Leaders in the Shopping, Dining and Cultural Tourism Explored Global Tourism Opportunities at ONE Travel Conference

Bloomington, MN.   Leaders representing the Shopping, Dining and Cultural Tourism sectors came together for the successful fourth annual ONE Travel Conference for Shopping, Dining and Cultural Tourism, January 28-30, 2014 at the Radisson Blu Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota.  The theme of this year's conference was "Mega-Opportunities in Global Tourism”."  With Brand USA marketing charged with increasing international inbound travel to the US, along with the ongoing economic recovery fuelling domestic travel, the conference focused on new global opportunities for tourism development and growth for the travel industry.

Keynote presenters Yvonne Le Penotiere, Chief Marketing Officer of Brand USA; John Edmon, Director of Explore Minnesota Tourism; Bonnie Carlson, President and CEO of Bloomington, MN Convention & Visitors Bureau; Gary Oster, Executive Vice President of US Travel Association; Barry Biggar, President & CEO of Visit Fairfax; Doug Killian, Senior Director of International Tourism of Mall of America and Scott Johnson, Principal of Travel Market Insights were joined by more than 40 influential presenters and more than 100 delegates from throughout the USA, Canada and Mexico for three days of executive level idea exchange, partnership development and the SASI-ONE Awards for innovative marketing.

New this year: The ONE Travel Conference partnered with TravMedia to provide
 ONE Travel Conference delegates with the ONE Travel Conference Online Marketplace--a green virtual communications and social networking tool.  This complementary service is designed to allow delegates to upload information about their company including brochures, press releases and videos and to connect and network with fellow delegates.  The trade content and multimedia appears on the Online Marketplace and was included in a Daily Summary on line to all delegates during the conference. Powered by TravTrade, the travel trade division of global newswire service TravMedia, the ONE Travel Conference Online Marketplace will be available to the ONE delegates all year round.

Shopping, Dining and Cultural-Heritage Travel are consistently ranked as the top three travel activities in the USA, according to data tracked by the US Department of Commerce/Office of Travel & Tourism Industries (OTTI) and the US Travel Association.

“This year’s ONE Travel Conference focused on Global Tourism Opportunities and was very well received by all involved,” said Rosemary McCormick, President of Shop America Alliance and co-producer of the ONE Travel Conference.  “ We appreciate the support of the Bloomington Convention & Visitors Bureau, Mall of America, Explore Minnesota Tourism, Brand USA and all our sponsors and partners.”

“Our goal is to continue to unify these powerful travel industry segments so we speak with ONE voice on the importance of promoting the top travel experiences. They are key economic drivers and job providers. Brand USA reported that one new job is generated for every 33 international arrivals,” stated Sheila Armstrong, President of the US Cultural & Heritage Tourism Marketing Council and co-producer of the ONE Travel Conference. “Delegates at the ONE Travel Conference, destination marketing organizations (DMOs), shopping, dining and cultural-heritage leaders along with international tourism partners heard of many unique opportunities to shape the new initiatives that will benefit all.”

Bonnie Carlson, President & CEO of Bloomington, MN Convention & Visitors Bureau said, “It was our pleasure to host this exceptional conference to explore “Mega-Opportunities in Global tourism” that can enhance attendees’ business success.  We all benefited from the wealth of impressive presenters and experts at ONE Travel Conference.”

“Mall of America was so pleased to welcome the delegates of the ONE Travel Conference to not only experience an outstanding conference but also to experience Bloomington and Mall of America.  As the nation’s largest enclosed shopping and entertainment center with more than 520 great stores, plus restaurants and action packed attractions including Nickelodeon Universe® and SEA LIFE® Minnesota Aquarium, there was an abundance of opportunities for the delegates to enjoy their stay in Bloomington,” said Doug Killian, Senior Director of International Tourism for Mall of America, “

At the SASI-ONE Breakfast, Thursday, January 30th, 24 SASI-ONE Awards  (SASI = Shop America Salutes Innovation) for shopping and cultural tourism marketing excellence were presented.  Brandace Bruning, of CenterCal Properties was the SASI-ONE Awards Chairperson and awards sponsor. SASI-ONE Awards recognize prominent leaders in the tourism industry for their vision and commitment to developing shopping and cultural tourism.  Along with the 7 SASI-ONE Gold Awards and 12 SASI-ONE Merit Awards for shopping and cultural tourism marketing excellence, 4 SASI-ONE Special Award Recipients were honored:  Shop America Tour Operator of the Year-Mark International, TravMedia Tourism Journalist of the Year -Johnny Jett, Cultural & Heritage Tourism Destination of the Year-The Henry Ford and the SASI-ONE Chairman’s Award-British Airways.  The achievements of SASI-ONE Winners from throughout the USA, Mexico and Latin America and the winners of the special awards were showcased in a video presentation that can be viewed at ONEtravelconference.com.

The Conference also included a Charity Auction of luxury gifts and trips to benefit the American Swedish Institute and travel scholarships.
Visit Fairfax, Macerich and Tysons Corner Center will host next year’s ONE Travel Conference at the new Hyatt Tysons Corner, January 19-21, 2015.  Registration will open in August 2014.
For more information, contact the ONE Travel Conference producers:  Rosemary McCormick, Shop America Alliance, 707.224.3795, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Sheila Armstrong, US Cultural Heritage Tourism Marketing Council, 843.341.6392, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit ONETravelConference.com.

Sponsors of the 2013 ONE Travel Conference were:
Bloomington, MN Convention & Visitors Bureau, Mall of America, Brand USA, Macerich®. Tysons Corner Center, Visit Fairfax, Meet Minneapolis, TaxFree Shopping, Centercal, Tax Free Louisiana, Essentially America, Meredith, OutletBound, Shop America Magazine, The Cultural Traveler and TravMedia.

ONE Travel Conference 2014 Advisory Committee
Bloomington MN CVB, Bonnie Carlson and Jan Kroells
City Creek Center, Mahasti Islami
CJF Marketing International, Carolyn Feimster
Craig Realty Group, Peggy Ziglin
Houston First, Sharon Adams
Macerich, Kate Birchler
Mall of America, Doug Killian and Lauren Himle
Mandala Research, Laura Mandala
Meet Minneapolis, Bill Deef
Pat Lee & Associates, Pat Lee
TaxFree Shopping Texas, Carolyn Petty
US Department of Commerce/OTTI, Julie Heizer
Visit Alexandria, Patricia Washington

ONE Travel Conference for Shopping, Dining and Cultural & Heritage Tourism is produced annually by Shop America Alliance and the U.S. Cultural & Heritage Tourism Marketing Council.  The Conference brings together leaders in the travel industry to focus on Tourism Business Development, speaking with ONE Voice.  For more information, visit ONETravelConference.com or call 843.341.6392.

Shop America Alliance is the travel trade organization representing hundreds of the premier shopping tourism destinations, retailers, shopping centers, museum stores and outlets in North America. Founded in 1998, Shop America Alliance co-produces the annual ONE Travel Conference and SASI-ONE Awards and The Cultural Traveler guidebook, publishes Shop America Magazine and markets more than 175 shopping tours in 40 cities.  For more information, visit shopamericatours.com or call 707.224.3795.

US Cultural & Heritage Tourism Marketing Council (USCHT) is the travel trade association with a mission to market U.S. cultural and heritage tourism experiences. USCHT represents leading U.S. tourism destinations, attractions and travel partners engaged in marketing U.S. cultural and heritage to travelers throughout the United States and around the world, co-produces the annual ONE Travel Conference and SASI-ONE Awards and The Cultural Traveler guidebook and sponsors market research on the Cultural and Heritage Traveler. For more information, visit USCHT.com and TheCulturalTraveler.com  or call 843.341.6392.

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Sheila Armstrong


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