The U.S travel industry’s premier international marketplace, that got off to a flying start in Denver, Colorado, brings over 6,000 delegates from across 70 countries, to the ‘Mile High City’
IPW is currently underway, and runs between May 19 – 23rd, 2018. It has attracted over 6,000 delegates – including travel agents, tourism experts, tourism marketing companies as well as several journalists – from as many as 70 different countries, across the globe. Over 11,000 business appointments take place at IPW every year and the market place generates over USD 4.7 billion in future travel business to the United States of America.
Denver last hosted IPW in 1991. Each year, an American city is chosen to host the event after intensive pitching. Mayor of Denver, Michael B. Hancock addressed the media at a press brunch saying, “It is an absolute honour to host IPW.” IPW has proven to generate over 700,000 new International visitors and USD1.7 billion in tourism revenue, for the host city, over a period of three years. Mayor Hancock also said that India remains a key-market for Denver.
India, a key market for Brand U.S.A
According to the National Travel and Tourism Office (NTTO), 1.17 million travellers from India visited the United States during 2016 – 4 per cent more than the preceding year. Those travellers spent USD 13.4 billion (figures revised October 2017), during their trips, which puts India at No. 6 in terms of International Visitor Spending just behind China, Mexico, Canada, Japan, and the United Kingdom.
Roger J. Dow, President and CEO, U.S. Travel Association, referred to India as a ‘monster-market’ with tremendous potential. He also announced that Global Entry – a program that expedites entry of low-risk, pre-approved travellers to U.S. – has recently been expanded to include India, making the customs and immigration process speedier for Indian travellers.
Christopher L. Thompson, President and CEO, Brand USA said, “India’s capacity as a growing market for U.S. travel is extraordinary. India has over 50 million passport holders, and that number will likely double over the next 10 years. India also has a huge, growing middle class that has the means to travel, and the U.S. is often their dream destination.”
Youth, Family and Luxury
As the youth market continues to grow, the demographics of the traveller could change thereby changing the attractions visited and activities that Indian travellers participate in, when in the U.S.A. Sheema Vohra, Managing Director of Sartha Global Marketing which is the sole representative of Brand USA in India said, “Theme parks and attractions continue to be popular, coupled with shopping and fly/drive holidays. India has one of the youngest populations in the World. Entertainment, beaches, outdoor experiences, and major events are important to the youth. The luxury market is also growing, and these travellers are looking for curated experiences beyond hotels and restaurants.”
Thompson added that connectivity remains a key element when it comes to attracting travellers. He said, “Direct flights by Air India, from Delhi to San Francisco and Washington D.C. is sure to have a huge impact.”
NYC remains the No. 1 tourist destination in U.S.A. Makiko Matsuda Healy, Managing Director, Tourism Market Development, NYC & Company said, “As far as the India market is concerned, we are seeing a lot of younger travellers; the demographic is slowly changing from visiting friends and relatives, to friends’ getaways in NYC. IIFA which was held in NYC in 2017, also gave the city a boost. You had all these Bollywood stars walking around the various neighbourhoods, clicking selfies; it wasn’t planned advertisement. It just happened organically as the stars are well-heeled travellers.” This in turn introduced their fans to attractions in NYC that are rarely visited by the first-time traveller.
Healy added, “While Times Square remains among the most frequented attractions, particularly for first-time travellers, we are also finding that Indian travellers are showing a great interest in walking tours, which may be due to the growing youth population in the country.”
Also mentioning the younger demographic of the Indian traveller, Thompson said, “A lot of India is the ‘connect-and-share’ generation. Such demographics fit well with our plans to expand Brand USA’s new travel-entertainment TV Channel GoUSA TV.” GoUSA TV is the new marketing channel that promotes the USA across mobiles and computer screens around the World. It is currently available on Roku, Apple TV, and Amazon Fire TV. “This digital platform is a great way to reach the Indian youth, and to get them interested in a host of different activities and attractions” said Thompson.
Yet another recent initiative by Brand USA is the, ‘Hear the music, experience the USA’, an integrated marketing campaign that uses the power of music – a universal language– to connect with the International traveller. Five American artists from five different cities reimagined the classic American song by Bobby Freeman, ‘Do you wanna dance?’ Each version touched upon a different genre – Jazz, blues, Hip-Hop – which tied up with, and showcased the rich musical traditions of a particular American city.
IPW started in 1968 as Discover America International Pow Wow. The name was initially chosen to honour the customs of the Native Americans; a pow-wow refers to a social gathering of many different native tribes. But as the event got greater online exposure, readers thought the name referred to a Native American cultural event. Therefore, the full-form was dropped and ‘IPW’ was born.