After 2 years of COVID-19 pandemic, which deeply affected travel industry all over the world, IPW 2022 proved, once again, that The United States is the ultimate travel destination for tourists from all over the world, with their diverse destinations and attractions.
More than 500 international journalists had the opportunity to connect with US travel industry officials, find out the upcoming strategies which are to generate $5.5 billion in future travel to the United States. At the same time, U.S. travel exhibitors connected with travel buyers from all over the world, negotiated future business and built long-term relationships.
Open borders to vaccinated and no mandatory pre-testing
Brand USA, the official destination marketing organization (DMO) for the United States, opened IPW 2022, with its press conference at the Orange County Convention Center. Brand USA President and CEO, Chris Thompson, catalogued the progress made since U.S. borders reopened to vaccinated travelers and provided new details about Brand USA’s recovery framework, which was recently submitted to Congress. U.S. Department of Commerce Assistant Secretary for Industry and Analysis, Grant T. Harris, joined Thompson on stage to unveil the United States’ new National Travel and Tourism Strategy.
The new strategy aims to improve the United States’ competitive position in attracting international visitors and increasing travel and tourism to promote economic growth and job creation across the nation over the next five years. “The importance of the travel and tourism industry to the nation’s economy and its overall health and well-being cannot be overstated,” said Assistant Secretary Harris. “Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo’s release of the 2022 National Travel and Tourism Strategy today underscores the Biden-Harris Administration’s support for the travel and tourism industry and its workforce. The important work federal agencies are doing in concert with Brand USA and the private sector is aimed directly at re-establishing international inbound tourism as the economic powerhouse it has long been for the United States.”
“With the government and the private sector working together, we are confident the goal of welcoming 90 million international visitors who will spend $279 billion annually while visiting the depth and breadth of the United States can and will be achieved,” concluded Harris.
Few days after IPW ended, the Biden administration lifted its requirement that all travellers test negative for coronavirus before flying to the US. This measure is projected to add 5.4 million visitors to U.S. and $9 billion in travel spending through remainder of 2022.
The change took effect just after midnight on June 12 and will be reassessed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 90 days.
New International Travel Forecast
During IPW 2022, U.S. 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. In an upside scenario, the U.S. could gain an additional 5.4 million visitors and $9 billion in spending by the end of 2022 if the pre-departure testing requirement were removed.
U.S. 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 U.S. is open for business and eager to welcome travelers 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 U.S. Travel National Chair Christine Duffy and U.S. Travel Executive Vice President of Public Affairs and Policy Tori Emerson Barnes also spoke at the U.S. 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 an array of topics from technology and innovation to research and insights, presented by thought leaders and innovators from around the industry and beyond.
Orlando at its best
With IPW 2022, the delegates had the opportunity to discover the full range of attractions Orlando had to offer for any type of traveller. From amusement parks (where the city excels) and outdoor activities, to arts and culture and shopping experience at Orlando Premium Outlets or The Mall at the Millennia.
IPW 2022 opening event was held at EPCOT, when the Walt Disney World theme park hosted A Celebration of Culture and Possibilities party. Guests could immerse themselves in the vibrant cultures of the world, enjoyed a variety of international culinary delights, specialty beverages, global entertainment, unique photo opportunities and a few surprises and witnessed Disney stories come to life.
77,000 business appointments
IPW convened global travel professionals, including U.S. destinations, hotels, attractions, sports teams, cruise lines, airlines and transportation companies, together with international tour operators, buyers and wholesalers from around the world, to meet under one roof—the Orange County Convention Center—for 77,000 scheduled business appointments over three days that will draw future travel and tourism business to the U.S. and facilitate an industrywide recovery in international inbound travel.
The delegation also included nearly 500 members of the international and domestic media. Reporters covered the event itself, and also met with travel business and destination leaders at the Media Marketplace to generate reporting on travel to the U.S.
Exhibitors put a great effort in presenting their destination or services by building creative booths with high-impact visuals. Media, buyers, tour operators and wholesalers had the opportunity to interact with U.S. travel exhibitors and learn about the destination or their services.
International delegates discovered the rich variety of attraction in Orlando’s downtown, its historic homes, office buildings, diverse cuisine experiences and the impressive art & culture offering, by attending Destination Downtown event.
The evening’s most memorable show was held at Steinmetz Hall (Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts). Guests watched an impressive and interactive performance of a live orchestra, a band, aerialist, dancers, saxophone player, choir, lights and lasers where classical music met contemporary dance and gospel music.
Closing event at Universal Studios’ Isle of Adventure
IPW 2022’s closing event was held at Universal Studios’ Isle of Adventure. Universal Parks & Resorts threw one of the biggest parties ever, with the entire delegation having unlimited access to the incredible rides and attractions in The Wizarding World of Harry PotterTM – HogsmeadeTM, along with Skull Island: Reign of Kong, and Jurassic World VelociCoaster.
San Antonio to Host IPW 2023
Next year’s IPW will take place in San Antonio, Texas, America’s seventh largest city hosting more than 41 million visitors a year. San Antonio has long been known as one of America’s most cultural, historic, and forward-looking destinations. The blending of cultures harkens to the founding of the city – from Indigenous, to Spanish Settlement, to Mexico, Texas as its own country, and of course the United States. Located on the cusp of the verdant Texas Hill Country, the destination also still proudly reflects the influence of German settlements, and other countries and cultures that shaped this special part of Texas. This rich history is expressed in everything from the architecture, performing arts, culinary scene and more.
IPW 2023 will generate a positive impact on the San Antonio economy, with projections for more than 395,000 new international visitors and $614 million in international visitor spending in the three years following the show. In addition, IPW 2023 is anticipated to create more than 2,700 new jobs for San Antonio, and contribute $143 million in state and local tax collections.