First-of-its-Kind Partnership Pairs Harding with USTOA Members to Inspire Travel
NEW YORK - June 25, 2013 – Matt Harding, the viral internet dance and travel sensation of www.wherethehellismatt.com
, released a new video today in partnership with the United States Tour Operators Association (USTOA),
which represents 148 leading travel brands to destinations across the world. Designed to inspire travel and encourage cultural exploration, the new video
is a departure from Harding’s past four projects as he dances with groups of US travelers as they visit exotic and familiar locations around the world.
“The evolution of Matt’s videos dancing around the world – as a solo traveler in his original video in 2005 to his more recent videos in which he’s met by groups of locals – was the inspiration driving this video partnership,” said Terry Dale, president and CEO of USTOA. “By showcasing the culture and experiences in destinations side-by-side with U.S. travelers, Matt’s video sends the message that USTOA members can help travelers no matter where they want to go…who better to represent the message of freedom, accessibility and security in group travel?”
The minute long video conveys the wonder of discovery and joy of new experiences as Harding logged 70,000 miles from his home in Seattle over 90 days to dance with US travelers in nine iconic destinations that included remote locations such as Malaysia, Australia’s Northern Territory, Alaska, and Tanzania; exotic cultural sites in Korea and Chile; and surprising spots in more familiar places including France, Ireland and New York’s Coney Island.
“USTOA and its members embrace the same principles that I do of exploration and collaboration with people from all over the globe,” said Harding. “It was such a pleasure to have the intricacies of planning visits to some out-of-the-way places done for me for a change. It allowed me to enjoy some pretty remarkable experiences that they arrange for their customers every day.” Harding’s prior videos combined have nearly 85 million views, making his the most watched travel channel on YouTube.
To help Harding navigate complex travel arrangements and provide insider access to off-the-beaten-path cultural experiences, USTOA turned to a different tour operator member for expert assistance in each destination. Tour operator partners and destination partners in the video included Holland America Line
and the State of Alaska
; Goway Travel
and Australia’s Northern Territory
and Chile Tourism
; Tourism Cares
and Coney Island U.S.A
(riverboat cruise in Lyon); CIE Tours International
and Tourism Ireland
; WorldStrides Capstone Programs
and Korea Tourism Organization; General Tours World Traveler
and Tourism Malaysia
, Abercrombie & Kent
and the Tanzania Tourist Board
; and LAN
and Delta airlines
USTOA’s Dancing with Matt video showcases a variety of member groups visiting – and dancing – in locations such as an Alaskan sled dog camp; a school in Arusha, Tanzania; the sacred grandeur of Uluru in Australia’s Northern Territory; the rich heritage of Malaysia’s Sarawak Cultural Village; onboard a lively riverboat tour in France; an adventurous tour of the colorful street art of Valparaiso, Chile; with line dancers at stately Dromoland Castle in County Clare, Ireland; doing the Harlem Shake with MBA students at Namdaemun Gate in Seoul, Korea; and dodging juggling sideshow performers in Coney Island. The destinations are featured on a dedicated www.ustoa.com/dancingwithmatt
site powered by WINstorm
As part of the launch, visitors to www.ustoa.com/dancingwithmatt
and USTOA’s Facebook page
can enter to win Matt’s favorite travel gear. Five prize packages valued at $645 will be randomly awarded and include: a Sony Nex 3NL camera, a $100 gift certificate for a pair of Merrell Shoes, a North Face Jester backpack, an IOGear GearPower Portable Cell Phone Battery Pack, and a Dancing Guy Logo T-Shirt. The dedicated site provides details about the locations and tour operator partners, as well as access to USTOA’s tour operator members for travel information to each destination.
Representing more than $10 billion in revenue, the member companies of U.S. Tour Operators Association provide tours, packages and custom arrangements that allow six million travelers annually unparalleled access, insider knowledge, peace-of-mind, value and freedom to enjoy destinations and experiences across the entire globe. Each member company has met the travel industry’s highest standards, including participation in the USTOA’s Travelers Assistance Program, which protects consumer payments up to $1 million if the company goes out of business.
As a voice for the tour operator industry for 40 years, USTOA also provides education and assistance for consumers and travel agents.