April 18 2016
By: Lance Traweek CityBusiness
In June, about 6,000 delegates from 73 countries will visit New Orleans for an annual conference that projects $1.7 billion in direct economic impact for the city over three years.
The city will host the annual IPW, which is the travel industry’s premier international marketplace and largest generator of travel to the United States.
“New Orleans will reap the rewards,” said Cathy Keefe, spokesperson for IPW. “The city has matured in a way. It’s been known for the music and food scene, but it has been taken to a whole new level.”
She said the hotel product that is coming online will be of huge interest to the international tour operators.
“It is a small city with big city offerings,” Keefe said. “There is a special vibe in New Orleans. And the fact that you can walk everywhere is fantastic in attracting international travelers.”
Keefe said IPW has “all the players you want in one room.”
“Our mission is to sell the U.S.,” Keefe said. “Travel is a huge economic powerhouse for the economy.” Tourism is a $2.1 trillion industry in the U.S., employing one in every nine Americans.
Washington, D.C.-based U.S. Travel Association, a nonprofit, operates the IPW. The conference functions as a business show instead of a trade show. The first few days of the conference includes sightseeing tours for the delegates, international buyers and media. At the venue, travel professionals from across the nation, including representatives of hotels, destinations and museums will market their attractions to top international tour operators and wholesalers who sell travel to the United States.