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This week, more than 6,000 attendees from 73 countries, including over 1,300 international and domestic travel buyers and nearly 500 media from the U.S. and abroad, attended the U.S. Travel Association’s 48th annual IPW. The event, which is the largest single generator of travel to the U.S., convened in New Orleans, Louisiana, at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center from June 18-22.
Over the course of five days, a record of over 105,000 pre-scheduled business meetings were conducted between travel buyers and U.S. travel supplier organizations, who purchased a total of 1,352 booths. According to the independent research firm Rockport Analytics, travel initiated by IPW is projected to bring $4.7 billion in direct bookings to U.S. destinations over the next three years.
The delegate count at this year’s IPW represents a 20 percent increase since the last time the conference was held in New Orleans, in 2002. In addition to the usual robust number of delegates from the UK, Canada, Mexico, Germany and France, this year’s IPW saw tremendous growth in delegates from China, Taiwan, South Korea, Chile and Colombia.
The real payoff for IPW will ripple through the local New Orleans economy for an estimated three years following this year’s event. IPW is expected to generate $1.7 billion in economic impact to the city of New Orleans and attract more than one million additional visitors to the New Orleans area during that time.
China now represents the third-largest overseas travel market to the U.S., thanks in part to a bilateral agreement extending travel visa validity for visitors from China to 10 years.
“IPW is a wonderful, unique event in that it brings the world to the U.S. in one location,” said U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow. “We remain dedicated to welcoming ever more international visitors to our country, and maintain that encouraging travel to the U.S. is the best way to keep us open and connected to the world.”
IPW brings travel professionals from every corner of the country—including representatives of hotels, destinations, attractions, museums, amusement parks and other travel businesses—together with the world’s top international tour operators and wholesalers that send travelers to the U.S. At IPW, buyers and sellers are able to conduct business that would otherwise be generated only through an exhaustive number of around-the-world trips.