Pow Wow, a $400 million travel industry bonanza headed Miami's way
By Ashley D. Torres
Miami is in line to host the travel industry's 2016 International Pow Wow, which could funnel the county about $400 million from future international visitors.
The US Travel Association's International Pow Wow is a three-day trade show for international wholesalers, travel agents and media to meet with US destination and attraction representatives. As the largest producer of Visit USA travel, Pow Wow business negotiations generate over $3.5 billion in future US travel.
Miami hosted the 2009 Pow Wow, which cost locally about $2.4 million. However, Rolando Aedo, the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau's senior vice president of marketing and tourism, said the return for a Pow Wow hosting could be about $400 million.
"One hundred percent of all the business that is negotiated during Pow Wow comes directly back to the host destination," he said.
Miami has hosted four Pow Wows, second most after Orlando. Pow Wow was originally to return in 2013, 2014, or 2015, but with those years already designated, 2016 was targeted because of downtown Miami improvement projects.
"The next year that really is available that we feel we would have a greater and newer downtown is 2016," Mr. Aedo said.
Although there's no formal guarantee Miami will be host in 2016, Mr. Aedo said, the association and the community have agreed 2016 would work.
"The US travel association is very interested in further discussions with the city in hosting Pow Wow there in the future," said Cathy Keefe, the association's spokesperson.
The Hyatt Regency Miami, a frequent Pow Wow exhibitor, saw an uptick in business from wholesalers to some degree because of its 2009 participation in the show, said John Visconti, the hotel's director of sales and marketing. He added that one-third of the Miami Hyatt's business is international.
"I partner with wholesalers and by giving them a preferred rate, which they mark up in their home country, it allows both partners a win-win outcome," he said.
In 2009, Miami-Dade became the first community to create Pow Wow attendee designated lines at airport customs. It was the first impression for in-coming participants and showed they were important enough to receive special service, Ms. Keefe said. Orlando followed suit for its Pow Wow in May.
The Orlando/Orange County Convention & Visitors Bureau estimates Pow Wow attendees spent about $3.27 million locally.
"For us, the chance to expose them to everything that the area has to offer is priceless," said Susan Lomax, the Orlando bureau's spokesperson. "The chance for them to live, touch and experience [the area] is invaluable."
In choosing a Pow Wow destination, the association looks for an area that offers a tremendous amount of convention space, hotel rooms and volunteer support, Ms. Keefe said.
Pow Wow is a prime opportunity to show for international wholesalers everything a host community has to offer.
"We're selling the US to the world," Ms. Keefe said, "and for the city it is an opportunity to showcase what makes them unique to international visitors."