Nobody puts Virginia Tourism in the corner

Gate 7’s ‘Dirty Dancing’-themed event a hit with the trade

Rita McClenny, Virginia Tourism President and CEO

Travel industry guests had the time of their life recently in Sydney at Virginia Tourism Corporation’s Dirty Dancing Dinner. Virginia Tourism President and CEO of Virginia Tourism, Rita McClenny, was guest of honour, along with her team Chrisiti Braginton – International Media Relations Manager, and Heidi Johannesen – Global Marketing Director, Virginia Tourism Corporation, all of whom were being hosted by Gate 7 in Australia for a week of trade and media calls.

The famous Kellerman’s Hotel, which played backdrop in the 1987 box office movie Dirty Dancing, was filmed at Mountain Lake Lodge in Pembroke, Virginia, and the creative events department at Gate 7 used this as the inspiration for the event, which was attended by 50 guests across travel trade and media. The heritage-listed Castlereagh Hotel in Sydney’s CBD was the perfect venue fit for the occasion; the old-world charm of its interior – outfitted with elegant chandeliers and wooden grand piano – conjured up nostalgia for days past, as the Gate 7 team took guests back in time to the 1950s, and the movie set of the cult classic Dirty Dancing.

Costumed singers and dancers performed the popular songs and dances from the film, while guests enjoyed oysters – in honour of Virginia’s famous oyster trail – and watermelon shots (inspired by Dirty Dancing), followed by a three-course meal, along the way learning about Virginia’s enticing offerings for Aussie travellers through quizzes and interactive display pillars.

Guests posed in a fun photo booth with actors playing the characters of Johnny and Baby, then took to the stage for a lively “Johnny’s Dance Class”, learning moves from the film. At the event’s conclusion, guests were gifted engraved champagne glasses from Virginia Tourism, in symbolism of the ‘classy’ Baby from Dirty Dancing.

“The Dirty Dancing evening was one of the best events we have ever hosted,” said Marketing Director Johannesen, “It was the highlight of a productive week of sales calls and media appointments. I look forward to generating new business to Virginia from the Australian market. We are excited to see what the future holds and are grateful to be working with the talented Gate 7 team.”

Gate 7 currently represents Virginia Tourism for trade marketing in the Australian market, having won the contract earlier this year.

Lead image, from left to right: Simran Mediratta, Gate 7,  Senior Account Executive, Tourism Development; Christi Braginton, International Media Relations Manager, Virginia Tourism; Dani Marsland, Gate 7, Account Manager, Public Relations; Rita McClenny, President and CEO, Virginia Tourism Corporation; Jo Palmer, Managing Director Gate 7; Heidi Johannesen, Global Marketing Director, Virginia Tourism Corporation; Penny Brand, Gate 7, Senior Account Manager, Tourism Development and Dani Tuffield, Gate 7, Director of Tourism Development.

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