Brand USA hosts 40 luxury agents at horticultural festival

Brand USA hosted 40 luxury travel agents at RHS Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival yesterday (July 5) as part of an exclusive trade gathering showcasing the diverse landscapes of the US. 

The event, held in partnership with Aspire and sister title Travel Weekly, started at The Mitre Hampton Court where Jackie Ennis, vice president of global trade development at Brand USA, hosted a training update and Q&A session with representatives from Austin, Texas; Charleston, South Carolina; and Oregon.

Networking sessions were held over lunch and afternoon tea and destination-themed prizes were won during a quiz. 

Delegates were then given free time to explore RHS Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival, where Brand USA is currently exhibiting a themed garden in partnership with Trailfinders.

The garden, entitled America’s Wild, has been designed to take visitors on an “enriching and immersive journey” through the “instantly recognisable” North American landscapes of desert, forest and prairie to showcase the diversity of the country’s flora and fauna. 

The garden, designed by Inspired Earth Design, won a gold medal as well as Best Show Garden and Best Construction (Show Garden).

The horticultural festival, which concludes on July 9, also features gardens from Oregon and Charleston as well as performances from Austin musicians Natalie Price and Jo James.

Addressing delegates at the event, Ennis said: “The garden represents the United States and it is there to inspire [visitors] that come to the Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival

that have that love of horticulture, nature and the outdoors, and to bring them into the world of the United States in a way that perhaps they wouldn't have thought about otherwise. 

 “We so appreciate the business that you [agents] bring to the United States. Post-pandemic, everyone is looking for that opportunity to be out in nature and to be outside. The US is the ultimate road-trip and yet many people when they think of the United States, perhaps they go to the iconic - they go to the Hollywood sign, the Empire State Building or Miami Beach.

“Those are all wonderful destinations, but we need you as an industry to really get to grips with the hidden gems of the United States, to hit the back roads and hit those road trips to see really everything that the US has to offer.”

The Brand USA team also highlighted its trade resources, which include a travel trade website offering more than 30 self-drive, multi-state itineraries; rights-free images and videos; a What’s New to See and Do Across the USA document; a trip planner tool; receptive tour operator directory; and visa and entry policies. 

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