It’s summer in Sydney, but America it’s starting to get cold. It’s the time of year that thousands of tourists from the States start flooding into our cities and beaches for a taste of life “Down Under.” Our state is a popular destination for our friends in the States. In fact, the USA is the 2nd largest inbound tourism market for NSW.
Culture Scouts have been showing American travellers the creative side of Sydney through the eyes of a local for nearly three years now. Which is why, when Destination NSW invited me to join the annual USA Roadshow for six days of meeting and mingling with American tourism professionals, the answer was of course - yes!
After a challenging packing session (swimwear and thermals) and a 12 hour long haul flight, I was touching down in the big apple, New York City. An early night at the Edition Hotel on Madison Avenue was a welcome rest before the roadshow kicked off the next day. With over 350 individual sessions with American travel agents over the next four days, I was preparing myself for some big days!
Day one began with a briefing and a series of workshops with product buyers and Laura Davidson PR, who did an impressive job at managing the publicity of our entire trip. For the Australians who were missing home, an industry dinner at Burke & Wills Restaurant offered nostalgic food like kangaroo and oysters with a New York twist.
Destination NSW takes ten emerging and established tourism organisations from NSW on the USA Roadshow every year for the opportunity to meet American travel operators and promote the vast array of things to do in NSW. Culture Scouts of course, was there to show America that Sydney has a vibrant creative scene just waiting to be discovered. This year, I was joined representatives from The Opera House, Taronga Zoo, BridgeClimb Sydney, Instyle Chauffeured Limousines, Merlin Entertainment Group, SeaLink & Captain Cook Cruises, Sydney Harbour Boat Tours and Tourism Solutions.
As culture lover at heart, I couldn’t help but race out between sessions to explore the architecture and public art of the city myself. But there’s never enough time to explore all that New York has to offer. By day two, we were whisked onto another plane and on our way to Chicago, the windy city. Chicago has some excellent, internationally renowned public art, and the architecture is fabulous! Its famously wide streets are because the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 caused an entire rebuild of the Business District.
Day three dawned with minus seven temperatures in Chicago and the day was spent happily indoors from the cold meeting product buyers for one-on-one meetings. Our last night staying at The Virgin Hotel was celebrated with some drinks with our roadshow team, then it was time for another attempt at an early night before our plane to LA and the last leg of the journey.
What a change from Chicago! LA met us with blue skies and mild weather. We were staying at the Marina del Rey Marriott, right near the famous Venice Beach which was perfect for early morning strolls. I had one last day of sessions before our final debriefing session and a rowdy dinner at Casa Sanchez Mexican restaurant. Nothing ends a trip like being serenaded by musicians in matching suits!
The trip wrapped up with big smiles, promises to keep in touch, and only a slight hangover from the tequila the night before. I was proud to be part of such an excellent team of tourism companies that NSW is promoting to the overseas market. And I was equally inspired by the enthusiasm and support our American counterparts have for Australian tourism.