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Brand USA taps ‘real people’ to welcome international visitors to United States

June 7, 2017 Destination North America No Comments Email Email

Brand USA – the nation’s destination-marketing organization – will be creating personalized, video welcome messages for international travelers who are considering trips to the United States. The messages are the centerpiece of Brand USA’s “One Big Welcome” project.

“We want to have real people talk briefly about their favorite U.S. places as they invite prospective USA visitors to come to those places,” said Christopher L. Thompson, Brand USA’s president and CEO. “These documentary-style messages can convey the warmth and authenticity of actual people – not actors – from all parts of our vast, diverse country.”

Brand USA plans to launch the project at IPW, a five-day exposition staged yearly by the U.S. Travel Association. The event, at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C., this year, June 3-7, allows more than 1,000 U.S. travel organizations – representing destinations, attractions and accommodations throughout the United States – to interact with 1,300 travel buyers from 70-plus countries.

IPW attendees who stop by Brand USA’s exhibition space can create their own video welcome messages with an on-site production crew, June 5-6. After the videos are edited into short segments, Brand USA will share them with media outlets during IPW and post them on a variety of digital and social platforms.

Also, those who have made individual welcome messages will be encouraged to share them on their personal social-media feeds, using this hashtag: #VisitTheUSA.

Following IPW, through the summer, Brand USA will invite its destination partners and other travel-industry partners to produce additional video messages that welcome prospective travelers to the United States. Participants will draw on their own experiences and recommendations for places to visit – whether it’s a local eatery, a popular nightspot, or even a favorite historical attraction.

Brand USA, after collecting the videos, will post them on its online platforms: TheBrandUSA.com and VisitTheUSA.com, along with its social-media outlets.

Ultimately, Brand USA will use the videos – both complete versions and partial versions with photography and quoted content – to present welcome messages that highlight U.S. regions and travel themes (such as music, cuisine and outdoor adventures).

The videos may also be used in connection with promotional material and the closing credits of Brand USA’s upcoming, second giant-screen documentary, “America’s Treasures.” Brand USA inserted similar video messages in “National Parks Adventure,” the award-winning, giant-screen film that it released last year in conjunction with filmmaker MacGillivray Freeman. The 2016 film, which was shown at IMAX theaters in more than 100 cities worldwide, marked the centennial of the U.S. National Park Service.

During IPW, Brand USA will help attendees to make their welcome videos by having them respond to a series of five questions tailored for U.S. residents and non-U.S. residents. Interviewers will ask the questions in order to stimulate responses that share an overall consistency.

One of the questions for both residents and non-residents asks: “If an international visitor were only here for a day or two, what’s the one thing they should do and why?”

“When people travel, it’s the local residents they meet who really make their trips special,” Brand USA’s Thompson said. “The residents often want visitors to see and experience what they love about their hometowns. That is the foundation of our ‘One Big Welcome’ project.”

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