The city known as the Gateway to the West will host the Travel Industry Association’s (TIA) Discover America International Pow Wow in 2003…
The city known as the Gateway to the West will host the Travel Industry Association’s (TIA) Discover America International Pow Wow in 2003.
The trade show will take place at St. Louis’ America’s Center convention complex, May 17-21, 2003. Pow Wow is the country’s premier trade show for developing and selling international travel packages to the United States.
While in St. Louis, international visitors will get a close look at the Mississippi River city’s heritage and hospitality. Founded as a fur-trading center by the French in Spanish territory in 1764, today’s St. Louis has risen out of a rich blend of European, African and Native American cultures.
America’s tallest man-made monument, the soaring, stainless-steel Gateway Arch, stands on St. Louis’ Mississippi Riverfront as a memorial to the opening of the American West. Pow Wow delegates can ride to the top of the Arch for a 30-mile view of the St. Louis area or explore the underground Museum of Westward Expansion where America’s western history is interpreted from the opening of the frontier in 1800 to the turn of the 20th century. The museum also contains the country’s only complete collection of Indian peace medals and offers an extensive look at the westward journey of explorers Lewis & Clark.
Visitors can still follow the trail of Lewis & Clark which snaked west along the Missouri River from St. Louis and St. Charles to the Pacific Ocean. They also can travel the concrete trail of Route 66, the Mother Road, as it winds from Chicago through St. Louis and into the heartland of America. One of the country’s sweetest treats, the frozen custard concrete, was born on St. Louis’ stretch of Route 66. The rich milkshakes are made with honey, eggs and cream and blended with fruits, nuts, chocolates or candies. The thick concrete concoctions are handed to customers upside down from the same stand that has been serving hungry travelers since 1929.
St. Louis also is known as one of the busiest ports on the Mississippi River and a favorite haunt of Missouri native, riverboat pilot and author, Mark Twain. Overnight steamboat and river barge cruises depart from St. Louis throughout the spring, summer and fall and daily one-hour excursion cruises take place on paddlewheel riverboats in the Port of St. Louis. Modern day riverboat gamblers can try their luck on one of six casinos on the Mississippi and Missouri rivers in Missouri and Illinois.
The community of 2.5 million also is home to some of the most well-known cultural attractions in the United States. The Missouri Botanical Garden is renowned not only for the beauty and variety of its gardens but also for its worldwide research programs in rain forests and other endangered ecosystems across the globe.
The Saint Louis Art Museum is noted for having one of the best collections in the country with strong emphasis on German Expressionist paintings and African and Oceanic arts. The Missouri History Museum contains collections of aviator Charles Lindbergh, donated to the city that funded his historic transatlantic flight in 1927.
Ancient culture also is honored in St. Louis. Cahokia Mounds, a United Nations World Heritage Site, is located just five minutes from downtown St. Louis in southern Illinois. The prestigious World Heritage Site designation marks the ancient Indian city as an irreplaceable property of international significance and places Cahokia Mounds in the company of sites such as the great pyramids of Egypt, India’s Taj Mahal and the Great Wall of China. Prehistoric Cahokia, sometimes referred to as the City of the Sun because of the solar calendars and sun symbols found at the site, was home to the Mississippian culture. The Mississippians built as many as 120 earthen mounds throughout the St. Louis area prior to their disappearance in about 1300 A.D. Sixty-five of these mounds are preserved in the Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site where visitors can explore the excavations and learn more in a state-of-the-art interpretive center.
International travel to the United States is big business, with more than 46 million travelers from overseas visiting the U.S. in 1996. TIA research finds that those visitors spent $84 billion during their U.S. trips last year and paid more than $8 billion in taxes. Their business generated jobs for more than one million American workers.
America’s travel industry knows Missouri is major league, says Lt. Governor Roger Wilson, chair of the Missouri Tourism Commission. Now the eyes of the world will focus on St. Louis and Missouri. That international attention will bring big dividends to Missouri tourism in 2003 and beyond.
Theodore is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of TravelDailyNews Media Network; his responsibilities include business development and planning for TravelDailyNews long-term opportunities.