IPW19 was maybe US Travel Association’s most significant ever with over 6,000 people attending in Anaheim. We caught up with Lucy Rowe, President of Visit USA Australia, to gauge her insights on this year’s show.
IPW is the annual four-day travel and tourism global showcase for all things America which is hosted by a different U.S city every year.
IPW19 took place in one of Australia’s top travel destinations for the U.S., Anaheim in Orange County which is home to Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park, Knotts Berry Farm, Huntington Beach and a host of other attractions.
The Australian contingent attending the mega show saw 30 wholesale buyers from companies including Flight Centre, Helloworld, Excite, Luxury Escapes and Adventure World as well as media delegates including ourselves at Karryon.
So why is IPW such an important calendar event for the Australian Travel industry? According to Lucy Rowe, it’s all about “the experience”.
“IPW is such a unique experience for our Australian delegates and is so valuable because they get to connect and do business with so many different people from all over the states in one place. It’s also an essential opportunity for us to check in on our Visit USA members that have been members for years as well as new members that have just joined up. “
“We’re at record levels of members for Visit USA, which is fantastic, and I think coming to IPW always assists in that growth. We always get a great result when we get home and realise just how many new members have signed up.”
Every year, the 6,000 IPW delegates get spoiled with a range of A-list acts entertaining them at lunchtime and evening events hosted by U.S tourism boards.
This year was no exception with the casts of Disney on Broadway hit shows, The Lion King, Aladdin and Frozen performing at lunchtime along with The Beach Boys, Jason Derulo and Natasha Bedingfield as well as Snoop Dogg rocking the Visit California at a sunset party on Huntington Beach.
“We’ve got quite a number of new faces here this year, and they’re absolutely loving it. I sat with a few of them at lunch yesterday, and the look on their faces when the Broadway show came out was priceless.”
The key theme this year was the move from ‘products’ to ‘experiences’ as well as the continued goal of regional dispersal out of U.S major ports.
“We want to inspire more Australian travellers to venture further into the country and experience newer areas. Places that they would not necessarily have had access to previously without lots of planes, trains, and automobiles. I think it’s really exciting to see Australians appetite growing for doing more, and spending more time and money in the states.”
“The average stay for Australian travellers is between 18 to 20 days. They are repeat visitors and on average visit 2-2.5 states per visit. We’re so fortunate that we get such long holidays because we need that time to get to a destination and then spend quality time exploring.”
Of course, Australians have always been pioneering travellers and are quite happy to do things probably a little bit different from some countries and cultures – But what is it that still brings people back to the U.S?
For the large part, says Lucy, “It’s the people.”
“The American people are always very welcoming to Australians. The capability to quickly immerse yourself in the culture means that people can get off the plane, hire a car and drive into areas that they wouldn’t necessarily have been able to visit before and feel very comfortable being there.”
“Travellers can mix up their accommodation options, eat at local markets and try new things. Australians have no fear of driving in the states on the other side of the road, so road trips are always high on people’s itineraries.”
What do you think agents should be thinking about when it comes to recommending the states to their clients?
“Generally speaking, Australians at their heart are always looking for, in my opinion, similar things. They love food, music, sports and of course shopping but there are always new things to do, like a Harley Davidson ride through Route 66 or wandering down the French Quarter in New Orleans. There are so many options that agents are never really going to go wrong with whatever they suggest for Australian travellers.”
“Even with a fluctuating dollar, the experience is worth the additional spend and lift out of Australia airfare is still at the lowest ever to get across to the U.S. The spend on the actual travel itself to get to the U.S. is not an issue.”
What are some of your favourite things to do in the U.S?
“It’s such a diverse country with so much to do. It’s hard to have a favourite because everything is so different, and each state will always be a different experience to the one you’ve been to before.”
IPW20 will see the show roll onto the strip in Las Vegas – So what’s in store for next year?
“As soon as we finish one, we’re on to the next one. Las Vegas in 2020 is going to be truly amazing. The city is a destination itself with all of its ever-changing attractions, so it’s going to be a great place to do business and experience all that the U.S has to offer.”
- READ: RIDIN’ HOME: Jason Derulo surprises industry & closes IPW19 with a wiggle
- READ: IPW19: Flight Centre, Helloworld Travel & more Aussies celebrated in the USA
- READ: DISNEYLAND to DOGGYLAND: Snoop Dogg drops it like it’s hot at IPW
Are you interested in attending IPW20 Las Vegas? Email: [email protected] for more info.
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