The British Airways direct service from London Heathrow to Nashville will elevate the entire state as an international travel destination with non-stop service from the United Kingdom, the largest international feeder market to the U.S. with 4 million visitors per year.
North America Travel Service is a UK-based specialist tour operator, offering quality, tailor-made holidays to the leisure traveler from the UK to the U.S. for almost 50 years. “Tennessee has long played an important part in our leisure program, in spite of the fact that there has been no direct service into the state,” said Ruby Briggs, managing director of North America Travel Service. “A non-stop UK/Nashville operation would enable us to enhance our Tennessee offering to our customers.”
And, there are additional benefits like the connections with Deutsche British Airways in Germany and the developing Scandinavian markets, which feed into Heathrow and the British Airways network. These visitors prefer to transfer in Europe and then fly non-stop to their final U.S. destination. The same concept applies to the lucrative Meetings, Conference and Incentive sector, which logistically demands non-stop service to the final destination.
In addition to the British Airways direct service to Nashville in 2018, Tennessee will be easily accessible by car from four international gateway airports: Atlanta, Charlotte, Cincinnati and New Orleans.
The average length of stay of Europeans in the Travel South region was 15 nights and on average these Europeans visited 2.4 states, according to research from Travel South USA.
Additional international companies touting Tennessee as a top travel destination include:
- Newmarket Holidays’ top-selling U.S. tour – Elvis Presley’s Memphis, Nashville and New Orleans – with 25 departures in 2017 is outperforming the market with sales up 12% year-on-year. Newmarket Holidays will visit the Smokies in October to research a new group tour departure for 2018.
- Bon Voyage Travel, a specialist U.S. tour operator in business since 1979, reported 2017 sales to the Deep South having overtaken California – its leading American destination accounting for some 30% of its overall business for years.
- Audley Travel is a UK tour operator specializing in tailor-made travel and is the largest operator in this market sector, according to the Financial Times. The U.S. program launched in September 2012 and in that five-year period, sales have become the largest overseas destination that Audley offers. Audley started with six U.S. specialists and now have 32; 12 of whom are dedicated Deep South specialists and all have visited Tennessee on FAM trips. Audley sells more than 20 different hotel properties across Tennessee and the Deep South represents around 20% of all U.S. business - around $4 million - and shows signs of strong growth in the future.
- American Duchess, the only all-suite vessel in the U.S., will be based in Nashville from 2017 and will cruise the Cumberland, Tennessee and Ohio Rivers featuring eight and nine night itineraries with visits to Clarksville, Chattanooga, Dover, Fort Pillow, Savannah and Memphis.