Renowned for its fledgling craft beer scene, eco-friendliness and hip coffeehouses, Andrew Doherty discovers why Oregon’s Portland is a destination that should be on the radar of US fans.
And with a new flight route just launched, getting to the West Coast city should be easier than ever.
To celebrate the inauguration of the non-stop Heathrow-Portland route, Delta Air Lines hosted a party in London for its key partners. The four-times-weekly service, initiated on May 26, 2017, has been performing well within the UK market, according to Frank Jahangir, staff vice-president sales and affairs at Delta Air Lines.
Speaking to him during the festivities, he said: “We have seen strong sales, yes, and it’s tracking well. The key thing for us now is to use the launch party and other events to make sure the market knows that Delta has the only nonstop route to Portland. There is a lot of interest in the flights and our goal is to bring in as much corporate business as we possibly can on both sides of the Atlantic.”
With the trade a key focus for the airline and fam trips in the pipeline, Jahangir is hopeful the service will see a significant increase in popularity.
“With a route like this the understanding from the market is not as strong, people don’t know a lot about Portland. What we’re hoping is that the word of mouth, once clients get there and see how varied it is, will make them see it as an attractive destination."
Also attending the event was Jeff Miller, president and chief executive at Travel Portland, who informed me that the city was seeing strong visitor numbers from the UK: “The UK market is very important for us; we see around 40,000 UK arrivals a year that we can track directly.”
Comparing Portland to areas such as Shoreditch in London, Miller hopes that the city’s laid-back vibe, along with the new Delta route, will encourage more arrivals.
“People come to Portland and they get to have fun, be who they are and do what they want to do. Clients can come and relax, be on vacation and feel like a part of the city very quickly. We want to welcome clients as locals.”
With a 30-minute train journey from the airport costing from $2.50, reaching the heart of the city is easy, he added.
For agents wishing to learn more about Portland, Miller suggested they check out travelportland.com
“The website is very extensive with its information and we pride ourselves on providing a lot of content for agents and their clients.”