Category Archives: News

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.

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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.

HOW WILL BREXIT AFFECT TRAVEL FROM THE UK TO THE USA & THE US TRAVEL INDUSTRY

The following is taken from a recent update from INBOUND in the USA….

I’d like to share with you the following in response to the question “How Will The Brexit Affect US Tour and Travel industry.”

Initially, with the devaluation of the  Euro and GBP, it will certainly reduce travel arrivals from the continent to the USA, since roughly 40 percent of inbound tourism is sourced from the EU countries, while, at the same time, spurt interest from U.S. travellers in Europe. Already, tour operators have jumped on this aggressively on Facebook. 

The real issue for selling the U.S. will be the end game, guessing where the exchange rate will finally rest without volatility, which is how the trade survived profoundly shocking disruptions of the Gulf War in the 90’s, 9/11 and the Great Recession.  A stable exchange rate will at least allow those with resources to adapt.

(This morning (28 June), four days after the BREXIT vote, the Pound had fallen from $1.47 vs. the U.S. Dollar to $1.32, a decline of about 10 percent. The Euro had dropped from $1.12 to $1.10)

Regarding a silver lining, the only one I see for now is a cautionary tale where other countries such as France and Holland that have leaders already been beating the drum for their own exits, see first-hand the chaos, disruption and recriminations that have resulted in over 3 million people, many of whom voted to ‘Leave,’ sign a petition for a revote. And this from a country that didn’t have to suffer the unravelling of reverting from the Euro back to their original currency.  

We’re advising U.S. clients that it is important now to maintain relationships with European operators as never before and offer help once the rates stabilize to create financial incentives to come to the US.  MICE business will be the first to feel the impact as incentive travel will remain in Europe but leisure may return once they have confidence that the currency has found a bottom such as it did for Australia which shot up in 2015 by 18% even though the exchange rate dropped 30% in that period.

OUR VIEW

Our view and the message to US suppliers is that they need to continue to work tactically with the U.K operators, especially as we start to move in to the summer lates period and also the launch for a number of 2017 programmes. This will be very well received at this time and in fact more business may result from it.

North America is the largest long haul destination for the UK Market, in some cases accounting for up to 50% of an operators business. During this period of volatility they will be look for support and those destinations and suppliers that provide this will see the rewards in the long term.

ATLANTIC CITY – SUMMER CONCERTS & EVENTS

Atlantic City, the Entertainment Capital of the Jersey Shore, will host a jam packed summer with a series of beach concerts as an exciting centerpiece, thanks to a partnership with the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority (CRDA) and Live Nation.

Surf and sand go hand in hand with Jimmy Buffett, who brings his Coral Reefer Band with special guest G. Love & Special Sauce to delight his Parrothead followers on Saturday, August 13 (tickets on sale June 3). The acclaimed Zac Brown Band with Drake White and The Big Fire takes over the stage on Thursday, September 1 (tickets on sale May 27), and the country beat continues with Florida Georgia Line with Cole Swindell, The Cadillac Three and Kane Brown on Saturday, September 3 (tickets on sale June 10). Tickets will be available at Ticketmaster.com, Ticketmaster Outlets. A portion of the proceeds from ticket sales will go to the Boys & Girls Club of Atlantic City.

CRDA has provided as much as $2 million to support six or more concerts this summer; more big acts are to be announced. In the past two years, beach concerts have drawn hundreds of thousands of fans to enjoy live music accompanied by warm sand, ocean breezes and the world-famous Atlantic City Boardwalk.

“Presenting world-class entertainment to Atlantic City year after year is an honor to say the least,” said Geoff Gordon, Live Nation Philadelphia Regional President. “Our team, along with the CRDA, the mayor’s office, and all our municipal and city partners, couldn’t be more excited to be a part of another year of summer programming for the city.”

“This will be a fun and busy summer in Atlantic City,” said CRDA Board Chairman Robert Mulcahy. “In addition to the beach concerts and numerous headliners, revue acts and family-oriented shows throughout the city, there’s a fantastic schedule of fun special events. CRDA is proud to provide support to many of the events held this summer and throughout the year in Atlantic City.”

Additional headliners appearing in Atlantic City this summer include Luke Bryan and Justin Bieber in concert at Boardwalk Hall (Friday, June 3 and Friday, July 15 respectively), plus casino showroom headliners such as Bob Dylan, The Band Perry and Lady Antebellum and many others.

There’s no lack of special events in Atlantic City this summer, many designed for the whole family. Summer kicks off Friday, May 27, with the Third Annual Beach Ball Drop on the Boardwalk at Resorts Atlantic City and Tropicana’s Free Boardwalk Block Party. Tropicana also offers weekly Saturday night fireworks from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day weekend.

The Inaugural Atlantic City Food Truck Festival at Brighton Park takes place Sunday, June 19, and the Annual Chefs at the Shore offers another taste of AC while supporting the Atlantic City Aquarium on Thursday, June 23 at Gardner’s Basin. Foodies will also enjoy the 9th Annual Taste of the Quarter on Monday, August 22 at Tropicana.

July Fourth fireworks are a must, and Atlantic City will offer multiple viewing areas, as in previous years.

On Wednesday, August 3, the National Sports Collectors Convention is at the Atlantic City Convention Center, and Monday, August 15, the Atlantic City Salutes America’s Armed Forces Parade on the Boardwalk is a prelude to the Atlantic City Airshow “Thunder Over the Boardwalk,” held Wednesday, August 17, over the beach and Boardwalk.

There’s plenty for athletes, too, with Chickie’s & Pete’s 5K Boardwalk Run on Saturday, August 20; and the inaugural Atlantic City Ironman 70.3 on Sunday, September 18, among others.

And you won’t want to miss Atlantic City’s crowning glory, the Miss America Parade and Pageant. The Parade is scheduled for Saturday, September 10, followed by the Pageant at Boardwalk Hall on Sunday, September 11.

For information on these events and many more, visit http://www.atlanticcitynj.com/events/.

HARRISBURG HERSHEY RVB APPOINTS GREG EVANS CONSULTANCY FOR UK & EIRE

Harrisburg Hershey Region Visitors Bureau (HHRVB) announced it was increasing its investment in sales and marketing within the UK & Ireland market and has contracted The Greg Evans Consultancy to represent the Hershey Harrisburg Region starting in July 2016.

“We see a great value in retaining the Greg Evans Consultancy as full-time representatives of our region in the UK,” said Audrey Bialas, sales director HHRVB. “Greg Evans has represented the Commonwealth in the UK for nearly twenty years, so he knows our region well and he is exceptional at selling our destination to his vast network of contacts. There is also an exponential return on our modest initial investment with this firm at this time because of the cooperative program our neighbouring DMOs have already established with Evans.”

The HHRVB contract with GEC will dovetail with the sales and marketing programs already underway for Philadelphia and The Countryside of Philadelphia group in the UK & Ireland. That now guarantees the HHR will be actively promoted as an official stakeholder in the cooperative sales, marketing, and public relations efforts in England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and Ireland.

“This was our opportunity to buy into a program that is already in place with a much greater reach throughout the UK than we could have afforded to do alone,” said Bialas. “By working collaboratively with Philadelphia and The Countryside of Philadelphia group under the representation of The Greg Evans Marketing & Communications Consultancy is an example of the whole effort being much greater than the sum of its parts.”