IAAPA Attractions Expo Sees Attendance Uptick

November 27, 2011

Once a year in the United States, people connected to the amusement parks industry come from far and wide to check out what’s new at the International Association of Amusement Parks & Attractions’ Attractions Expo.

This year’s event ran Nov. 14-18 at Orlando’s Orange County Convention Center, and it saw a 5-percent increase to 15,300 attendees, compared with 14,600 attendees at the 2010 event.

“The results for IAAPA Attractions Expo 2011 surpassed our expectations on several fronts,” said IAAPA President and CEO Chip Cleary.

He added, “Exhibit sales, buyer attendance, education program participation, and total registration are all up from 2010, which speaks volumes about the strength of the industry and the expo’s role as a global can’t-miss event. The buying, learning, and sharing of ideas that takes place here is simply phenomenal.”

The five-day event also had an estimated $47.7 million economic impact on the Orlando area and drew executives and buyers from 6,975 amusement parks, waterparks, family entertainment centers, zoos, aquariums, museums, science centers, resorts, and roadside attractions from around the world.

John Chidester, who works for Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari and attended from Santa Claus, Ind., said, “(The expo) is full of a lot of imagination and creativity. It’s always great to see there’s a positive outlook toward the future of the industry - there’s a lot of new things coming through here.”

In addition, 1,106 companies were on 477,474 net square feet of space on the showfloor, and the outdoor exhibit area measured 49,074 net sq. ft., the largest in a decade.

 Exhibitors came from 32 countries and displayed immersive and interactive rides and attractions, innovative water rides and slides, stage productions, mobile ticketing systems, new food and beverage treats, inflatable devices and arcade games, among other products.

“This year’s (show has) been just phenomenal. It seems like people have more money to spend - apparently access to money must be getting a bit better,” said E.K. “Dutch” Magrath III, who exhibited with Amusement Products.

He added, “In the past, I think people had the ‘want-to’, but couldn’t get the banks to agree to it. This year, I hear a lot more big projects coming into play.”

The conference program, which featured 123 education programs, also had strong attendance, with 8,850 taking part in panel sessions, site tours and a half-day symposium on mobile marketing and communications in the industry.

Next year’s IAAPA Attractions Expo will be held Nov. 12-16 at Orlando’s Orange County Convention Center.

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