ORLANDO, FL -- Around 26,500 participants from 102 nations registered for this year's IAAPA Attractions Expo, compared with 25,800 people from 118 nations at last year's trade show, a 2.7% increase in registration numbers. The annual amusement and attractions industry trade show is sponsored and owned by the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions, which held this year's event from Nov. 12 to 16 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, FL.
IAAPA Attractions Expo is the largest conference and trade show representing the attractions industry, which is estimated to be as large as $24 billion worldwide. The annual event serves as the global meeting and market places for industry members to learn, discuss trends and hot topics, test new products, sample food and beverages, and develop experiences for the future.
The association said this year's trade show had the largest floor area in four years and largest outdoor space in 10 years; the concurrent fall educational program saw a 14% increase in attendance over last year's.
"The dynamic show floor was filled with innovative products, comprehensive education sessions were filled to capacity and countless business connections were established throughout the week," cheered IAAPA president and chief executive Chip Cleary. For Orlando, the five-day exposition had a $48 million economic impact, the association estimates.
Following are some IAAPA show statistics reported by the association:
» 1,167 companies displayed new products and services on 494,770 net square feet of trade show floor space, including an outdoor exhibit area of 57,150 net square feet.
» 15,800 total qualified buyers included executives from amusement parks, water parks and family entertainment centers, as well as zoos, aquariums, museums, science centers, resorts and roadside attractions from around the world.
» 9,100 people participated in 115 education programs consisting of multiple-day institutes, behind-the-scenes tours, panel and roundtable discussions, and half-day symposiums.
» More than 1,800 people attended the 2012 expo's Kickoff Event, the official opening session of the exposition that provides an update on the association and industry's recent accomplishments, and plans for 2013.
» 1,200 showgoers took part in the expo's opening reception.
» 450 industry leaders heard the keynote address by Jim Reid-Anderson, chief executive and chairman of Six Flags Entertainment Corp.
» During IAAPA Celebrates at Universal Studios Florida, 1,785 people enjoyed Despicable Me Minion Mayhem, The Simpsons Ride, Men in Black Alien Attack, Shrek 4-D and Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit.
» 350 young professionals attended a reception at Fat Fish Blue Restaurant.
» $94,000 was raised for Give Kids The World, the Kissimmee, FL-based resort for children with life-threatening illnesses.
The 2012 IAAPA show was first to be held under the scrutiny of the association's new copyright and trademark protection policy. IAAPA reported that its intellectual property staff addressed 40 cases that involved the removal of product, catalogs and posters from the trade show floor, among other content issues that involved potential violations of the IP policy.
Under the new policy, exhibitors at the attractions exposition and other IAAPA events, as well as advertisers in IAAPA publications, are required to sign an agreement that they will comply with the association's rules and procedures on intellectual property. The policy went into effect on June 1. | SEE STORY
IAAPA awards presented at the 2012 attractions exposition were:
» Hall of Fame Awards, which acknowledge industry leaders around the world.
» Service Awards, for service to the association and industry.
» Brass Ring Awards, which recognize the best in new products, show exhibits, marketing, retail, live entertainment, human resources, food and beverages, and family entertainment centers.
Ocean Park Hong Kong SAR of China won the Liseberg Applause Award, the theme park industry's top honor. The award, the industry's version of an Oscar, is presented every other year (Dolly Parton accepted it on behalf of Dollywood two years ago).
The award is named after the famous amusement park in Gothenburg, Sweden, that opened in 1923; it honors a park whose management, operations and creative accomplishments have inspired the industry with foresight, originality and sound business development. Liseberg is one of the most visited amusement parks in Scandinavia, attracting about 3 million visitors annually.
IAAPA Attractions Expo 2013 will be held from Nov. 18 to 22, once again in Orlando, FL.