With economic impact to rival Super Bowl, hosting nation’s premier travel event provides first major step to achieving Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s goal of securing 55 million visitors and city’s position within top five destinations for international visitation

February 4, 2014

CHICAGO, IL - This April, Chicago will host the U.S. Travel Association's 46th Annual IPW (formerly known as International Pow Wow), the U.S. travel industry's premier international marketplace. As the host city, Chicago will welcome more than 6,000 travel buyers, suppliers and media from 70-plus countries for three days of intensive deal-making. This year marks the first time since 1998 that Chicago serves as host city for the event.

For Chicago, the economic impact of hosting IPW, which will take place April 5 - 9, rivals that of the Super Bowl. It is a critical component to achieving the goals set forth by Mayor Emanuel.  Upon creating Choose Chicago in July 2012, Mayor Emanuel charged the team with increasing annual visitation to 50 million by 2020 and elevating Chicago to among the top five most visited US cities by international travelers.  Mayor Emanuel recently increased the annual visitation goal to 55 million visitors by 2020.

"Hosting IPW is, without a doubt Chicago's biggest job interview," said Don Welsh, President and CEO, Choose Chicago.  "This highly sought after event is critical to growing Chicago's piece of the international market share. Chicago last hosted the event in 1998, and it is no secret that in that time, the city has evolved into a truly global destination with unmatched cultural attractions, award-winning chefs and restaurants, and endless entertainment options. We are excited to welcome the international travel community and to showcase our amazing assets, including many of those beyond the Loop."

Since Chicago last hosted IPW in 1998, Choose Chicago has opened 10 offices in seven international markets. These offices' sales and public relations efforts in these markets have delivered positive results over the past two years and will only further extend the impact that IPW has to increasing international tourism to the city and achieving Mayor Emanuel's tourism goals.

The U.S. Travel Association released a compelling new analysis of the economic impact of IPW. A comparison of the economic impact of the 2013 IPW event in Las Vegas with a similar study of the 2012 Super Bowl in Indianapolis shows that, while the Super Bowl attracted more attendees, the measurable total impact of IPW is longer - three years as opposed to four days - and significantly larger across key economic categories. For the host city, IPW produced more than four times as many direct expenditures; delivered more than five times the amount of GDP value-added direct impact; and generated greater tax revenues across the local, state and federal levels.

"We always knew that IPW delivers super-sized economic benefits to the U.S. host city and the United States. We now know those effects are Super Bowl-sized," said U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow. "A city's investment in IPW is the gift that keeps giving, paying dividends over three years in the form of more international visitors and spending in the host city and throughout the country."

For the U.S. host city, the report-conducted by research consulting firm Rockport Analytics, LLC-found that IPW, as evidenced by its effect on Las Vegas, will result in:

  • A 1.06 million increase in the total number of international visitors over the next three years;
  • An increase in tourism spending of $1.6 billion; and
  • A direct economic benefit of $891 million.

For the United States, travel initiated by IPW 2013 will:

  • Attract 8.8 million additional international visitors;
  • Increase total international visitor spending by $28 billion;
  • Add $4.7 billion in direct bookings to U.S. destinations over the next three years;
  • Directly contribute $16 billion to U.S. GDP;
  • Support 114,900 U.S. jobs annually;
  • Add $11 billion in U.S. wages; and
  • Contribute more than $4.2 billion to state, local and federal tax revenues.

Rockport Analytics' period of analysis matches the travel booking cycle, recognizing that travel booked through IPW is booked up to three years in advance. The firm's earlier study of the 2012 Super Bowl determined that the game's duration of significant economic impact lasted four days.

To read the report, please visit:

For information on IPW 2014 in Chicago, April 5-9, please visit:


For Wagstaff Worldwide:
Kathleen O'Connell, (O) 312-943-6900, (C) 317.292.4160
Chip Bouchard Vassil, (O) 312-943-6900, (C) 202-329-2178

For Choose Chicago:
Meghan Risch, (C) 312-388-1174

For the U.S. Travel Association:
Cathy Keefe, (O) 202-408-2183, (C) 703-899-7031

Chris Kennedy, (O) 202-218-3603, (C) 202-465-6635


The U.S. Travel Association is the national, non-profit organization representing all components of the travel industry that generates $2.0 trillion in economic output and supports 14.6 million jobs. U.S. Travel's mission is to increase travel to and within the United States.

Follow us on Twitter at @ustravel

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