With an Increase in International Visitation, Virginia Beach CVB Rolls out the Welcome Mat by Hosting the Global Forum on International Tourism

Media Invited to Join Tourism Industry Experts to Discuss Growing Overseas Market

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

What do residents of Germany, South America and China have in common? They love to travel to the East Coast. Seeing an increase in international visitation to the region, the Virginia Beach Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) is positioning itself to capture a much larger share. To help local businesses better market themselves to visitors from these emerging international markets, the Virginia Beach CVB is sponsoring the Virginia Beach Global Forum on International Tourism.  Every sector of the travel industry stands to benefit from increased overseas traveler visitation – from local attractions, restaurant and retail establishments to hotels, the airport, and rental car companies. The Virginia Beach CVB invites media to join tourism stakeholders in a conversation about international tourism.

Already, overseas tourism is generating large revenue for the capital region (Virginia, Washington DC and Maryland). A few statistics of note:

·         In 2011, over 1.4 million overseas travelers visited the capital region – which includes Virginia Beach – for leisure travel – up 14% from 2010.

·         The region's strongest arrivals growth among the key markets came from China and Brazil.

·         Visitors from Western Europe accounted for 42% of the region's total visitors.

·         And in Virginia Beach, Canadian visitation accounts for about 10% of the year-round visitation.

WHO:             The Virginia Beach CVB is sponsoring the Virginia Beach Global Forum on International Tourism 

WHAT:          Nine experts in international travel and tourism will provide an overview of the international tourism market and efforts to market to these travelers; Discussion topics will cover areas such as the value of investing in the international market, 2014 global opportunities, market sensitivity and marketing strategy.

WHEN:          Tuesday, October 1, 2013 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.;

                        Media Q&A begins at 9 a.m. 

WHERE:       Virginia Beach Convention Center, 1000 19th Street,

                       Virginia Beach, Va.

TICKETS:     The Global Forum is a ticketed event open to travel, tourism and hospitality businesses and organizations. Advance reservations are requested. The ticket price of $35 per person includes the program and lunch. Visit www.visitvirginiabeach.com/cvb.

The Virginia Beach CVB’s goal is to continue increasing year-round international visitation. Already, the Virginia Beach CVB is partnering with major tour operators in France, Belgium, Brazil and Germany.

Guest speakers at the Global Forum include: David Huether, Senior Vice President of Research for U.S. Travel Association; Dianne Turner, Regional Partnership Sales Manager for Brand USA; Larry Dunham, The Protocal Partners; and Matt Gaffney, Executive President and CEO of Capital Region USA. Additional Speakers include: Haybina Hao, Director of International Development China, National Tour Association; Daniela Bergamini, Marketing Manager for Brazil, Capital Region USA; Heidi Johannesen, International Marketing Director, Virginia Tourism Corporation; and Jennifer Workman, Regional Director of Contracting, New World Travel. 

Information on trends in key international markets such as China and Brazil will be discussed.  A highlight of the program will be an overview on continental Europe by Gerda Arnaut, Director of European Marketing and Sales for the Virginia Beach CVB. Arnaut was selected to lead the marketing efforts for Virginia Beach in Europe when our Belgian office opened in July 2012. 

Until the Travel Promotion Act achieved passage, the United States was the only industrialized nation in the world that lacked a nationally coordinated program to attract international travel. The U.S. Government addressed that competitive shortcoming with this bill, advancing its vision to compete with other nations for a greater share of the global travel market – and maximize the economic benefits of travel to the United States.

Through the new legislation, Brand USA was created to play a unique role as the nation’s first cooperative destination marketing organization. Its efforts focus on delivering 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 and, most importantly, visitation and spend. Brand USA promotes the United States as a premier travel destination through consumer and travel trade marketing, advertising, events and promotions. According to analysis by Oxford Economics, these efforts will ultimately drive millions of new visitors to the United States, creating $4 billion in new consumer spending annually and 40,000 jobs nationwide. It is further expected to reduce the federal budget deficit by $425 million over 10 years, the Congressional Budget Office estimates.


Virginia Beach Convention & Visitors Bureau (www.visitvirginiabeach.com)

The Virginia Beach CVB is responsible for promoting year-round leisure, business, international and sports travel to Virginia’s largest city. Its brand promise, “Live the Life,” focuses on the emotions visitors feel when they leave their day-to-day lives and worries behind, and simply experience the joy of a Virginia Beach vacation. For media information and digital images, visit www.VisitVirginiaBeach.com/pressroom. Follow on Twitter at twitter.com/vabeachcvb and Facebook at www.facebook.com/VirginiaBeachVA.