TORONTO — At this year’s Discover America Day, which recently took place in Toronto and welcomed close to 40 exhibitors from across the U.S., Travelweek learned of the following new offerings:
- Air Canada will launch weekly seasonal flights between Halifax and Fort Lauderdale beginning Dec. 14, 2013 until the end of April 2014. Service will run on Saturdays using 97-seat Embraer E190 aircraft, featuring a choice of Executive and Economy Class service. Flights are timed to offer passengers easy connections to and from major Air Canada destinations in Atlantic Canada, and complements the airline’s existing Halifax winter weekly seasonal service to Tampa and twice weekly to Orlando.
- Earlier this summer, VIA Rail introduced Wi-Fi onboard the Ocean, a long-haul train that travels between Montreal and Halifax. Available across more than 98% of the route, the new Wi-Fi connection allows passengers to remain virtually linked to work, friends and family throughout the trip. Nearly 20% of travellers used the Wi-Fi service during the first three weeks of availability.
- Nickelodeon Suites Resort in Orlando is gearing up for its ‘Power Ranger Weekend’ on Oct. 18 and the ‘Let It Snow’ holiday event that kicks off on Nov. 21. The all-suite property, which opened in 2005, features live shows, complimentary shuttle service to Disney parks and daily character dining with SpongeBob SquarePants, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and more.
- Syracuse has welcomed the new Inns at Armory Square, a unique construction housing a 102-room Courtyard by Marriott and a 78-room Residence Inn. Also new to the scene is a self-guided tour of historic downtown that visitors can take via their smartphones. As for Canadian deals, those with a valid CAA membership card will receive a Passport of Savings, filled with hundreds of dollars worth of deals and discounts.
- Plenty of family fun awaits in Kissimmee, which debuted the new Rattlesnake zipline roller coaster at Forever Florida. Also, Space Shuttle Atlantis makes an historic return to the East Coast, just a short drive from Kissimmee on the coast. Visitors can come nose-to-nose with the actual shuttle and experience more than 60 interactive exhibits that showcase the many achievements made during the course of the 30-year Space Shuttle Program.
- Visit Orlando, the official tourism association of Orlando, will launch an integrated marketing campaign in Ontario and Quebec this fall. The multifaceted campaign will include television, digital, radio and print advertising, promotions, publicity and partnerships with tourism operators. And for the first time ever, Visit Orlando will run French-language advertising on Quebec television, radio and online. Travellers will be directed to VisitOrlando.ca for itinerary planning, links to tour op partners and the latest travel offers. The organization has also debuted a newly improved ‘Orlando Travel Academy’, an online tool for travel agents that provides education on all aspects of the destination. Visit orlandotravelacademy.com.
- Downtown Phoenix has been undergoing major changes, with more than US$4 billion in public and private funds being invested during the past four years. Recent developments include a new light-rail system, the expansion of the Phoenix Convention Center, the construction of the largest hotel in Arizona (Sheraton Phoenix Downtown Hotel), and the creation of a multi-use retail, dining and entertainment district called CityScape. Other new hotels that have debuted in recent years include the Hotel Palomar Phoenix and the Westin Phoenix Downtown.
- In Cape Cod, visitors can get around much easier thanks to a new train that travels from Boston South Station to Hyannis, with a stop in Bourne in between. A roundtrip ticket costs $30 and departs on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, with plans to launch a couple of weekday departures next season.
- There’s still time to take advantage of WestJet’s seasonal service to Myrtle Beach, which ends on Oct. 24 and runs Thursdays and Sundays. Porter’s service kicks off on Oct. 3 and will run until Nov. 24. Both airlines offer packages that include flight and hotel with its tour operating arms, WestJet Vacations and Porter Escapes. And thanks to this increase in Canadian service, Myrtle Beach International Airport has completed a $113 million expansion project, which saw the extension of its passenger terminal from six to 13 gates.
To view photos from Discover America Day, visit the Photos section.