June 1-5 in Anaheim will mark the 51st annual staging of the inbound U.S. tour and travel industry’s “Big Dance.” If you don’t do IPW, industry professionals will tell you, then you’re not serious about working the inbound international market. When one takes a look at the list of cities that have hosted IPW since its inception in 1969, one gets the impression that, with few exceptions, only “the big boys” need apply.
Why? Because it requires, at the very least, the following: A huge convention center—not necessarily because there are so many attendees, but because, in addition to sufficient exhibit space, the event requires contiguous function space that makes a luncheon for 6,000 people easy, as well as space for ancillary meetings and event management; local ground transport to pick up and return delegates at the airport, at hotels and at evening functions; a city government that understands the importance of such an event and doesn’t create roadblocks for necessary permits and approvals; and a tourism community volunteer force willing to put in untold extra hours for many months leading up to IPW; and convenient air service—i.e., a destination that is preferably non-stop, especially for international delegates.
The above might help to explain, in part, why 30 of the 50 previous editions of IPW were hosted by major and/or populous U.S. cities such as New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Las Vegas, Miami and Orlando. Only New Orleans, which the 49th largest city in the U.S., has hosted IPW on three or more occasions. After this year, it’s back to the usual for the next five years, with the exception of San Antonio—it is the 10th most populous city in the U.S.—which will host the event in 2023.