EDITOR’S NOTE: Inbound readers are welcome to visit NAJ staff at www.THETOUROPERATOR.Com booth at IPW (Booth #855, next to Disney). Also, watch for THE TOUR OPERATOR, our annual state-of-the industry magazine, which will be distributed with Monday’s ipw Daily.
Since the last time ipw was held in Orlando—five years ago in 2010—the number of tour operators from China at this year’s event, which launches on Saturday, May 30, will have increased 400 percent! This is what Malcolm Smith senior vice president of business development and general manager of ipw for the U.S. Travel Association, revealed when he discussed “What’s New for ipw in 2015” at NAJ’s recent RTO Summit East in New York. There were just over 20 operators from China five years ago and now, Smith said, 109 are expected to attend the trade show (May 30-June 3) in Orlando.
While China is on track to become the largest overseas source market for inbound tourism to the USA within the next several years, tour operators from the UK, he current top overseas market, seem to be ensuring that the British will strengthen its position as a leading market: In what Smith described as “an explosion out of the UK” since 2010, the number of British tour operators is expected to increase 40 percent—from 123 delegates five years ago to 172 this year. The No. 3 delegation in international buyers this year will come from Brazil, whose numbers will increase 30 percent—from 56 in 2010 to 73 this year.
The following two tables show the top ten buyer delegations to ipw in Orlando in 2010 and 2015.
Other numbers presented by Smith at the RTO Summit East seem to reflect the profile of an industry in recovery, as 2009 was a trough year following the global economic recession of 2008-09. Overall, it is reflected in the total number of international delegates–both buyers and journalists.
In addition to increases in the number of international buyers and journalists, the makeup of the event and its branding as changed as well, Smith noted, explaining that it is more about Brand USA and less about US Travel. As a result, it is identified as “ipw, powered by US Travel,” while Brand USA represents the U.S. as a destination.
Perhaps the key change to the show’s identification since 2010 has been the disposal of “International Pow Wow” as the name of the show, selecting instead the “ipw” brand just after the 2013 show took place. US Travel will soon announce host cities through the year 2024—a move that will help travel companies worldwide to build their own calendars around the event. At the moment, the host cities (following Orlando) will be:
-New Orleans, Louisiana – 2016 (last hosted in 2002)
-Washington, D.C. – 2017 (first-time host)
-Denver, Colorado – 2018 (last hosted in 1991)
-Anaheim, California – 2019 (last hosted in 2007)
-Las Vegas, Nevada – 2020 (last hosted in 2013)