Perfect day on the green for Air Canada YellowBird golf tournament

IPW 2023 in San Antonio, TX: “There is no destination like the U.S. anywhere in the world”

SAN ANTONIO — More than 5,000 industry professionals from more than 60 countries are networking and making deals – and no doubt celebrating too – in San Antonio this week, as IPW 2023 gets underway in travel’s stellar recovery year.

IPW, a mainstay on the travel industry calendar for decades, will host an incredible 110,000+ appointments between more than 1,200 U.S. travel suppliers and over 1,300 travel buyers from around the world this week. More than 500 media are in attendance as well. IPW drives an estimated US$5.5 billion in future travel to the U.S.

Brand USA, the nation’s destination marketing organization, is the premier sponsor of the annual event, taking place May 20 – 24 and produced by the U.S. Travel Association.

“There’s no other destination like the United States,” said Brand USA President and CEO, Chris Thompson. Thompson welcomed the media to IPW with a press conference this past weekend, highlighting new campaigns, travel forecasts, consumer sentiment insights and more.

“What sets the USA apart is the diversity of our geography, the diversity of our experiences, the diversity of our people, and our one-of-a-kind pop culture,” he added. Thompson described how USA pop culture is often the way people around the world first get to know the U.S. He asked: “How did you first come to know the United States? Were you on the road with Jack Kerouac, walking the line with Johnny Cash, or having breakfast with Audrey Hepburn at Tiffany’s? Regardless, I bet you were left with a dream, an idea, and an intangible excitement, and you knew you just had to experience it all for yourself.”

The final COVID-era barrier to visiting the U.S. – the COVID-19 vaccination requirement for international inbound travellers, and at the Canada-U.S. border – ended effective May 12.

Thompson also noted that airlines expect a near 100% return of connectivity by the end of the year.

No wonder 2023 is shaping up to be a record-breaker for inbound travel to the U.S.

To capitalize on the momentum, Brand USA recently launched a marketing campaign across 10 key markets. Thompson shared two of the latest campaign assets: adventure, and family fun. The idea is to move would-be travellers ‘from aspiration to action’.

Perfect day on the green for Air Canada YellowBird golf tournament


Meanwhile new Ipsos survey data from the U.S. Travel Association underlines travel’s recovery – and also its challenges, amid plateauing but persistent inflation, and slightly weakening consumer spending. Concerns about the hassles of air travel, either real or perceived, are also a factor. The data focuses on U.S. travellers.

  • Over a quarter of Americans (26%) plan to increase the amount they are spending on leisure travel in the next three months, up from 19% in Q1
  • Just over half of all Americans (53%) and 81% of leisure travellers have travel planned in the next six months
  • Seven in 10 Americans with leisure travel plans and 60% of all Americans agree that ‘taking time off is more important than ever’
  • The percentage of Americans citing personal financial reasons as a reason for not having leisure plans fell in Q2 to 37% from 51% in Q1 while air travel hassles and the possibility of flight delays and cancellations have increased for Americans choosing not to travel
  • Two in five Americans (42%) say they have travelled by air for leisure in the past 12 months and 35% of those reported having a flight delayed or cancelled. Less than one-third of recent air travellers (32%) are very satisfied with the air travel experience
  • Over half of Americans (52%) say they would travel more for leisure in the next six months if the travel experience was not as much of a hassle, significantly more than Q1 (29%)


This is San Antonio’s first time hosting IPW.

“To say that we are thrilled you are here, would be an understatement of the century,” said Mark Anderson, CEO, Visit San Antonio. “This is a historic moment for our city. And it’s an honour to serve as the host city for this premiere occasion, where the world comes together and are immersed in the history and culture of some of the most iconic cities in the United States. There is no other destination than San Antonio, to experience blended cultures of indigenous, Spanish, Mexican, German, and so many others. This confluence of cultures lives not only just through our history and lives, through our creative community as well.”

IPW 2023’s hallmark event – the tradeshow, with its 110,000+ appointments – opened yesterday and continues today and tomorrow.

At the tradeshow luncheon yesterday, Thompson encouraged IPW delegates to get out and enjoy San Antonio. “San Antonio is a terrific place to visit, and you’ll certainly know more about that as a result of this week’s events,” he said to cheers.

He added that IPW’s closing event on Wednesday night will take place at one of the most iconic historical spots in Texas, if not the entire U.S.: The Alamo.

“What a great time to be in the travel and tourism industry,” said Thompson. “This is my 40th year in the destination marketing space, and I can’t think of a more impactful time to be doing what we’re doing.”

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