port of harlem magazine
champion services travel - group travel
American Destination Cities Looking for Travelers Like You
Jan 26 – Feb 08, 2023

harriet tubman sign on the eastern shore, md

There are many ways product marketers try to influence your buying behavior. One of those products are tourist destinations such as Washington, DC and Tampa Bay, Florida.  Of course, their efforts are not devious or subliminal, but marketing professionals find creative ways to get their message to you about their product.

To drive people to DC, the DC government added a four-year increase of the city’s hotel tax — from the current 14.95% to 15.95% — to help cover its marketing costs. DC’s annual budget is $25 million; Tampa, by comparison, is about $5.5 million and funded by a 6% tax on overnight accommodations.

As a part of their campaign, Visit Tampa Bay invited Port of Harlem to a Capitol Hill restaurant they rented just to get us and others acquainted with The Big Guava. Their whole objective was to get our attention and encourage us to share a bit of Tampa Bay with you. Champion Services Travel’s Bernadette Champion have also had similar experiences with familiarity trips from San Francisco to The Netherlands. Ruth Bridges of Aviva Travel agrees that our knowledge of an area adds value to the experience of travelers.

The Tampa event was simple with several local chefs cooking and serving some of their most popular dishes. Rocca, an Italian restaurant, served Agnolotti, small pieces of flattened pasta dough with a salame calabrese ricotta filing, cherry tomatoes, and garlic breadcrumbs. And Psomi, served Bougatsa, a Greek semolina custard with cinnamon butter and baklava syrup. I could have taken some of the Bougatsa home.

Well, their effort worked. The event put Tampa Bay on my radar screen.

Champion says her familiarity (FAM) trips “enable me to plan a more perfect experience for my travelers.” She adds that such familiarization with the product (travel destination) are essential. “There is no better way to speak with conviction and share from personal experience the breath-taking sights and smells of having been there,” she adds.

The goal for all of these products (cities) is to share what they have to offer tourists and to encourage them to visit. Destination DC CEO Elliott Ferguson, explained, "Increasing tourism creates real benefits for the city and residents, like more local jobs and tax revenue from visitors.”

Upcoming Domestic Tours

Champion Services Travel

-Harriet Tubman – one day tour of Cambridge, MD (where Harriet Tubman was born and enslaved)
-Underground Railroad Tour – Maryland, New York, Canada
-Annual Gullah Festival – Beaufort & Charleston, SC
-Southern Heritage & Civil Rights Tour – Southern US (Virginia, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, Arkansas)
-Black Cowboy Tour – Starting in Texas

Aviva Travel Services
Ruth Bridges reports, “My local trips are completely sold out for 2023 and I am not sure I am going to offer any US based trips in 2024.”

Both Champion and Aviva Are  Offering International Travel Experiences. See Strong Dollar Means Good Time for Americans to Travel Abroad
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