USTOA partners with 'Where the hell is Matt?' YouTube star

By Michelle Baran

USTOA Harding DancesWAIKOLOA, Hawaii -- The U.S. Tour Operators Association has partnered with YouTube sensation Matt Harding -- known for his traveling, dancing videos "Where the hell is Matt?" -- to make two USTOA-sponsored video spots featuring Harding that will air when viewers click on Harding's dance videos.

USTOA President Terry Dale and Harding made the announcement together on Thursday during the opening session of the USTOA's annual conference and marketplace, being held at the Hilton Waikoloa Village on the Big Island here. (View a video of the announcement and USTOA members joining in with Dale and Harding below.) 

In the coming months, 10 active USTOA members will host Harding in various locations around the world, where Harding will film the dancing scenes he has become so famous for. The scenes will be edited into one 30-second spot and one 45-second spot, which will also feature information about the USTOA. Dale said the spots will likely be ready to air by mid-2013. 

"We really want to keep the spirit of Matt," said Dale, noting that the idea is for the segments to not be overly commercial.

Dale added that the organization and Harding have been working on the partnership for more than a year.

Harding said the phenomenon started when a friend with a video camera suggested he "stand over there and do your stupid dance" as they were traveling together in Southeast Asia.

There are now four videos, including the most recent one, which Harding completed in 2012. The 2008 video has more than 44 million views on YouTube.

Dale said the 10 USTOA members who will participate in creating the Harding segments have not yet been chosen, but members were rushing to speak with Dale about the possibilities immediately following the announcement and congratulated him on the collaboration.  

Follow Michelle Baran on Twitter @mbtravelweekly 



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