Destinations

“The travel trade is increasingly important”: Brand USA’s Anne Madison

Ali Coulton

Aussie travellers seem to be going mad for the US right now.

In fact, according to Brand USA, it’s the number one long-haul destination for Aussies, with 1.3 million of us travelling there yearly.

And Brand USA’s Chief Strategy & Communications Officer Anne Madison reckons that number is just going to keep skyrocketing.

“The forecast from our department of commerce is there will be about a 17 per cent increase in the number of visitors from Australia from 2016 – 2022,” Madison told Travel Weekly, during a recent visit to Sydney. 

“For this years there’s expected to be about a 4 per cent increase.”

And that’s not taking repeat visitation into account.

“73 per cent of Aussie visitors will come again at least once,” she said.

We caught up with Madison to find out why Aussies can’t get enough of the land of red white and blue.

“There’s something to be said for having a common language,” she told us.

“But the primary things that draw Aussies to the USA is our local culture, music, food, and nightlife. They are all strong drivers.”

Madison said Australia’s favourite destinations in the US is New York, closely followed by Californa and Hawaii, but more and more of us are looking at places like Florida, Texas and Washington.

Agents should be pushing the value of the United States and diversity of experiences you can have there,” she said. 

Brand USA is currently showcasing these experiences in a new film called America’s Musical Journey, which charts Grammy Award-Nominated singer and songwriter Aloe Blacc’s journey through a selection of US cities that have been a strong musical influence for him.

And in doing so you see how music in the US has really been informed by and influenced by different locations,” Madison said.

“We’re a nation of immigrants so it’s really nice to see the range of musical genres in the USA and how they were influenced.”

The film explores the collision of cultures that led to distinctly American musical genres such as jazz, blues, country, rock and roll, and hip-hop, and takes audiences on a journey through the diverse communities at the heart of the United States’ music traditions, including New Orleans, Louisiana; Chicago, Illinois; New York City, New York; Nashville and Memphis, Tennessee; and Miami, Florida.

Madison also expressed Brand USA’s gratitude for the Australian trade.

“The travel trade is increasingly important,” she said.

“While Australians are fairly self-sufficient in planning their trips we know they take a long time in that planning, (anywhere from 5-12 months) so we know they are more thoughtful.”

According to Madison, about 25 per cent of Australian use a travel agent to make those trips, and that almost doubles when it comes to choosing custom tours.

“The more customised the trip is, the more they will rely on the travel trade,” she said.

We’ve seen over the past year an increase in the number of Australians who are looking to the travel trade to help them, not only for the convenience but also for the value, they know they see better value when they book with an agent,” Madison concluded. 

Check out America’s Musical Journey for free on GoUSA TV here (Apple) or here (Android), but hurry! It’s only available for a limited time.

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