Prior to this issue, in recognition of the 50th anniversary of IPW, INBOUND has been running a feature in which various tour and travel industry professionals have told us about their most memorable IPW moment over the years. We didn’t have to wait long for perhaps the most memorable moment at this year’s IPW in Denver.
It occurred at Monday’s inaugural luncheon at IPW, when Roger Dow, US Travel’s president and CEO, was going through a roll-call of the approximately 6,000 delegates dining at some 600 tables spread over several football-field sized blocks of space.
After first asking everyone to stand, Dow then pared the crowd of delegates by asking them to sit down, in order, beginning with those who were attending their first IPW. He then called for those who had attended 5 IPWs to sit down, followed by those who had attended 10, and so on. When he got the point just prior to asking those with more than 40 IPWs to sit down, there were only a handful of people remaining in the cavernous Brand USA Luncheon Hall.
Two of them were right up front, directly in front of Dow, and separated by one table: Mike Gallagher, co-founder and co-chairman of CityPASS; and Noel Irwin Hentschel, chairman and CEO of AmericanTours International. Friends and colleagues in the tour and travel industry in California, it turns out that both of them attended the first of their 41 IPWs in 1978 in Albuquerque, New Mexico.