DUBAI- Brand USA, the public-private partnership responsible for launching the United States’ nationally coordinated tourism marketing effort, is participating at the Arabian Travel Market (ATM) being held at the Dubai International Exhibition and Conference Centre from May 5-8, 2014, with its largest presence at the show to date. A total of 20 U.S. tourism, hotel and travel organizations are represented this year at the Brand USA pavilion, a robust 82% increase on the number of entities that participated in 2013. The increased interest in wooing Middle Eastern visitors to the United States follows an increasing number of direct flights to the United States by Arabian Gulf carriers and the establishment of preclearance at Abu Dhabi International Airport which is expected to facilitate ease of entry for visitors to the United States.
Jay Gray, Brand USA’s Vice President, Global Partnership Development, notes that “We realize the potential, need and importance for us to proactively engage with the Middle East tourism industry in order to maximize the opportunities that increased direct flights, preclearance and pent-up travel demand from the region offers. We come with a message that there are at least 56 excellent reasons to visit the United States, with each reason representing a state or territory, and each area offering unique travel experiences all of their own. We are here to welcome visitors from the Gulf region and invite them to experience the diversity, inspiration and excitement that the United States has to offer.”
The Brand USA pavilion will play host to a number of independent U.S. tourism organizations promoting their destinations, tourism and hospitality services including; Best Western Global Marketing Group, Black and White Car Rental/ Beverly Hills Rides, Caesars Entertainment, Dallas/ Fort Worth International Airport, Golden Travel USA, Greater Miami and the Beaches, InterContinental Los Angeles at Beverly Hills, Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board, NYC & Company, Philadelphia Convention & Visitor Bureau, Provident Hotels & Resorts, San Francisco Travel Association, Teamamerica Receptive Tour Operator, The Resort at Pelican Hill, Travel Options, Unique Hotel Solutions, Universal Orlando Resort, Universal Studios Hollywood, Visit Florida and Wildcatter Ranch & Resort.
The United States has witnessed an unprecedented expansion of direct flights from the Middle East region to the United States in recent years. By the end of 2013, the cities of Chicago, Dallas/Fort Worth, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington DC were all connected by at least one Gulf-based carrier. 2014 has also already seen additional flights come on line with Saudi Airlines launching to Los Angeles, Emirates Airlines to Boston, Qatar Airways to Philadelphia and Etihad Airways expanding its New York flights to a daily service. Further announcements have also confirmed new direct flights to come online in 2014 including: Etihad Airways launching to Los Angeles from June 1 and Dallas/Fort Worth from December 3; and Qatar Airways launching flights to Miami on June 10 and Dallas/Fort Worth from July 1. Additionally, Emirates will upgrade its daily service to Dallas/Fort Worth with the world’s largest passenger aircraft – the A380, which will commence operations from October 1.
In addition to new direct air services between the Gulf and the United States, a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) facility has been established at Abu Dhabi International Airport Terminal 3 as a purpose-built facility that allows passengers on certain flights to the United States to undertake all immigration, customs and agriculture inspections in Abu Dhabi prior to departure. Having cleared CBP, passengers can check-through their baggage to their final destination in the United States. On reaching the United States, passengers will be treated as domestic arrivals, which allows for faster processing at their arrival airport.
The CBP preclearance program is currently in use for passengers flying to the United States on Etihad Airways flight EY101 to New York (but not EY103), flight EY131 to Washington D.C. and flight EY151 to Chicago.
Gray added, “The ease and choice of gateways from which to enter the United States from the Middle East continues to grow. The benefit for travelers is that they can enter through one city and conveniently visit a number of U.S. cities and regions before heading out with a direct flight back to the Middle East from another. More of the U.S. can be experienced with little to no backtracking with flights.”
Brand USA’s mission is to deliver programs and platforms that increase awareness and enhance the image of the United States among worldwide travelers, in order to influence intent to travel to the United States, visitation and spend. In addition to promoting the United States as a premier travel destination through consumer and travel trade marketing, advertising, events and promotions, Brand USA works with its Federal partners to communicate U.S. entry and security processes that will help make the journey to and in the United States easier and more welcoming.