed ramps, space location technology, and valet service that directly connects to the expansion, providing close and convenient access to new shops and restaurants.
King of Prussia will continue to open new stores in the corridor throughout the remainder of 2016 and into early 2017. For regular updates on King of Prussia Mall and its expansion, please visit www.simon.com/mall/king-of-prussia.

Global Entry Enrollment Center to Open in London

Applicants can begin scheduling interviews now through the GOES website

WASHINGTON
U.S. Customs and Border Protection will open a Global Entry enrollment center at the U.S. Embassy in London for 60 days beginning on September 26. Conditionally-approved Global Entry applicants can now register for an interview with a CBP officer at the London location on the Global Online Enrollment System (GOES) website. Global Entry, a CBP Trusted Traveller Program, allows for expedited clearance of pre-approved, low-risk travellers.

The enrollment center will be open Monday through Wednesday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. CBP officers will only interview Global Entry applicants with appointments. The U.S. Embassy is located at 24 Grosvenor Square, London W1A 2LQ.

CBP announced in December 2015 that UK citizens could apply for Global Entry following a successful pilot program that began in 2011. More than 8,800 UK citizens are currently enrolled in Global Entry. Nearly five million Britons visited the United States in Fiscal Year 2015 and more than 125,000 of those visitors travelled to the United States four or more times.

Currently available at 49 U.S. airports and 13 preclearance locations, Global Entry streamlines the screening process at airports for trusted travellers. Global Entry members bypass the traditional CBP inspection lines and use an automated kiosk to complete their admission to the United States. The program has enrolled more than 3 million members, and CBP receives approximately 100,000 new applications for Global Entry each month. As an added benefit, Global Entry members are also eligible to participate in the TSA Pre✓™ expedited screening program.

To register for Global Entry, UK citizens will apply through the UK Home Office website and pay a £42 processing fee. If the applicant passes the UK vetting process, they will receive a “UK Access Code,” which applicants will need to enter when applying for Global Entry through CBP’s Global Online Enrollment System (GOES). The non-refundable application fee for a five-year Global Entry membership is $100 and applications must be submitted online. Once the application is approved, a CBP officer will conduct a scheduled interview with the applicant and then make a final eligibility determination.

While the goal of Global Entry is to speed travellers through the process, no traveller is guaranteed expedited screening and members may be selected for further examination when entering the United States. Any violation of the program’s terms and conditions will result in appropriate enforcement action and revocation of the traveller’s membership privileges.

U.S. citizens are eligible to apply for the United Kingdom’s trusted traveller program, Registered Traveller. Members enrolled in Registered Traveller may use E-gates at airports in the United Kingdom. The service costs £70 to apply and an additional £50 a year thereafter. If the application is unsuccessful, the applicant will receive £50 back. To qualify for Registered Traveller, a U.S. citizen must make 4 trips to the UK per year.