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Last Wednesday, New York State (NYS) Division of Tourism sponsored the Australian Society of Travel Writers (ASTW) lunch event at ‘The Butler’ in Potts Point, Sydney. The luncheon was strategically positioned between the Visit USA events and IMM, both which run annually every February. This year, Mr Ross Levi, Executive Director of New York State Division of Tourism – I Love NY, joined Australian and New Zealand Representative Agency, Linkd Tourism, for the Visit USA Roadshow and IMM in Sydney. Ross was also invited to be a Keynote Speaker and Panellist at the IMM Summit 2024, so the timing worked perfectly for Ross to attend the New York State sponsored ASTW luncheon event in between his busy appointment schedule. 

The event had a large media attendance and guests were certainly ‘in a New York State of Mind’ at The Butler in Potts Point Sydney with the venue’s very fitting New York / Hamptons style décor and feel.

Images: Left: Ross Levi, Executive Director of New York State Division of Tourism engaging the crowd during lunch. Right: Kylee Kay, Managing Director of Linkd Tourism, Dawn Hopper, Managing Director Dutchess County Tourism, Caroline Gladstone, ASTW Secretary and Trina Shepherd, PR Director Linkd Tourism for New York State Tourism.

ASTW Secretary, Caroline Gladstone, opened the event welcoming special guests Ross Levi, Executive Director of New York State Division of Tourism, and Dawn Hopper, Managing Director of Tourism Market Development for Dutchess Tourism NY. Ross and Dawn shared some wonderful stories and insights about the greater State of New York and both being such talented speakers, they kept the crowd highly engaged with their history, culture and animated storytelling. Caroline also welcomed Nick Wayland, Managing Director of TravMedia Group, and all ASTW members to the New York State event. Caroline then handed the stage to Kylee Kay, Managing Director of Linkd Tourism, who was MC for the event and treated the crowd to lots of laughs throughout the afternoon.

A three course lunch of shared plates designed by The Butler’s Head Chef, Amber Doig, was served throughout the afternoon on a classy table setting, each with a NYS placemat showcasing the map of the State of New York and a personalised ‘I Love NY’ handmade candle with the scent of spiced candy apple to fit with the NYS theme. During the lunch service, Linkd Tourism’s PR Director, Trina Shepherd, engaged the crowd with some interactive fun and started with a ‘heads or tails’ question game in collaboration with New York City representative Kristine George of The Walshe Group. This

was followed later in the day with a humorous ‘pronunciation’ game where members of the crowd had to pronounce places in New York State that were not necessarily pronounced as they might seem. Prizes of ‘I Love NY’ merchandise were given away to all who participated. 

Quote by Kylee Kay: “It’s an honour to represent New York State Tourism in Australia and New Zealand and the Linkd team and I are delighted to host New York State Executive Director of Tourism, Ross Levi, and network with him to showcase our awesome travel industry in these primary NYS markets.” 

Quote by Caroline Gladstone: “The Australian Society of Travel Writers (ASTW) was thrilled to partner last week with New York State (NYS) Division of Tourism and their Australian representative, Linkd Tourism, at a lunch at The Butler in Potts Point, Sydney. Some 90 ASTW members including travel writers, travel digital publishers and public relatives executives attended the highly successful event.” 

The afternoon was enjoyed by all and every guest departed the event with more knowledge about the State of New York and a smile.