The general manager of a major international travel show said this week’s convention in New Orleans was a hit. It drew about 6,000 attendees from 73 countries.
The IPW travel show is organized by the US Travel Association and is aimed at attracting international visitors. New Orleans is approaching the 10 million mark for annual visitors. Officials want about one million of them to be international visitors by the city’s 300th birthday in 2018.
The convention general manager, Malcolm Smith, says that could happen – especially with the announcement this month that Condor Airlines of Germany will offer direct flights to New Orleans from Frankfurt starting in May.
“That’s huge, because that flight is going to be marketed very heavily all throughout Germany. So the German consumer is going to really be seeing a lot more of New Orleans. Likewise, Copa Airways recently started service from Panama to New Orleans. And they’re really using that as a gateway through all of South America," he said.
IPW was last held in New Orleans before Hurricane Katrina.
Smith says many were impressed with the city’s’ recovery and amenities.
“One thing I did hear from one of the Chinese visitors who was here – one of the largest tour operators in China – that they were so surprised at how many things there were to do in the city that they had never previously considered coming here before," he said.
The New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau estimates that the IPW show will boost the local economy for the next three years with trips booked to the city.