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At U.S. Travel’s IPW, the association’s President and CEO Geoff Freeman shared a vision to make travel a national priority, solve barriers to visitation growth, and become the most-visited nation in the world.

“It should be our national goal to be nothing short of number one in terms of visitor arrivals, visitor spend and visitor experience,” Freeman said. “But our ambitions are constrained by excessively long wait times for visitor visas, often-lengthy waits at customs, and an air traffic control system that is challenged to meet demand. Achieving travel growth will require a sustained focus by government and industry to address frictions and improve the process for travelers.”

The 55th annual IPW is being held May 3-7 at the Los Angeles Convention Center. IPW drives more than $5.5 billion in economic impact in future travel to the U.S.

A decade of opportunity for the United States

Freeman pointed to a decade of opportunity ahead as the United States prepares to welcome millions of new travelers to major events in destinations nationwide, such as Copa America this summer, the FIFA World Cup games and America’s 250th celebration in 2026, and the Summer Olympics in Los Angeles in 2028, among others that will attract leisure and business travelers.

At U.S. Travel’s IPW press conference, Freeman was joined by a panel of the Commission on Seamless and Secure Travel, including co-chair Kevin McAleenan, former Acting Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and Patty Cogswell, former Deputy Administrator of the Transportation Security Administration. They participated in a conversation focused on creating a more efficient, secure and modern travel system for the U.S. The commission—comprised of former government officials and private sector experts—is tasked with making policy recommendations to modernize the travel experience, increase U.S. travel competitiveness and facilitate growth.

Freeman told media, “IPW is back,” citing attendance this year of approximately 5,700 attendees from nearly 70 countries. IPW convenes U.S. travel suppliers with international tour operators and buyers for 100,000 scheduled business appointments over three days. This year’s IPW saw a 20% increase in attendance over 2023’s event, an indication of travel’s continuing recovery. However, total inbound visitation to the U.S. remained at just 84% recovered (at the end of 2023) of 2019 levels, so much work remains ahead to build arrivals and increase market share.

Brand USA returned as premier sponsor of IPW. American Express is the official card of the U.S. Travel Association.

The 56th IPW will be held in Chicago from June 14-18, 2025.