Making News at IPW: Tuesday's Press Conference Recaps
By: U.S. Travel Staff
Destinations around the country shared exciting news at the Tuesday press conferences.
IPW is always a great place to stay on top of the latest news from the tourism industry. At a series of press conferences held on Tuesday, four legendary destinations shared new developments with international and domestic journalists.
After being battered by Hurricane Ian last year, this sun-soaked Florida destination is back and better than ever, according to Miriam Dotson, communications manager for Fort Myers – Islands, Beaches and Neighborhoods. She shared details about the region’s recovery as well as the debut of new businesses that range from art galleries in downtown Fort Myers to restaurants in Cape Coral. Brian Ososky, the organization’s director of marketing, spoke about the important role that international visitors play in the destination’s recovery and shared stories of the region’s resilience that has helped fuel a strong rebound — from restaurant owners like Peter Ennis of Wahoo Willie’s, who helped other businesses reopen as quickly as possible, and Matthew and Amber Loebs, owners of Elite Adventure Rentals, who used their company’s jet skis to deliver food and supplies during the recovery process.
Walt Leger, New Orleans & Company president and CEO, announced many new and exciting developments taking place across the city—contributing to the city's ongoing transformation. The notable reopening of the aquarium, Audubon, has garnered attention—serving as a key element in the overall redevelopment of the waterfront, breathing new life into the area. A noteworthy addition to the city's skyline is Vue Orleans, boasting a 360-degree indoor and outdoor observation deck, providing visitors with a breathtaking view. Moreover, this attraction offers a multi-level interactive cultural experience, immersing guests in the city's rich heritage. Lastly, the Artemis Rocket project is poised to become the next rocket to embark on a lunar mission, featuring the first woman and person of color to journey to the moon—marking a monumental milestone in space exploration. These developments highlight New Orleans' commitment to growth, cultural preservation, and innovation.
Pennsylvania’s largest city continues to enjoy an ever-greater presence on the international tourism scene. This year, Michelin published its first Philadelphia destination guide, and at yesterday’s conference, Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau (invited James Beard Award nominee Chef Chad Williams, chef and owner of Friday Saturday Sunday, a popular restaurant in Philadelphia, to share his take on Philadelphia as a dream destination for foodies. Michelin Green Guide editor-in-chief Philippe Orain also spoke about the city’s broad appeal, while the Philadelphia CVB vice president of global tourism, Svetlana Yazovskikh, shared news about new attractions, including Otherworld Philadelphia, a mixed-media interactive playground that opens this summer, a new space exhibit at the Franklin Institute that opens later this year and Calder Gardens, a new museum dedicated to famed artist Alexander Calder that’s slated to open in 2024.
Brad Dean, CEO of Discover Puerto Rico, announced the launch of a new wellness retreat product that will make it easier for travelers to find sustainable dining options with local products as well as rejuvenating spa treatments and eco-travel experiences. Dean also highlighted new hotel developments including a Hard Rock Hotel slated to open in Old San Juan this year, a Nayara Resorts property to open in Toro Verde in 2024 and plans for Hilton to double its Puerto Rico portfolio by 2025, with the island’s debut of brands including Curio Collection by Hilton and Hilton Garden Inn, among others. Dean also highlighted the destination’s impressive tourism recovery, with more than 5.1 million passengers arriving at San Juan’s Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport in 2022, a 6.5 percent increase from 2021. In addition, total air arrivals for the first quarter of 2023 are 21 percent higher than a year ago.