North Carolina prioritises UK market

North Carolina prioritises UK market

North Carolina’s tourism authorities have named the UK as its targeted biggest growth market this year. In a bid to boost visitor numbers, the state is visiting agents in the UK to let them know travellers can take advantage of direct flights into Charlotte and Raleigh airports from Gatwick and Heathrow respectively. There is a dedicated website for the trade (www.uk.visitnc.com) and its UK branch frequently holds seminars to educate agents on new products. With an area roughly the size of the UK, the south eastern US state has a mixture of holiday options available, from city breaks to adventure holidays. It also has a strong connection to NASCAR and various film locations that representatives are keen to highlight. “Cabarrus County is ‘home’ to NASCAR,” Cabarrus County Convention and Visitors Bureau (CCVB) Communications Manager Melissa McGill told Travel Daily. “Charlotte Motor Speedway is the second most visited attraction in the state and the NASCAR Hall of Fame has just opened”. Additionally, some of the country’s best known films and television programmes have been shot in the state. “The small town of Wilmington is the second biggest film production area out of Hollywood,” explained North Carolina Department of Commerce Public Relations Manager Wit Tuttell. “One Tree Hill is filmed in the area and it served as the home of Dawson’s Creek.” On the opposite side of the state, Lake Lure has its film history as it was used for ‘those’ lake scenes in Dirty Dancing. From 17-18 September the inaugural Dirty Dancing festival will take place visit the locations and watch the film on the lakeside. In keeping with the festival and key trends, McGill emphasised the golf and ‘girlie getaway’ options for the region. “Embassy Suites Charlotte-Concord Golf Resort & Spa and the Valentine are great for girlie getaways,” she added. “There are up-scale restaurants night-clubs and museums nearby, as well as a 200-store outlet mall”. Tuttell also spoke about the state’s extensive history, which takes in the Civil War, gold mines, the Wright Brothers and pirates, to name but a few. North Carolina also has a strong Scottish connection. “One of our original governors was Scottish and he encouraged Scots to come over,” explained Tuttell. “There are now several Scottish-themed sights, festivals, museums and hotels to visit.”

Gary Marshall
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Gary Marshall
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