IT’S A BIG SHOW: IPW 2022 signals a comeback for tourism
The essential question at IPW 2022 in Orlando last week was, “when will the pre-departure testing requirement for inbound vaccinated air travellers to the US be eliminated.” Though US Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow, and Brand USA President and CEO Chris Thompson, assured media and delegates that everything possible was being done to convince the powers-that-be of the importance of acting quickly, there really was no answer available. However, with typical bureaucratic shortsightedness, and a shocking disregard for their own travel organizations, the US Government announced the removal of Antigen testing the day after IPW ended, thereby missing the opportunity for a major travel and tourism take-away to be given to over 500 domestic and international media and nearly 4,800 attendees from over 60 countries at America’s largest most important travel event of the year.
The hope is, of course, that the removal (and cost) of the pre-departure testing will draw future travel and tourism business to the US and facilitate an industrywide recovery in international inbound travel.
IPW did its part and could certainly viewed as a success. Back again after a pandemic layoff and an abbreviated version in Las Vegas in 2021, the event held at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando was not lacking in energy and enthusiasm from attendees.
While masks were not mandatory, a number of people continued to wear them on the convention floor, at meetings and at some events.
INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL FORECAST
US Travel released its updated international travel forecast, which projects 65 million international arrivals in 2023 (82% of pre-pandemic levels). The forecast projects that international arrivals and spending will fully recover to 2019 levels by 2025. It also forecast that the US could gain an additional 5.4 million visitors and US $9 billion in spending by the end of 2022 if the pre-departure testing requirement were removed, which it subsequently was.
US Travel’s forecast extends to 2026 and also includes an analysis on where inbound travel should be in terms of growth had the pandemic not occurred.
“This IPW is sending a message that the US is open for business and eager to welcome travellers from around the world,” said Dow. “We are taking a huge step forward here to bring back international travel, restore jobs, and re-establish the bonds that connect our countries and cultures.”
Carnival Cruise Line President and US Travel National Chair Christine Duffy and US Travel Executive Vice President of Public Affairs and Policy Tori Emerson Barnes also spoke at the US Travel press conference.
IPW also included education opportunities for delegates. IPW Focus, a new program launched in 2021, provided delegates the opportunity to participate in sessions on a number of topics from technology and innovation to research and insights.
Orlando has served as host site for IPW eight times – more than any other US city— check here for past and future locations.
This was Roger Dow’s final IPW after seventeen years at the helm of the US Travel Association and there were many accolades for him. He’s not telling yet, but he’s got plans, so we’ll keep an eye on him and keep you posted. No announcement as to his successor, but we hear the list has been narrowed to three.
We spoke to a lot of people from a lot of places and learned about a great many destinations and lots more. So, stay tuned – over the next little while we will be keeping you updated with interesting interviews and information from IPW.
The 54th annual IPW will take place May 20-24, 2023, in San Antonio, the first time the Texas city will serve as IPW host.
First published at Travel Industry Today