“I am the greatest”…destination!

TravelBulletin experienced some good old US hospitality in Louisville, Kentucky this week for the 2022 International Showcase hosted by Travel South.

TRAVEL South, a conglomeration of 12 states in the southern US, is venturing Down Under in June 2023, on a mission to “bring the culture and joy of the South to Australian and New Zealand travel industry”.

Gate 7 Founder and Managing Director Jo Palmer, who led the Australian delegation to Louisville, Kentucky for Travel South’s International Showcase last week, revealed that a big group of Travel South representatives were preparing to bring an “interactive and immersive” roadshow to Australia and New Zealand.

“It will focus on the five pillars of the South, those being culinary, outdoors, history and culture, music and road-tripping,” Palmer said.

A bluegrass band entertains guests at the event’s Y’All Ball.

“Being here in Louisville and getting immersed again in Southern culture and experiences has been so inspiring, and I can tell you that the state tourism organisations here at Travel South are equally excited to be visiting Australia.”

More details on the roadshow will be announced next year.

Also speaking from the International Showcase in Louisville, Lisa Monk of Travello said there was a growing demand among Australian travellers for authentic cultural experiences that get them off the beaten track and rubbing shoulders with locals.

Gate 7’s Jo Palmer and Penny Brand in celebratory mode
after a successful Travel South USA International Showcase.

“The tourist boards are loving the niche markets Australians are interested in; from ‘bourbonism’ to blues, bluegrass, country, soul and jazz music, horse breeding tours and more,” Palmer added.

“What attracts Australian travellers to the South is an authentically different way of life, and a rich history shaped by its music, culture and history. It’s a place of genuine depth.”

Churchill Downs

Lauren Gainey of Qantas Holidays and Hotels, who was also at the event, highlighted the positive response to Qantas’ new Melbourne direct to Dallas service, which complements the current fives-times weekly Sydney service.

Gainey went on to highlight some of the South’s major upcoming events, such as the 150th anniversary of the Kentucky Derby in 2024 and the 100th anniversary of Route 66 in 2026, which will no doubt inspire Australians to start planning a holiday to the Southern states.

The Aussie delegation at the 2022 Travel South USA International Showcase.

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