U.S.A, THE MOST-VISITED NATION GLOBALLY? THE STRATEGIES DISCUSSED AT IPW 2024

by
Sorin Dutoiu, at 7 May. 24, in News

At the 55th annual IPW conference, hosted by U.S. Travel, Geoff Freeman, the association’s President and CEO, unveiled an ambitious vision for the future of travel in the United States.

IPW, known as the largest generator of international inbound travel to the U.S., gathered industry leaders at the Los Angeles Convention Center from May 3-7 to discuss strategies for driving growth and making travel a national priority.

Geoff Freeman’s keynote address emphasized the need to overcome barriers hindering visitation growth and to position the U.S. as the most-visited nation globally.

“It should be our national goal to be nothing short of number one in terms of visitor arrivals, visitor spend, and visitor experience,” Freeman stated.

He highlighted challenges such as long wait times for visitor visas, customs delays, and limitations within the air traffic control system, calling for concerted efforts by both government and industry to streamline processes and enhance the traveler experience.

The conference marked a pivotal moment as the United States enters a decade of opportunity, set to host major events like Copa America, the FIFA World Cup, America’s 250th celebration in 2026, and the Summer Olympics in Los Angeles in 2028. These events are expected to attract millions of leisure and business travelers, presenting a significant economic and cultural opportunity for the country.

During the IPW press conference, Freeman was joined by key figures from the Commission on Seamless and Secure Travel, including co-chair Kevin McAleenan, former Acting Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and Patty Cogswell, former Deputy Administrator of the Transportation Security Administration. Together, they discussed strategies for creating a more efficient, secure, and modern travel system in the U.S., with the commission tasked to make policy recommendations aimed at enhancing travel competitiveness and facilitating growth.

Freeman also highlighted the success of this year’s IPW, with approximately 5,700 attendees from nearly 70 countries participating in over 100,000 scheduled business appointments over three days. The event witnessed a 20% increase in attendance compared to the previous year, indicating a positive trajectory for travel’s recovery post-pandemic. However, with total inbound visitation still below pre-pandemic levels, there remains significant work ahead to fully rebuild arrivals and regain market share.

Brand USA, a key player in promoting U.S. tourism, returned as the premier sponsor of IPW, underscoring the industry’s commitment to driving growth and showcasing the best of American hospitality. Additionally, American Express was named the official card of the U.S. Travel Association, further solidifying partnerships within the travel sector.

Looking ahead, the 56th IPW is scheduled to take place in Chicago from June 14-18, 2025, promising another dynamic gathering aimed at fostering collaboration, innovation, and growth within the travel industry.

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