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This Just In

Attendance at IPW 2024 Increases 20% Over Last Year

Marlene Goldman, News Editor
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LAS VEGAS — The U.S. Travel Association’s IPW travel industry marketplace, the largest generator of international inbound travel to the U.S., saw a 20% increase in attendance over 2023’s event at its 55th annual conference this week. Held May 3-7 at the Los Angeles Convention Center, IPW drew approximately 5,700 attendees from nearly 70 countries, including a 15% increase in buyers and a 16% increase in media over last year. IPW drives more than $5.5 billion in economic impact in future travel to the U.S.

IPW brought together U.S. travel suppliers with international tour operators and buyers for some 100,000 scheduled business appointments over three days. Though the growth in attendance over last year is an indication of travel’s continuing recovery, the total inbound visitation to the U.S. remained at just 84% recovered at the end of 2023 from 2019 levels.

Related: U.S. Travel Association Launches Sustainable Travel Coalition

U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Geoff Freeman addressed the shortfall in international visitors during IPW.  “When you look at travel as an export, before the pandemic, we had a total of $12 billion in travel trade surplus. At the end of last year, we had about a $50 billion travel trade deficit,” Freeman said. “We have serious problems on the international inbound travel side that we have to resolve. Some of those problems are within our control and some of those problems are outside our control. There’s not a whole lot we can do about the strength of our dollar. There’s not a whole lot we can do about the limitations of flying over Russian air space, which is a major inhibitor for bringing Asian travelers to the United States. But there are a lot of issues that we can control, like visa wait times, customs inefficiencies, the challenges travelers now have trying to make a connection and having to rescreen their bags when coming to the United States. Let’s talk about those areas where we can make a difference.”

Brand USA returned as premier sponsor of IPW. Chris Thompson, President and CEO of Brand USA, also spoke to the media at IPW. “We have worked closely with our industry partners to understand how their needs have changed in a post-pandemic world. We know how important international visitors are to their local economy. And we’re going to need to move forward to do everything we can to grow international travel to their communities.”

Fred Dixon, the CEO of New York City Tourism + Conventions, is Brand USA’s incoming President and CEO, and will take the helm of the organization this July 15.

Aside from meetings on the show floor, attendees were treated to superstar entertainment during IPW, including an opening night performance by Diana Ross at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and lunchtime performances throughout the event by Ziggy Marley, Broadway stars hosted by Broadway Inbound and New York City Tourism + Conventions, and the alternative rock band Dogstar featuring Keanu Reeves on bass.

Other highlights included a closing night takeover of Universal Studios Hollywood, destination visits organized for both buyers and media, as well as a variety of post FAM tours throughout California.

The 56th IPW will be held in Chicago from June 14-18, 2025.

Reach Geoff Freeman at 202-408-8422

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