It was a successful and record-breaking year for Federal row, which brought 16 booths from at least 10 federal agencies to the Brand USA pavilion to promote and celebrate travel to and throughout the United States. The public-private partnership was on full display, with Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker helping to open the Brand USA Marketplace and delivering remarks at the Monday lunch in which she applauded Brand USA’s achievements in bringing more than 2 million incremental international visitors and generating $15 billion in total economic impact over the past two years.
Federal Row was hosted under a collaborative banner highlighting DiscoverAmerica.com, recreation.gov, and the National Park Service’s Centennial message “Find Your Park.” The federal agencies which host more than one billion visits to federally-managed lands and waters annually, report more than $51 billion in recreational tourism spending, and promote and liberalize travel policy were represented at IPW 2015 in Orlando. This year’s Federal Row reflected Brand USA’s focus on the great outdoors as a tool to increase international visitation to the United States.
A major highlight of the federal presence was the U.S. Forest Service’s iconic Smokey Bear, who promoted fire safety and provided a major draw for the international travel trade. In addition, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) representatives conducted more than 150 Global Entry interviews on site while CBP Commissioner R. Gil Kerlikowske joined the US Travel Association’s press conference to spread the word about his agency’s travel facilitation efforts, including recent announcements on preclearance. Finally, leadership from the Departments of Homeland Security, State and Commerce participated in numerous industry meetings hosted meetings on the margins of the show.
This year’s booths in Federal Row hosted over 1,000 total appointments. In addition, the Commercial Service conducted counseling at the different U.S. exhibitor booths, assisting in over 600 counseling sessions, helping to facilitate thousands of B2B meetings for many foreign delegations.