WASHINGTON, DC – Brand USA, the destination marketing organization for the United States, in partnership with the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Louisiana Office of Tourism, and Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (MSY), has unveiled a new program called “Market the Welcome” to inspire and welcome international visitors with the New Orleans and Louisiana experience.
MSY is the fourth airport in the nation to implement Market the Welcome as an integral part of Brand USA’s new branding and marketing strategies. The program works in support of the country’s national goal and airport-specific action plans developed by the U.S. Departments of Homeland Security and Commerce in response to President Obama’s Presidential Memorandum on entry policy in May 2014. The national goal calls for the United States to “provide a best-in-class arrival experience, as compared to our global competitors, to an ever-increasing number of international visitors while maintaining the highest standards of national security.” The other three airports to implement the program are Chicago-O’Hare (ORD), Miami International (MIA) and Minneapolis-Saint Paul (MSP). Many other airports are in the process of engaging Market the Welcome.
“Brand USA and our partners can provide the most inspirational and compelling storytelling about our country around the world,” said Christopher L. Thompson, Brand USA president and CEO. “That story begins the moment international travelers arrive in the United States where we have the opportunity to extend the spirit of hospitality to and thank our guests for choosing the USA for their travel experience. New Orleans, Louisiana and MSY officials are leaders in recognizing this critical need and will provide a model as we roll out the program around the country.”
IPW, hosted in New Orleans – June 18-22, 2016, is expected to welcome international delegates from 70 countries around the globe. This is the first time the show has returned to New Orleans since 2002 and is the perfect time to showcase the revitalized city to the international market ahead of New Orleans’ tri-centennial celebration in 2018, starting with a welcoming at the airport.
“There is no better time to unveil the Market to Welcome partnership program than now, during IPW, as we are showcasing our city to more than 6,000 international and domestic travel buyers, sellers and travel media,” said Stephen Perry, President and CEO, New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau. “In addition to hosting IPW and the construction of a new world-class North Terminal at the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport, the launch of this truly inspirational and welcoming program is another tool to help us reach our goal of 1 million visitors by 2018.”
Comprised of welcoming signage and digital displays that showcase high-impact, inspirational imagery of all aspects of the New Orleans and Louisiana experiences, the program is designed to provide travelers a warm and seamless arrival experience as they proceed through immigration and passport control and on through international baggage claim and baggage re-check and exit.
“The Airport is pleased to be the part of the ‘Market the Welcome’ program,” said Iftikhar Ahmad, Director of Aviation for Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport. “With many international travelers arriving at Armstrong International, this campaign delivers a great welcome to our city and state.”
The Market the Welcome program is designed specifically for gateway airports, offering customized display graphics and templates with welcoming messaging, impactful photography and more – all of which is customized to feature local attractions, history, cuisine and personality. It features high-impact signage and digital displays and focuses specifically on the environment inside the federal inspection service areas and international baggage claim prior to clearing customs.
“The ‘Market the Welcome’ program by Brand USA will impact millions of visitors as they come to the United States at gateway airports,” said Kyle Edmiston, Assistant Secretary of Tourism, Louisiana Office of Tourism. “We are very appreciative that New Orleans was chosen as the fourth airport for installation and that the timing was perfect for IPW 2016. This will have such a positive effect on our international visitors as they arrive and prepare to immerse themselves in the culture, music and cuisine of Louisiana.”
Brand USA has a similar program with U.S. embassies in which display graphics, video, photography, and informational travel pieces adorn Consular rooms. This public-private collaboration on the front lines helps improve the visa application experience and showcase a wide breadth of experiences that travelers can have in the United States.
In 2014, 75 million international travelers who visited the U.S. spent a record $221 billion on goods and services, with direct support for 1.1 million jobs from international visitor travel-related spending, according to the National Travel and Tourism Office at the U.S. Department of Commerce. Overseas visitors spend approximately $4,300 per trip, stay an average of 17 days, and generate tax revenue in communities across the United States without burdening local services.