With a riot of colours and amidst impressive display of Texan cultural heritage, the IPW2023 opened in San Antonio in Texas on Monday, after a series of cultural activities on the weekend that gave a foretaste of what lay ahead.
Brand USA, the destination marketing organisation of the US, opened IPW 2023 with an immersive press conference showcasing the USA as an unrivalled travel destination, as well as the reveal of the organization’s latest consumer marketing campaign, provided international travel forecast, and consumer sentiment insights.
IPW is the leading trade show for inbound travel to the United States, bringing more than 5,000 industry professionals from more than 60 countries to San Antonio, Texas for the first time. Over 200 international journalists from around the world are also attending the show. Brand USA is the premier sponsor of the annual event produced by the US Travel Association and taking place for the first time in San Antonio, Texas.
The press conference featured iconic and lesser-known destinations and attractions, from the best places to taste local cuisine to stepping into the song lyrics or movie locations that first inspired a visit, being pampered in the lap of luxury, or experiencing the USA through the eyes of a sports enthusiast.
“There’s no other destination like the United States. What sets the USA apart is the diversity of our geography, the diversity of our experiences, the diversity of our people, and our one-of-a-kind pop culture,” said Brand USA President and CEO, Chris Thompson in his speech at the opening press conference.
Thompson said that often USA pop culture is the way that people around the world first get to know the United States. “How did you first come to know the United States? Were you on the road with Jack Kerouac, walking the line with Johnny Cash, or having breakfast with Audrey Hepburn at Tiffany’s? Regardless, I bet you were left with a dream, an idea, and an intangible excitement, and you knew you just had to experience it all for yourself,” Thompson told the media.
Thompson, who is bullish on inbound travel to the USA, gave examples of how pent-up demand continues to drive economic recovery in communities throughout the country as more and more people are now booking travel and living out their dreams. He highlighted how two recent barriers to travel have been alleviated. He said that overall airlines expect a near 100 pc return of connectivity by the end of the year, and that effective May 12, international travellers are no longer required to have a Covid-19 vaccination to enter the United States.
The worldwide travel restart has created a highly competitive global market for the lucrative international visitor. To move consumers more quickly from aspiration to action, Brand USA recently launched a marketing campaign across 10 key markets. The campaign showcases how the USA delivers on the consumer promise that whoever you want to be and whatever experience you long for, the United States is where you can find it. He unveiled a couple of the campaigns that highlight the United States as an adventure destination and as a destination for family fun. IPW2023 will conclude on May 24.
Before the event opened, the visiting media were given an extensive and immersive experience of the rich multicultural diversity of Texan heritage, with visits to Alamo, the historic Market Square of San Antonio, said to the largest Mexican market outside of Mexico, as well as Viva San Antonio, a cultural evening at the historic La Villita that reflected San Antonio’s past, present and future.