Comment: Capitalise on client demand to push US sales

Cosmos and Avalon Waterways’ Giles Hawke says trade can capitalise on unique bond between UK and America

Many of us in the travel industry on both sides of the Atlantic will have breathed a massive sigh of relief on June 10 when the US’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced it was removing the requirement for Covid-19 testing to enter America.

This was news that many of us had been waiting for, partly as it makes it easier for Americans to travel in this direction, but mainly because it means British customers feel comfortable about booking holidays stateside for this year and next.

Many travel agents and tour operators will have seen demand increase sharply since this announcement and there is every chance that 2023 could be a boom year for holidays to America.

I was in Denver and elsewhere in Colorado in February of this year and, aside from the Covid test required to travel there, it felt like the country was already fully open for visitors. This latest rule change really is the ring of the bell to say ‘We are open’.

To help with this, US tourist boards are currently extremely active in working with the British travel trade to help educate, inspire and inform so that we can talk knowledgeably about the places we are promoting to our passengers.

We are already working with a number of tourist boards to help us better educate our teams and look at how we can help them promote their destinations to our customer base.

Our objectives as travel sellers and product builders and theirs as representatives of their states, their iconic sights and attractions, are closely entwined in our joint bid to encourage customers to travel and make the most of their holidays.

All shook up

And, almost as though it were designed to coincide, the recent release of the new Elvis Presley biopic, Elvis, is another big driver of interest in all things American. Many customers will watch the film and be inspired to go and visit some of the locations that feature.

At Cosmos and Globus we have a number of tours that feature the area of the world where Elvis grew up, lived and passed away, and we have a campaign right now to help agents benefit from the rekindled customer interest.

Having looked at all four tours in depth I am struggling to decide which one is my favourite, but I think the Globus ‘America’s Musical Heritage’ itinerary is the one I would choose – it includes a visit to Graceland, the Country Music Hall of Fame, Sun Studio, the Grand Ole Opry and some historic plantation tours, among many other highlights.


Many of our customers will have grown up with the American music and movies of the 60s, 70s and 80s and this is the perfect opportunity to encourage them to make the pilgrimage to see their favourite movie settings or see where their favourite songs were recorded.

As you read this I will be in America at Flight Centre’s Global Gathering in Las Vegas with several hundred of the Flight Centre team from all over the world.

It’s so heartening to see all these conferences taking place and the travel industry slowly returning to normal.

One of the things that makes our industry enjoyable and amazing to work in is the opportunity to travel for work, to visit amazing places and to enjoy time with our travel industry family recognising achievements, learning and growing together, and having some fun.

Now that the US is open for business again, we should capitalise on pent-up customer demand – not to mention the destination’s desire to encourage international visitors – to visit the iconic sights and sounds of this amazing country.

So let’s get out there and push America as the place to go in 2023!