The Quad-Cities Convention & Visitors Bureau will reap the benefits of having the International Pow Wow — the U.S. travel industry's premier marketplace — convening in Chicago this year.
Joe Taylor, the tourism bureau's president and CEO, said more than 6,000 international guests from 70-plus countries are expected to attend the show, April 5-9, at McCormick Place. But before and after the show, the Quad-City tourism bureau will host nearly 75 of the participants, who have made appointments to visit the bi-state region.
"One of the ways we sell the Quad-Cities is by getting international guests here," he said. "The show is close enough this year that we can conduct pre- and post-familiarization tours."
Taylor said what makes the International Pow Wow, or IPW for short, different is that it's an appointment-based event.
"You're not just relying on somebody walking by your booth,'' he said, adding that the bureau also will be represented at the show to meet with international travel buyers and journalists.
According to Taylor, four different groups of visitors will tour the Quad-City region on trips that focus on the area's agricultural base as well as the Mississippi River. Created in partnership with the Silos and Smokestacks National Heritage Association, an Iowa Ag Tours pre-tour is April 3-5 with a visit to the Quad-Cities planned for April 5. An AgriTours Illinois post-tour will be April 10-13, visiting the Quad-Cities April 11-12. An Illinois Great Rivers Country pre-tour will be April 1-4 and a post-tour April 10-13 with stops, respectively, in the Quad-Cities on April 3 and 10.
The Iowa pre-tour also will visit Dubuque, Waterloo and Ames to see various Deere & Co. facilities. The Illinois tour will travel along the Mississippi from Galena to the Quad-Cities.
In addition, Quad-City tourism staff members are partnering with the Iowa Ag Tours and AgriTours Illinois on an IPW booth. The local office has attended the show for about 20 years.
"When it's not in Chicago, we'll only send one or two people," Taylor said, adding that he and three staff members plan to attend. "But because it's so close, we don't have airfare and a lot of costs that would normally go into traveling."
Last year's IPW was in Las Vegas, and next year's will be in Orlando, Fla. It is sponsored by the U.S. Travel Association.
A comparison study of the economic impact of the 2013 IPW event in Las Vegas and the 2012 Super Bowl in Indianapolis found that while the Super Bowl attracted more attendees, the measurable total impact of IPW was longer-lasting — three years as opposed to four days — and significantly larger across key economic categories.
"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,'' Roger Dow, president and CEO of the travel association, said in a news release.