EXPLORE MARKETING - International Tourism Strategy Development and Trade Representation Services for Travel Experiences & Destinations across the USA

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Explore Marketing Update - Issue 27

SAVE THE DATE for Visit! Forum, August 31 - September 2, 2020

Stefan Merkl from Explore Marketing, together with Sofia Williamsson from Matilija Unlimited, will be hosting the inaugural Visit! Forum, a boutique tour & travel experience marketplace for North America that will enable buyers from a variety of industry sectors to network with travel trade suppliers and tourist boards on ways to further increase visitation and sales.


Scheduled from August 31 - September 2, 2020 in the beautiful Sonoma Wine Country, CA, the two-day event will include one-on-one business appointments, interactive team building experiences and more. Further event details, including registration and sponsorship options, will be released in the coming weeks for consideration in your 2020 budget and travel schedule. As this will be designed as a boutique event, attendance will be limited.


Winter in Tahoe South

Winter arrives in Tahoe with mountain tech to breeze through lift lines, new ways to recreate in the snow, a “hot” new celebrity restaurant and more. The 2019-20 winter season kicked off at Heavenly Mountain Resort on Nov. 27, 2019 and the early season snow means skiing and snowboarding are available on the Nevada side of the mountain with excellent conditions. Many more snowstorms are in the forecast which will enable Heavenly to open even more trails. On the dining front, things are heating up at Harveys Lake Tahoe with the opening of celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay’s HELL’S KITCHEN restaurant in late 2019. Based on the hit FOX reality show, HELL’S KITCHEN will include design and menu elements from the show. The restaurant is currently taking reservations for 2020 and will be located in the historic Sage Room at Harveys. The Sage Room Steakhouse, which has been a landmark since its opening in 1947, is moving to the resort’s 19th floor. To plan your trip, click here.

Explore Central Park by Pedicab

For guests who prefer to explore Central Park comfortably during the colder months of the year, a one-hour pedicab tour with warm blankets is a great option. Offered year round by Unlimited Biking, the pedicab tour hits all the must-see spots of Central Park such as Gapstow Bridge, the Bethesda Terrace and Fountain, Cherry Hill, Strawberry Fields, Sheep Meadow and so much more. Each Pedicab holds up to three guests and includes a blanket to keep passengers warm during this guided ride through the park. Experienced drivers provide commentary, history, fun facts, and will snap as many pictures as you need. Suitable for FITs and groups. Learn more

Christmas Lights in Paris, the City of Lights

With Christmas around the corner, most cities are decked up with lights to celebrate the occasion including in Paris, the city of lights. A million blue and white lights cover street trees along Champs Élysées, dozens of Christmas trees line the Place Vendôme's huge central court, and most districts also has streets with dazzling lights to celebrate the occasion. One of the best ways to see the Christmas lights is to hop on the Big Bus Paris hop-on, hop-off bus, via a river cruise or by foot. For a cost effective way to explore Paris, get The Paris Pass for discounted admissions to these and 60+ other top attractions such as The Louvre (with fast track entry), Palace of Versailles plus unlimited travel on the public transport system (zones 1 - 3).

Bringing Groups to The Flyer - San Francisco

Conveniently located a few steps from the charter bus drop-off at Pier 39, a visit to The Flyer – San Francisco is a must-do for your group’s trip to San Francisco. As San Francisco’s first attraction of this magnitude, The Flyer – San Francisco provides an experience that rivals that of the world’s best amusement parks, while also celebrating the unique character and charm of the Bay Area. The attraction features cinematic artistry and state-of-the-art HD film footage captured with the help of drones and helicopters, and blended with computer-generated imagery (CGI). 


The journey begins when guests enter the two-level structure, housed inside an existing theater space right at the entrance of Pier 39 next to the Aquarium of the Bay and Hard Rock Café, where they are introduced to a few characters from the production through engaging projection mapping technology via two pre-shows.  


After the immersive introduction is complete, guests are then ushered into the main theater where they will buckle up as the floors slip away and the lights will dim before guests in the 28-seat theater are suspended in front of the 1,100 square foot (50 foot by 22 foot) curved screen that fills their field of sight ensuring that each guest has the feeling of a front-row seat, as well as many special effects, including wind and fog. 


In their motion-based seats, guests will follow the adventures of two lovers, on a thrilling aerial journey from a bird’s eye perspective: soaring above and through San Francisco’s stunning skyline, over the Bay Area’s iconic landmarks and neighborhoods, such as the majestic Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco Bay and Alcatraz Island; zipping through the majestic Marin Headlands redwood forests; and plunging down from Coit Tower into the lively streets of San Francisco, Chinatown, the Castro, as well as down some of San Francisco’s steepest and crookedest streets. Motion ranges from mellow to intense including pitch and dive which greatly enhances the storytelling and experience. This promises to be a wild ride, yet a safe adventure for all ages. Discounted rates are offered for groups of 10 or more. 


Many groups combine the Flyer SF with a scenic bay cruise from Fisherman’s Wharf, giving travelers an opportunity to see the city in a riveting Air & Sea combo. A variety of 60 to 90-minute bay cruises, offered by Red and White Fleet from Pier 43 ½ and Blue and Gold Fleet from Pier 39, provide travelers with spectacular views of the Golden Gate Bridge as they cruise underneath, and close-up views of Alcatraz as the boats circle the island. The combination of the Flyer SF with a scenic bay cruise showcases San Francisco’s most stunning views and landmarks in a short and affordable fashion to meet the budgets and timeliness of tour groups that are pressed for time. To schedule your group’s visit, email Clayton Hill

NEW Half Day Wine Country Tour

Launching on December 20, 2019, the Tower Tours Half-Day Wine Country Tour is the perfect option for those short on time but eager to tour some of California’s most famous wineries. Departing San Francisco at noon, the tour heads north towards the iconic Golden Gate Bridge offering a picturesque view of the San Francisco skyline. From there, the tour will continue on to the beautiful seaside town of Sausalito, the Mediterranean-style village harbored across the San Francisco Bay on the way to Sonoma Valley. One of the world’s most beloved wine-producing regions, Sonoma Valley is home to acclaimed wineries and charming cellar-door wine shops. As the vine-covered hillsides come into view, prepare your palate to visit two of the best wineries for included wine tastings and an exclusive estate tour. To reserve for your groups or for a private departure, email Cassandra Jew.