Check out the latest group travel industry updates.


Dallas Arboretum is among area’s top draws

Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden, Dallas, Texas
Credit: Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden

DALLAS, Texas — Visits to the Dallas/Fort Worth area are not complete without a stop at the 66-acre Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden! Your group or organization will thank you for planning such an amazing and beautiful visit to the exceptional botanical gardens that are always in bloom and ever-changing. Many praise the garden for its beautiful vistas, colorful display gardens, and groves of pecan trees, magnolias, crape myrtles, cherry trees and azaleas.

The Dallas Arboretum offers discounted tickets for groups of 15 or more. To book your group, visit dallasarboretum.org/group.


Mall of America launches official tour program

Mall of America, Bloomington, Minn.
Credit: Mall of America

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. — Mall of America is excited to launch its first ever official tour program, now open to the public, where guests can see what goes on behind the scenes of the nation’s largest retail and entertainment center. The exclusive tours, led by a team of mall experts, will take guests on a 90-minute guided walk behind closed doors to see how the “magic of the Mall” really happens while sharing amazing stories, fascinating facts and unbelievable anecdotes at every turn. Highlights of this exciting experience include insider access to hidden parts of the mall with special private photo opportunities.

Tours are available for purchase to groups of all sizes as well as individuals. For more information about tours at Mall of America including cost, booking and availability, visit mallofamerica.com/tours.


Boise Convention & Visitors Bureau hits ‘refresh’ on website

BOISE, Idaho — The Boise Convention and Visitors Bureau (Boise CVB), the destination marketing organization for Idaho’s capital city, recently unveiled a new, reimagined website under a new URL — visitboise.com. With a new modern design, a simple “Plan Your Trip” function, and eye-catching photos and video, visitors can fully immerse themselves in Boise’s endless urban and outdoor offerings and explore information relevant to their individual interests to craft the ideal getaway.

The new website offers business travelers, active families and outdoor enthusiasts the ability to plan their vacation with ease. Guests can craft their own custom experience by browsing numerous places to stay, things to do, restaurants, events and more, gaining inspiration for a one-of-a-kind vacation with every click. The new website maintains some of the prior website features such as the booking engine that allows visitors to search and book real-time hotel rates and availability.

The new visitboise.com website will also benefit local businesses and streamline requests for meetings and conventions excited to come to Boise. The website has a place where meeting planners can learn all about venue options and submit contact requests and Request for Proposals (RFPs) online.


‘Annapolis: An American Story’ open at Museum of Historic Annapolis

Main Street, Annapolis, Md.
Credit: TravMedia/Visit Annapolis

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — The Museum of Historic Annapolis recently debuted its inspiring new permanent exhibition, “Annapolis: An American Story.” The exhibit features an inspiring theater film experience and three floors of dynamic exhibits spotlighting the chronological, diverse history of Maryland’s capital city across more than 400 years. It shares dramatic stories of Annapolis and its diverse people — revolutionaries, visionaries and champions in the United States’ continuing quest for liberty and justice — who helped to shape the American story.


Visit Lauderdale launches website with accessibility microsite

GREATER FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Visit Lauderdale launched its new visitlauderdale.com destination website that includes an accessibility microsite in recognition of the tourism bureau’s new focus on accessible travel as part of its well-established inclusion commitment.

Visit Lauderdale Celebrates You campaign
Credit: TravMedia/Visit Lauderdale

Visit Lauderdale, formerly known as Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau, launched the new Visit Lauderdale name and brand slogan “Everyone Under the Sun” last year. The slogan is a nod to the destination’s residential diversity and lengthy involvement with inclusive travel marketing.

Greater Fort Lauderdale hotels, restaurants and attractions create a welcoming space for every guest. Many provide accessible amenities including handicap accessible rooms — some specially equipped for the hearing-impaired — as well as wheelchair ramps, accessible outdoor dining spaces including spacious outdoor patios, special sensory-inclusive websites and sensory-sensitive live performances such as those at Broward Center for the Performing Arts.

Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL) uses the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower Program with a mission to provide a discreet way for adults and children with hidden disabilities to show they need additional support or just a little more time with airport processes. Free sunflower identifying lanyards and pins are available via advance email request at contactfll@broward.org.

Area resources listed on the site include information on where to find wheelchair accessible beaches, and about the Fort Lauderdale-based Special Needs Group, which provides a wide range of equipment including rentals of wheelchairs, scooter, audio and visual aid necessities, and other essentials. Equipment is delivered directly to cruise ship staterooms at Port Everglades, hotels, attractions or the Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center.

Find the accessibility microsite at visitlauderdale.com/accessibility.

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Courtney Birchmeier oversees the editorial department at Group Tour Media. With half a decade under her belt in the group travel industry, she's eager to connect tour operators and group leaders with new destinations. It's a great day at the office if her dog, a chow/lab mix named "Kiwi," is in tow. In her free time, she enjoys reading (for fun, with no red pen in hand), sampling craft beer (New Holland Brewing's "Dragon's Milk," anyone?) and adding new destinations to her travel bucket list (like Salzburg, Austria).