The International Pow Wow is a huge travel trade show, incredibly important for US travel markets large and small. Overseas tour package providers come to the International Pow Wow to hear from US exhibitors why their destinations are great choices for international travelers. Last year, I went to the International Pow Wow in Orlando, and had a dandy time. I’ve recently returned form this year’s International Pow Wow, in San Francisco this time, and dare I say it? — I had an even better experience. I’m thinking that next year’s convention will be the best one yet: It will be in Los Angeles.
Mark Liberman, the President and CEO of LA INC (that’s the official name of the Los Angeles Convention & Visitors Bureau) gave a terrific presentation to the media regarding plans on the horizon. The President and COO of Universal Studios Hollywood, Larry Kurzweil, will chair the Los Angeles Pow Wow’s host committee. While the Pow Wow is a year away, there’s a lot happening in Los Angeles besides basic sprucing up of the sidewalks. Here are three of the upcoming events, changes, and Los Angeles-area news that will make the Pow Wow in LA a sure-fire success.
Cirque du Soleil at Kodak Theatre – Hollywood’s Kodak Theater will be the permanent home to a new show by Cirque, created specifically with Holly wood in mind. IRIS premieres July 22, 2011, and the 2012 Pow Wow attendees will be treated to a night of incredible entertainment vis a vis this show. I’m not being hyperbolic: there was a brief, maybe 7 minute presentation of IRIS as a sort of media preview during LA INC’s conference, and the audience was simply stunned. People fell silent, papers ceased being shuffled around, and everyone watched these bold yet incredibly delicate acrobatic displays. IRIS will be a “journey through the world of cinema,” with different aspects of film making reflected in Cirque’s well-known combination of acrobatics, dance, and mind-blowingly graceful acts that seem to defy gravity.
LAX Renovations – This is great news! There are some major modernizations planned for Los Angeles International Airport. No longer will LAX be notable for its stagnation and ugliness (though we do love to complain about it, don’t we?). Once this series of renovations are completed, LAX will be a great entry point to our city. Plans include changing the roof and ceilings to let in natural light and views of the Pacific Ocean and Santa Monica Mountains, a roof that is reminiscent of the undulating ocean waves, and hip, modern shops and concessions. Improved people movers will get visitors where they need to be more efficiently. A “Great Hall” will centralize the Tom Bradley West airport area, and more. I think this is actually the best news to come out of LA INC’s Pow Wow presentation. The airport is most international travelers’ first and last impression of our wonderful, modern city. It’s a great to know that, once the renovation’s completed, LAX will also be wonderful and modern…well, you know. For an airport.
Transformers The Ride at Universal Studios Hollywood – While I personally was most excited about the LAX modernization plans, it’s the Transformers news that got the rest of the audience murmuring and scribbling notes in their moleskins. Larry Kurzweil and his crew put on a bit of whiz-bangery to stir up the crowd: Transformers: The Ride – 3D is a planned Universal Studios Hollywood mega-attraction opening in Spring 2012. Based, needless to say, on the Michael Bay movies, the motion-based thrill ride will tell its own story about humans caught in the middle of a war between the Autobots and Decepticons, and – surprise – you, the rider, will be chosen to help save the world. Universal Studios is well-known for its thrilling adventure rides, and Kurzweil says it’s ” a perfect match for out theme park: an exhilarating blockbuster, non-stop action and astonishing special effects.” The ride’s pioneering 3-D special effects will bring the Transformers up close and personal (I’m guessing from the preview, it will be too “real” for younger children). Michael Bay is working with Universal Studios Hollywood to create this ride, Lucasfilms’ Industrial Light & magic is bringing the story and effects to life, and Danny Elfman is composing the music. Can’t wait!
The past two International Pow Wow conventions, in Orlando and San Francisco, provided great opportunities for networking and professional growth, and fun parties. The 2012 International Pow Wow, in Los Angeles, is sure to be a terrific experience on all counts. We Angelenos do know how to throw a party, after all.