Recently we were among the journalists selected to attended the country’s biggest promotional event for U.S. travel. It is called IPW, formerly known as International Pow-Wow. IPW is the American travel industry’s premier international marketplace and largest generator of foreign travel to the United States.
Held once each year, the gathering is put on by the U.S. Travel Association, whose mission is to increase travel to and within the United States. This year’s venue was in ever-fabulous Las Vegas, Nevada.
Every year, over 1,000 exhibitors from U.S. travel services and destinations come together to strut their unique stuff for over 5,000 attendees including domestic and international travel buyers and journalists from 70+ countries.
Three days of fun and negotiations results in more than $4.5 billion in future travel plans to visit the USA. The huge booking results in tens of thousands of jobs in the U.S. travel service industry and related fields.
In the past three years, travel exports (classified as "exports" because international buyers are booking and paying for the purchase of services to be performed in the United States) added more U.S. jobs than agriculture and manufacturing exports. Think about that – international visitors have a huge economic impact on U.S. employment, and our balance of trade.
Tourism touches many aspects of American business, from transportation to hospitality (food and accommodations), vacation expenditures on activities and entertainment, and clothing and gifts -- to name just a few.
The IPW is not open to the public, so how are all these buyers and foreign journalists enticed to register, pay, and visit the U.S. to see what our nation has to offer?
Location, location, location
Each annual IPW is held in an exciting vacation destination. Recent events were held in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Las Vegas. Next year Chicago will be the host city, followed by Orlando, and Miami.
Here’s what we experienced in Las Vegas
Las Vegas rolled out the red carpet for the international visitors and journalists. We experienced the best food, accommodations, and entertainment that Las Vegas has to offer. To get an idea, see the slideshow in the upper left area of this article.
Several star attractions joined together to provide a preview of their shows. That event was followed by each attendee selecting from a list of available shows to be seen that night. We opted for "Jersey Boys" at the Paris Las Vegas. The blockbuster super hit that is based on the story and music of Frankie Valley and The Four Seasons was truly remarkable, and received a much deserved standing ovation.
IPW participants also had an opportunity to select from an assortment of Las Vegas tours. We decided to try houseboating on Lake Mead.
Hosted by Forever Resorts, we enjoyed a pleasant afternoon previewing what a vacation on a houseboat would be like. With just that little taste, we could tell this is fabulous family fun, and we look forward to writing about a future houseboat vacation.
We moved between many of the event locations via the Las Vegas Monorail -- a wonderfully air-conditioned and clean means of transportation available to everyone in the city. The Monorail is easy to access from most of the hotels on the Strip, and provides quick and efficient service to the Las Vegas Convention Center. Get information and prices at http://www.lvmonorail.com
While in Las Vegas, we stayed at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in one of their 380 (out of a total 2,522 suites) newly redesigned Samba Suites. Located in the Masquerade Tower, we found our roomy accommodation very comfortable, and it came with an outstanding panoramic view of Las Vegas. The Rio is just a short taxi or shuttle ride from the Strip, and the savings are so worth the extra effort. Check out all they have to offer at http://www.riolasvegas.com
If you are planning a U.S. vacation
Check out the official travel and tourism website for the USA at www.DiscoverAmerica.com There you will find travel photos, trip ideas, flight and hotel information, etc.
The video located at the beginning of the article was created for Discover America, and provides the viewer with an entertaining glimpse of all the wonderful things that make our country great.
This article was written to recognize the unselfish hard work of the many fine people and organizations who create jobs and sales revenue for American businesses through travel and tourism.
At the time of this writing, the Federal Government of the United States has greatly neutralized these efforts by creating a situation where national parks, monuments, and other important American vacation destinations are closed to both domestic and foreign visitors.
Please contact your government representatives and the White House and demand that they do their jobs so ordinary Americans can keep theirs.
© Travels with Wayne and Judy Bayliff
Photos © Judy Bayliff
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