Since we published our first US Special Edition of Travel Weekly seven years ago, the transatlantic mood has been pretty upbeat.

The creation of the central marketing association Brand USA helped build agents’ understanding of the variety of options on offer beyond the ‘classic’ hotspots of New York, Florida, Las Vegas and California.

And a concerted effort by a wide range of US suppliers – from tourist boards to operators and airlines – ensured the trade was better prepared than ever to sell and upsell what has always been a favourite destination for UK travellers.

Admittedly it wasn’t all plain sailing, but many destinations were reporting pretty steady increases in their UK numbers.

As I write this, things aren’t looking quite so rosy. At the IPW conference in Washington in May, industry leaders acknowledged that the triple-whammy of currency, post Brexit uncertainty and the hard-to-quantify ‘Trump effect’ was putting a dent in traffic. And the latest figures from industry analyst GfK suggest those challenges persist, with the US lagging behind a dominant Spain and resurgent Greece in the summer 2017 package market.

Ultimately, these challenges aren’t going to go away soon. But that’s why it’s even more important for those who promote and sell the US to keep reminding the trade – and by extension their customers – why it is such a rewarding place to visit.

This Special Edition, sponsored by Virgin Atlantic, touches on some of those reasons, from new routes and openings to up-and-coming places to visit.

Price is undoubtedly a challenge, but the US product really has never been better.

Comment from Travel Weekly, 6 July 2017