IT’S ANAHEIM TIME: Roadshow returns to Canada

Visit Anaheim’s long-delayed road show is travelling across Canada this week, having pulled in for its first pit stop in Toronto on Monday. Events continue in Calgary, Edmonton, and Vancouver, with the organization’s VP of Tourism Pepe Avila telling the robust crowd at the W Hotel in Toronto that the destination has certainly missed its Canadian friends during the pandemic.

Avila, accompanied by 19 tourism partners, including close to a dozen hotel suppliers, as well as attractions like Knotts Berry Farm and Legoland and sponsor WestJet/WestJet Vacations, updated the trade audience with the latest news on the Southern California destination, best known as the home of Disneyland.

Indeed, almost all the hotel reps were quick to tout proximity – “we’re just across the street…” – to Disneyland as a major selling point of their properties.

However, Visit Anaheim Manager of Tourism Development Kathy Nishimura insisted that the city, located about an hour south of Los Angeles, is much more than Disney.

“We keep evolving,” she said, adding, “a lot has changed during the pandemic.”

For example, the openings of a Westin, JW Marriott and Viv Hotel – all boasting rooftop patios for a different view of the city – have increased the number of four-diamond properties in Anaheim to five.

The city also has a thriving craft beer scene, with over 20 breweries in town, and a unique dining culture, including Steelcraft Garden Grove, a food hall comprised of shipping containers.

Anaheim suppliers

The best is yet to come, however, Nishimura says, with next year’s ground-breaking for the US$4-billion “oc Vibe,” a one-of-a-kind, mixed-use, master-planned community and entertainment destination near the Honda Center that will feature eight hectares of public space, including plazas and trails, plus 35 restaurants and other entertainment options.

The significant development will be a “cultural gathering for all of Orange County,” she says, with a phased opening starting in 2024 through 2028.

Of course, there’s always Disney, with the theme park giant set to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Walt Disney Company in 2023, and the forthcoming Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway, and recent developments including the opening of the Avengers Campus.

Anaheim’s John Wayne airport, meanwhile, is the recipient of new flights from Calgary (WestJet) and Vancouver (Air Canada), the latter also served by WS.

First published at Travel Industry Today