Guest blog post by Francisco Sánchez , Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade
The U.S. Travel Association’s International Pow Wow  is the travel industry’s premier international marketplace and the largest generator of USA travel.
The three-day event is action-packed and filled with pre-scheduled business appointments, with more than 5,000 attendees expected and international and domestic buyers and representatives from more than 70 countries will be attending. The business negotiations that take place result in the generation of more than $3.5 billion in future USA travel. In other words, Pow Wow is a big deal.
We at the Commerce Department have enjoyed a close relationship with Pow Wow for years and added the conference into the Department’s International Buyer Program in 2011. The International Trade Administration (ITA) recruited qualified buyers from all over the world to attend Pow Wow. There are currently 1,135 international buyer delegates, including delegations from emerging markets like China and the Czech Republic, and 1,047 U.S. companies registered for the show this year.
I will be recognizing the U.S. Travel Association with the Certificate of Appreciation for Achievement in Trade for outstanding contributions to international travel and tourism and U.S. travel and tourism exports.
We are very excited about the expanding relationship between the U.S. Travel Association and the Department of Commerce. This relationship is a tremendous example of a public-private partnership that produces direct results for America. We believe this growing relationship will only enhance the success of the International Pow Wow in the years ahead.
We released the new travel forecasts  today, and according to the data, the U.S. can expect 6-8 percent average annual growth in tourism over the next five years, and this year, 64 million foreign travelers are projected to visit the United States, spending $144 billion during their stays, setting a new record for travel exports.
The travel and tourism industry is a large component of President Obama’s National Export Initiative of doubling exports by the end of 2014, supporting million of jobs. Nearly 8 million people in the United States are employed in travel and tourism industries, and 1.2 million are tied directly to international travelers.