IAAPA's 2014 Attractions Expo Draws 19,400 For Biggest Show In 17 Years

Posted On: 11/25/2014

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TAGS: amusement business, 2014 IAAPA Attractions Expo, International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions, IAAPA show report, Jim Pattison Jr., Bob Cassata, Richard "Dick" Knoebel, IAAPA's Service Awards, Paul Noland, photo booth, coin-op, Fishbowl Frenzy, Team Play, FEC productions, arcade games, vending

ORLANDO, FL -- The 2014 Attractions Expo attracted 30,500 industry professionals from 116 nations, according to an initial estimate by the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions. The association, which hosts the show annually, noted that this year's event was the largest in more than 17 years and the third largest in the expo's history. Moreover, it climaxed back-to-back years of record-setting growth for all three IAAPA shows, which also include the Asian and the European Attractions Expos.

More than 19,400 buyers registered for this year's IAAPA exhibit, compared with 18,200 for last year's. Buyers included attractions industry owners, presidents, general managers, directors and managers who connected with manufacturers and suppliers to examine new products, discuss trends and hot topics, learn from experts and enjoy a wide range of educational and social networking opportunities. IAAPA Attractions Expo is the largest conference and trade show for the $39.5 billion global attractions industry.

A total of 1,004 companies exhibited products and services at the show. The indoor exhibit space was completely sold out in September, and the outdoor space was the largest in the event's history, the association said.

The 110 educational programs on the agenda drew 12,500 people. The business sessions included multiple-day institutes, behind-the-scenes tours, constituency lunches, panel and roundtable discussions, and half-day symposiums. Of these participants, 780 attractions industry professionals attended the General Managers and Owners' Breakfast, featuring keynote speaker Jim Pattison Jr., president of Ripley Entertainment. Some 450 people took part in a "lunch-and-learn" presentation by Fun Spot America president John Arie.

The kickoff event that set the tone for the weeklong event attracted 2,000 people for a state-of-the-industry update and overview, a preview of the exciting attractions introduced around the world in 2014 and a forecast of 2015 developments. The opening reception was a magnet for 1,150 showgoers who met, socialized, and exchanged ideas. And approximately 4,000 people enjoyed the IAAPA Connects excursion at New Fantasyland at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom Park and the IAAPA Celebrates extravaganza at Universal Orlando Resort.

This year, IAAPA expo participants raised approximately $120,000 for Give Kids The World, the Kissimmee, FL, resort for children with life-threatening illnesses, through a golf tournament, motorcycle ride, fun run and walk, a chance-to-win drawing, and individual and corporate donations.

A highlight of the event was the presentation of industry awards. These included two inductions to the IAAPA Hall of Fame, which was established in 1990 to honor the industry's legends and pioneers.

Enrolled this year were Bob Cassata, Bob's Space Racers (Daytona Beach, FL), and Richard "Dick" Knoebel, Knoebels Grove Amusement Resort (Elysburg, PA).

IAAPA's Service Awards. recognizing distinction in serving the industry and the association, were presented at the GM and Owners' Breakfast. Honored for meritorious industry service were Mats Wedin, formerly of Liseberg (Gothenburg, Sweden); Rob Norris, Seabreeze Park (Rochester, NY); Franceen Gonzales, WhiteWater West Industries (Richmond, BC, Canada); and Ted Molter, San Diego (California) Zoo Global.

Wedin also received IAAPA's Lifetime Service Award, which recognizes a member, individual, or organization's continual service to the attractions industry. He has been a long-term supporter of IAAPA's global mission, and was instrumental in the emergence of IAAPA as an international association while he served as a world council director and member of the association's globalization taskforce.

The IAAPA Board of Directors Service Award was presented to Rob Norris of Seabreeze Park (Rochester, NY), who has served as the association's treasurer since 2011 and is actively participating in a number of initiatives to enhance the value of the association to its members.

This year's Outstanding Service Award Winner is Franceen Gonzales, Whitewater West Industries (Richmond, BC, Canada), an attractions industry executive for 25 years, a dedicated leader and contributor to the industry as an educator and volunteer, as well as a trusted advocate for safety.

Rounding out the 2014 awards program were presentations of tributes for distinguished performance in many specific disciplines within the industry. The IAAPA Brass Ring Awards recognize skill and success in marketing, retail, live entertainment, human resources, food and beverage, and top family entertainment centers. They also celebrate new products and the show's most noteworthy exhibits. Among the equipment winners were Fishbowl Frenzy from Team Play Inc. (Elk Grove Village, IL) in the Coin-Operated Arcade and Redemption Equipment category, and the 3DMe Coin-operated Photo Booth from 3DMe Photo Solutions (Hong Kong).

"The continued growth of all three of IAAPA's expos is representative of the strength of the attractions business worldwide," said IAAPA president and chief executive officer Paul Noland.