HERSHEY, PA -- The International Association for the Leisure and Entertainment Industry, headquartered here, officially dissolved on Friday, Oct. 30, pursuant to an agreement between the FEC association and the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions. As part of the merger agreement between the two groups, numerous IALEI programs and members will fold into IAAPA.
"IAAPA's staff has been extremely professional" during the transition process, said IALEI president Tracy Sarris, whose employment contract with IALEI Service Corp., the for-profit management firm that was wholly owned by IALEI and survives the parent association's dissolution, runs through Dec. 31.
Sarris estimated that 559 IALEI members ---476 of those family entertainment centers and 83 suppliers -- will transition to IAAPA; these figures do not include former IALEI presidents and trade press members who had received complimentary membership in the past. Current members of IALEI will automatically qualify for IAAPA member benefits, beginning Nov. 1, that will be effective for one year, or through Dec. 31, 2010.
Dorothy Lewis, IALEI's chair, will preside over the IAAPA FEC Committee next year. The restructured FEC committee, which will oversee membership development and services, will be made up of equal representation of the park association's existing FEC members and new members coming from IALEI.
FEC businesses insured through IALEI's affiliation with Sterling & Sterling Insurance Co. will continue to be covered according terms of their individual contracts, but Sterling will not be associated with IAAPA as an official insurance provider, Sarris said.
As a result of the merger, Alexandria, VA-based IAAPA will become an owner of Fun Expo, the trade show for site-based entertainment facilities that was 50% owned by IALEI. The other half is owned by the Amusement and Music Operators Association and American Amusement Machine Association. In 2000, IALEI, AMOA and AAMA formed the Leisure Entertainment Trade Shows, or LETS, to administer that show. All three approved the 50% ownership transfer to IAAPA.
Fun Expo had been contracted for collocation with the March 10-12, 2010, edition of the Amusement Showcase International, owned by AAMA. However, the creation of a new spring trade show co-owned by AMOA and AAMA has made it necessary for a new agreement to be signed for Fun Expo in 2010. The fate of the FEC trade show beyond next year remains uncertain, Sarris said.
Founded 17 years ago, IALEI (Hershey, PA) was a nonprofit organization representing family and location-based entertainment centers. IAAPA (Alexandria, VA) represents some 4,100 firms and individuals involved in site-based amusement attractions and parks in 90 countries. This year, it sponsored and produced three major trade shows: Asian Attractions Expo in Seoul, South Korea, June 10-12; Euro Attractions Show in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, Sept. 30-Oct. 2; and the upcoming IAAPA Attractions Expo in Las Vegas, Nov. 16-20. IAAPA was established in 1918.