Destiny USA, New York State’s largest shopping, dining and entertainment destination visited by 26 million guests annually, ended the year with impressive gains in group travel visitation with a 66% increase over the prior year, the largest increase ever for the property. Spiked by an uptick in international guests, along with travelers coming from all over the nation, including 150 first-time domestic group visits, Destiny USA officials are pleased with the results.
“It’s very rewarding to experience such strong results after spending the last four years on the trade show circuit educating tour operators on the assets of Destiny USA and its value as an itinerary enhancer,” said Rose Hapanowich, Director of Travel and Tourism. “Our appeal as a true travel destination has strengthened significantly.”
The property hosted, in all, travelers from 20 additional countries beyond the USA and Canada throughout 2016. Others included Australia, Bosnia, Brazil, China (Mainland, Taiwan and Hong Kong), England, France, Germany, Greece, India, Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, Philippines, Poland and Switzerland.
Since the rebranding of the property as Destiny USA in 2012, significant resources have been invested strategically in both domestic and international trade show outreach to create awareness of the product and 2016’s results demonstrate that the efforts are paying off greatly.
Studies indicate the top five leisure activities overseas travelers enjoy are shopping, sightseeing, fine dining, visiting national parks and monuments and going to amusements/theme parks – most of which are abundant inside of Destiny USA as well as throughout the surrounding CNY area. Destiny USA has a powerful location in the center of the state with accessibility from three major international gateway cities into the Eastern United States – Boston, NYC and Toronto – each less than five hours away by motor coach.
David Holder, President of Visit Syracuse stated: “Destiny USA has been instrumental in transforming Syracuse into a viable leisure travel ‘must-experience’ city and the potential for huge future tourism growth for this area is here to stay.”
Efforts will continue this year to build on the momentum and, with the addition of the Embassy Suites by Hilton at Destiny USA Hotel, slated to open in the fall, another banner year is expected.