Aussies a hit on the conference floor for IPW 2024

The Aussie traveller was wooed at IPW this week, hitting the top five markets for a number of states, including Texas and Utah, plus New York City.

IPW, the blue-chip travel soiree, drives more than $5.5 billion in economic impact in future travel to the US and more than 600 media representatives from around the world attended this year, playing a key role in generating coverage for America’s tourism industry.

The US is the top long-haul destination for Aussie travellers, and the third most popular destination overall after New Zealand and Indonesia, so it is no surprise that various tourism boards did what they could to lure us in. And did they put on a party!

From Curtis Stone at the California Plaza stand to a mini-Broadway spectacle at the New York City Luncheon, Aussies were invited, entertained, wined, dined and wooed. Nearly every state Travel Weekly met had Australians top of mind. We stay the longest, we spend big and we are easy-going, all that in a category that the US has increasingly tricky relations in globally.

In NYC alone, the economic impact of travel to the Big Apple was a whopping US$74 billion (AU$122 billion) with 62.2 million visitors in 2023.

“Tour operators, retail travel agents and online platforms play crucial roles in providing information and bookings for Australian travellers,” said Monique Roos, senior commercial specialist at the US Commercial Service.

Delegates work the floor of IPW 2024.

Delegates work the floor of IPW 2024.

Australian rebound continues

Australian travel to the US is continuing to rebound and the strong cultural and economic ties between the two countries has endured.

Delta Air Lines also hosted a dinner for its Southern Hemisphere partners and Travel Weekly was there, a trade exclusive. Delta will run 17 flights between the US and Australia, including a direct flight from Brisbane to LA starting on 4 December. The new route will run three times a week on Monday, Wednesday and Friday until March 28, 2025, to meet the more popular travel period during the American winter and Australian summer.

Other functions and parties included a bash at the Santa Monica 113-year-old pier (two nights in a row, in case you missed the first one), a sophisticated gathering with I love New York at the Grammy Museum where we were treated to tiny but delicious morsels of food, a contradiction for America where everything is huge. At a guess, we consumed about 12 miniature lobster rolls, the size of a thumb, they were so delicious. And, of course, who could say no to the Texas party, complete with cowboy hats, mac ‘n’ cheese and a DJ spinning old favourites.

It was Washington DC, though, that stole everyone’s dancing hearts, with the party to almost beat the opening night performance of Diana Ross. The DC event was a joyous celebration of Pride and the LGBTQI community, in preparation for hosting the 2025 World Pride.

I’m ready for a detox. Oh wait, there’s still another day to go, and a Closing Party for 6000 of my new best friends at Universal Studio tonight.

2024 IPW – Sunday Recap Reel on Vimeo

(Feature image and gallery courtesy US Travel Association)

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