The US Travel Association is reporting that nearly 4,800 attendees participated in the recent IPW 2022, which took place in Orlando, Florida, this past June 4-8. The annual event connects travel companies and organizations from across the industry—hotels, attractions, sports teams, cruise lines, airlines, and transportation companies—with buyers from around the world.
The association, which has been working diligently to urge the Biden administration to overturn the COVID-era pre-departure testing requirement for inbound vaccinated travelers to the US received the good news during the event that the mandate was being lifted as of June 12. The US was among the last major countries to drop the mandate, and associations across the industry have noted the serious impact it has had on the recovery of tourism to the US. Canada, following the lead of the US, also paused the random COVID testing among its vaccinated travelers, although it is expected to return in July.
USTA President & CEO Roger Dow is encouraged by the news, and shared an updated international travel forecast during the convention in light of the change. The international travel forecast now projects that international arrivals and spending will fully recover to 2019 levels by 2025, but the US could gain an additional 5.4 million visitors and $9 billion in spending by the end of 2022 with the removal of the pre-departure testing.
Dow, who is stepping down from the association this year, was also encouraged by the number of attendees from across the world who joined the Florida conference, even before the mandate was lifted.
“This IPW is sending a message that the US is open for business and eager to welcome travelers from around the world,” said Dow. “We are taking a huge step forward here to bring back international travel, restore jobs, and re-establish the bonds that connect our countries and cultures.”
In 2023, IPW heads to San Antonio, Texas—a first for the association—for its 54th annual conference May 20-24.