Brand USA hailed a positive market from the UK to America as it prepared for the UK premiere of its latest big-screen film on Tuesday night.
America’s Musical Journey, fronted by singer Aloe Blacc and narrated by actor Morgan Freeman, will be shown for the first time in the UK at a screening for the trade and media at London’s Science Museum.
The premiere comes as latest figures from the US National Travel & Tourism Office show a 2.8% year-on-year increase in arrivals from the UK in the first four months of 2018, bucking the trend of annual declines of 2.3% in 2017 and 6.7% in 2016.
Speaking ahead of the film’s premiere, Brand USA chief marketing officer Tom Garzilli said: “There are always going to be headwinds, and currency has been one of them, but over the course of time it (the UK market) tends to trend positively.
“People in the UK love America and they want to visit, so it is our job to keep telling them why they should do so.”
America’s Musical Journey is Brand USA’s second big screen film. Its first, 2016’s National Parks Adventure, has been seen by eight million people worldwide and is currently being screened in 50 cities.
Garzilli said: “One of our key measurements of success is talking to people after they’ve seen the film. With National Parks Adventure, 20% said they would come to the US as a result of seeing it, and we expect the same result from America’s Musical Journey.”
UK distribution for the new film is still to be confirmed, but Garzilli said Brand USA was targeting a range of big-screen venues. He also hopes the film will continue to be shown at the Science Museum.
The marketing body is also working with tour operators and travel agents on developing music-related itineraries and has run a travel agent promotion to host 30 music-themed events in agencies around the UK.
Garzilli added: “Talking to our travel trade partners, we are seeing a real desire to embrace this theme of music. We are striking a chord not just with storytelling, but in creating new product.”
The premiere event will include performances by Aloe Blacc and R&B act Melat, who also visited STA Travel’s Clapham branch with Visit Austin.
Julie Chase, vice-president and chief marketing officer for Visit Austin, said: “As live music capital of the world, we are thrilled to be invited to be involved with the film launch in the UK.
“Melat is a break-out act in Austin right now and and having seen their performances at both SXSW and ACL festival back home, we were sure they would rise to the occasion and be a great representative for the city and wide variety of live music we have to offer.”
Chase added: “With any activity we aim to bring a little bit of Austin to the trade and Melat gave an intimate one-off, exclusive acapella performance for the STA Travel Clapham team which set the tone for the evening’s amazing vocal performance.”
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