Journal: TWUKSection:
Title: Issue Date: 21/08/00
Author: Page Number: 53
Copyright: Other

Destination update by Alan Moore

Destination update by Alan Moore

A capital plan to boost DC

Combining Virginia with Washington is a perfect mix of town and country

WASHINGTON DC and Virginia are ideal tailor-made destinations for clients wanting to combine a visit to the nation’s capital with a touring and resort stay in one of the US’s most historic regions.

Yet both appear to be lagging behind in the popularity stakes with the more discerning third and fourth-time UK visitor to the US.

Funway Holidays managing director Stephen Hughes said: “Ironically, Washington is the most visited city by Americans. Although we sell it, it is not as popular as New York or Boston with non-Americans. The Georgetown area probably has the best potential for long weekend stays.”

He added that Virginia should fit in well as a touring destination, while Virginia Beach – a popular US domestic seaside location -Êprovides a resort retreat to break up the itinerary.

North America Travel Service features Washington as a Capital Stop Over product in its Virginia programme but chairman Ed Button said Virginia itself needs to be combined with surrounding states including West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Kentucky and Tennessee in order to be more successful in the touring and flydrive markets.

The operator is planning a joint promotion with The Greenbrier, a luxury golf and spa country retreat in West Virginia, to focus more attention on the area as a whole.

Tailor-made specialist Travel 4 is including the Washington area in its new year-round City Breaks brochure due out soon, and will continue with two other capital region tours for 2000 – the Washington DC and Williamsburg five-star coach tour, operated by Tauck Tours, and the long-standing Country Roads of Virginia self-drive tour.

After reporting a “hugely successful” year in 1999, Premier Holidays said it has seen a fall in demand for the capital region this particular year, although clients are staying longer – usually three days – in each of the locations.

Product manager Debbie Goffin said most clients tailor-make their own itinerary based on a round trip from Washington. However, more open-jaw flight arrangements mean that visitors are now often continuing further south through the Carolinas and including the Shenandoah National Park as well as Virginia Beach.

Cities specialist Travelscene agrees that Washington should do better.

Commercial manager Paul Stanley said: “We are persevering but have to admit disappointment that bookings have slumped this year.”

Williamsburg: operators hope the small town attractions of Virginia will combine with the sights of DC to provide a unique break


Dc and virginia

British Airways Holidays: offers a choice of three hotels in Washington for four-night breaks from £479 at the Washington Hilton and Towers during November and December, including British Airways flights.

America Connections: features a 14-day escorted coach tour called Visions of Virginia and the Great Smoky Mountains in September and October. The tour costs £1,195 and includes sightseeing,accommodation and Virgin Atlantic flights.