Check out the latest group travel industry news and updates.
Hop on in Franklin
FRANKLIN, Tenn.—A new vintage trolley hop-on, hop-off tour that will allow guests to experience Franklin and Leiper’s Fork at their own pace has launched from Gray Line Tennessee. The Franklin Hop takes guests on a 90-minute loop, with expert guides pointing out over 50 points of interest and sharing the many stories of Franklin and Leiper’s Fork along the way.
The vintage trolley will make five stops where guests can get off and explore, then simply get back on when the trolley returns 90 minutes later. Stops along Franklin Hop’s route include the Visitor Center in downtown Franklin, The Factory at Franklin, Carnton, Carter & Lotz Houses, and the village of Leiper’s Fork.
Tickets for the Franklin Hop vintage trolley experience are available at the Visitor Center in downtown Franklin or can be purchased in advance online through FranklinHop.com.
Honoring No. 42
NEW YORK—The Jackie Robinson Museum recently opened in the One Hudson Square Building in New York City. This new cultural organization educates visitors about Robinson—athlete, activist, patriot, entrepreneur, and family man—and celebrates his contributions to the civil rights movement. The museum has 8,350 square feet of permanent exhibition space and 3,500 square feet for traveling exhibits and to serve as classroom space.
Group visits are self-guided, and all groups of 10 or more guests must book in advance. A discount is given for groups of over 25 people.
For more information, visit jackierobinsonmuseum.org.
After 88 Years, Bonnie and Clyde Still a Popular Duo
PIGEON FORGE, Tenn.—Considered by some to be the most romanticized criminals in the country’s history, Bonnie and Clyde were killed by authorities in 1934. A posse of lawmen led by former Texas Ranger Frank Hamer opened fire on their vehicle, bringing the crime spree to an end. Despite the many decades that have passed, people around the country are still fascinated by the duo. Alcatraz East Crime Museum is offering a temporary exhibit on Bonnie and Clyde that runs through Sept. 30, 2024.
“Many people find this story captivating, back then and still today,” says Ally Pennington, artifacts and programs manager for Alcatraz East Crime Museum. “We have some intriguing artifacts on display for guests to check out in this exhibit.”
Some of the original objects that are a part of the display include a first-edition copy of “Fugitives: The Story of Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker” by Clyde’s sister Nell Barrow Cowan, an original Bonnie and Clyde wanted poster, and tile from Lancaster Bank, the only bank the Barrow gang robbed in Texas.
For more information about the museum, visit alcatrazeast.com.
New Rides Coming to All SeaWorld Parks
ORLANDO, Fla.—SeaWorld is scheduled to open a new first-of-its-kind coaster in each of its theme parks in spring 2023. They include the world’s first surf coaster in Orlando, the longest and fastest straddle coaster in San Diego, and the world’s first launched flume coaster in San Antonio.
Pipeline: The Surf Coaster will open in SeaWorld Orlando. The unique surfboard ride vehicle gives riders an immersive experience when their seats rise and fall to mimic the sensation of riding on a wave. SeaWorld San Diego’s newest family-friendly coaster, Arctic Rescue, will launch guests at up to 40 mph on a chilly adventure as they race through the unpredictable arctic climate to help animals in danger. SeaWorld San Antonio’s Catapult Falls will feature the world’s steepest flume drop, North America’s only vertical lift flume coaster, and the tallest flume drop in Texas.
Real-Time Charter Bus Marketplace CharterUP Raises Funds
ATLANTA—CharterUP, the first fully integrated charter bus marketplace for corporations, consumers, and operators, announced it has raised $60 million in Series A led by Tritium Partners, an Austin, Texas-based investment firm.
Since its founding in 2018, CharterUP has experienced over 100% annual growth and recently surpassed an annual revenue run rate of $150 million in 2022. The company will leverage the Series A to aggressively invest in robust go-to-market strategies, expand its footprint in new and existing markets, and grow the company’s product and engineering teams.
CharterUP connects customers to more than 500 operating partners nationally on its proprietary, fully integrated technology platform. Promoting simplicity, transparency, and safety in the group booking experience, the company’s marketplace provides real-time data on all charter services, featuring on-demand quotes for custom itineraries, embedded payment capabilities, live trip tracking, and more.
For more information on CharterUP, visit charterup.com.