YouTube dancing sensation Matt Harding of "Where the hell is Matt" fame and the U.S. Tour Operators Association released a new promotional video on Tuesday as part of a larger USTOA effort to promote the organization and its members.
USTOA President and CEO Terry Dale unveiled the plan to partner with Harding at the organization's annual conference in December.
The resulting one-minute video, being aired on a dedicated site, www.ustoa.com/dancingwithmatt, was compiled from 90 days of travels from Harding's hometown of Seattle to Malaysia, Australia's Northern Territory, Alaska, Tanzania, Korea, Chile, France, Ireland and New York's Coney Island.
Various USTOA members helped make the travel arrangements for each leg of the journey. Tour operator and destination partners for the video included Holland America Line; the State of Alaska; Goway Travel; Australia's Northern Territory; Globus; Chile Tourism; Tourism Cares; Coney Island USA; Tauck; CIE Tours International; Tourism Ireland; WorldStrides Capstone Programs; the Korea Tourism Organization; General Tours World Traveler; Tourism Malaysia; Abercrombie & Kent; the Tanzania Tourist Board; and LAN and Delta airlines.
The promotional USTOA "Dancing with Matt" video showcases people visiting -- and dancing in -- locations such as an Alaskan sled dog camp; a school in Arusha, Tanzania; Uluru in Australia's Northern Territory; the Malaysia's Sarawak Cultural Village; onboard a river cruise in France; in Valparaiso, Chile; at the Dromoland Castle in County Clare, Ireland; at Namdaemun Gate in Seoul, Korea; and amid sideshow performers in New York's Coney Island.
The dedicated site, powered by WINstorm, provides travel agents with information about the locations and about the tour operator partners. Also available for agents is a "USTOA Dancing With Matt" icon that can be downloaded and used as a tool to share the video and information directly from their travel own websites.
Following the video release, Harding and the USTOA have engaged in a media and social media marketing campaign including a HuffPost interview that took place today at 2 p.m. Eastern, as well as a live chat with Harding on USTOA's Facebook page Wednesday at 10 a.m. Eastern.
The USTOA has also created a Twitter hashtag devoted to the project, #matt4ustoa.
Between 2005 and 2012, Harding created four YouTube videos featuring him dancing in various locations around the world. The videos have nearly 85 million views combined.
The new USTOA video is a slight departure from Harding's past four projects as he danced with groups of U.S. travelers as they visited various locations around the world.
"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," Dale said in a release.
Follow Michelle Baran on Twitter @mbtravelweekly.