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IAAPA Attractions Expo 2014 Largest in 17 Years

IAAPA Attractions Expo 2014 Largest in 17 Years

(Nov. 21, 2014, UPDATED April 2015) – An estimated 30,200 amusement park and attractions industry professionals from 116 nations crowded the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Fla., for IAAPA Attractions Expo 2014 Nov. 17-21, making it the largest Expo in more than 17 years and second largest in the events' history. 

The show caps off back-to-back years of record-breaking growth for all three of IAAPA's Expos. More than 50,000 people, including 32,400 buyers, participated in IAAPAs expos around the world in 2014: Asian Attractions Expo, Euro Attractions Show, and IAAPA Attractions Expo. 

The who's who of the worldwide attractions industry gathered at IAAPA Attractions Expo to discuss future guest experiences. More than 19,200 buyers, including attractions industry owners, presidents, general managers, directors, and managers connected with leading innovators and creative masterminds throughout the week to announce new products, test the latest technologies, discuss trends and hot topics, learn from experts, and try new food and beverage options. IAAPA Attractions Expo is the largest conference and trade show for the $39.5 billion global attractions industry and serves as the one-stop-shop for the industry. 

The event is owned and produced by the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA).

The five-day Expo pumped an estimated $51.3 million into the Orlando-area economy.  

IAAPA Attractions Expo 2014 by the Numbers

  • 1,004 companies displayed innovative new products and services on 551,975 net square feet of trade show floor space. The indoor exhibit space was completely sold out in September and the outdoor space was the largest in the event's history.
  • 19,200 total qualified buyers including executives from amusement parks, water parks, family entertainment centers (FECs), zoos, aquariums, museums, science centers, resorts, and roadside attractions from around the world participated.
  • 12,500 people participated in 110 education programs which included multiple-day institutes, behind-the-scenes tours, constituency lunches, panel and roundtable discussions, and half-day symposiums. The education figure includes:
    • 780 attractions industry professionals attended the GM and Owners' Breakfast featuring keynote speaker Ripley Entertainment President Jim Pattison Jr. 
    • Approximately 450 industry leaders who enjoyed a lunch-and-learn presentation by Fun Spot America President John Arie.
  • 2,000 people attended the Kickoff Event, the week's official opening session, for an update on the state of the industry; to see the exciting new attractions introduced around the world in 2014; and to preview new developments for 2015.
  • 1,150 participants met, socialized, and shared ideas at the Opening Reception.
  • Approximately 4,000 people enjoyed IAAPA Connects at New Fantasyland at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom Park and IAAPA Celebrates at Universal Orlando Resort.
  • Exhibitors held a record 33 press conferences to reveal new rides, attractions, technologies, and innovations during the Expo.
  • Expo participants raised approximately $120,000 for Give Kids The World, the Kissimmee, Fla., resort for children with life-threatening illnesses with a golf tournament, motorcycle ride, fun run and walk, a chance-to-win drawing, and individual and corporate donations.
  • IAAPA appreciates the generous support of 72 sponsoring companies who helped make IAAPA Attractions Expo 2014 possible.
  • The following prestigious industry awards were presented at IAAPA Attractions Expo 2014:
"The continued growth of all three of IAAPA's Expos is representative of the strength of the attractions business worldwide," said IAAPA President and CEO Paul Noland. "The record number of press announcements this week is an example of the industry's commitment to innovation." 

IAAPA Attractions Expo 2015
IAAPA Attractions Expo 2015 will take place at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Nov. 16-20. More than 195 companies have already reserved booth space on the trade show floor. Information about exhibiting in or attending the 2015 event will be available at 

The International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) is the premier trade association for the attractions industry worldwide. Founded in 1918, IAAPA is the largest international trade association for permanently located amusement facilities and attractions and is dedicated to the preservation and prosperity of the attractions industry. IAAPA represents more than 4,700 facility, supplier, and individual members from more than 90 countries. Member facilities include amusement/theme parks, water parks, attractions, family entertainment centers, zoos, aquariums, museums, science centers, resorts, and casinos. IAAPA is a nonprofit organization. Revenue generated for the association by its involvement in trade shows and other activities are returned to the association to fund services for its members and the industry. The association's global headquarters is in Alexandria, Virginia, United States. The association maintains regional offices in Brussels, Mexico City, Hong Kong, and Orlando.  @IAAPAHQ  #IAAPA  #IAE14

Editor's Note:
All numbers are preliminary estimates. Once numbers are audited and verified, the online version of this press release will be updated.

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Quotes from Attendees
Gerardo Arteaga, general manager, Fantasilandia, 2015 IAAPA Chairman of the Board
"We saw a lot of new faces at the Expo, and that's very important. There was a lot of excitement, with people trying to see as many suppliers as possible. Exhibitors are improving their booths every year, and there was so much out on the floor to see." 

Matt Ouimet, president and CEO, Cedar Fair Entertainment Company
"For me, the Expo confirmed the vitality of the industry and the quality of individuals who have chosen to commit their careers to this space. Specific to Cedar Fair, we had discussions with several companies that will undoubtedly make our guest experiences better, as well as our business results." 

Jim Pattison Jr., president, Ripley Entertainment
"This was a great show filled with excellent opportunities to work with fun people from all over the globe. I can't believe I get paid for doing this!" 

Scott Simmons, creative director, The Scarehouse
"The No. 1 thing I always take away from this event is optimism. It's so inspirational to hear from so many past, current, and future legends in the industry and realize they have all faced the same challenges and doubts that I face—but had the confidence and ambition and faith in their beliefs to take the big risks. It's been one of the most inspirational conferences I've ever attended."

Phil Lindsey, CEO, Mobius Science Center and Children's Museum
"As a museum organization, we are always looking for new ideas to help us expand our operations and generate revenue. This year's Expo was particularly helpful as we were able to identify some operational efficiencies as well as some new ideas for revenue-generating add-ons in our museum." 

 Quotes from Exhibitors
Phillip Wilson, VP of marketing, Extreme Engineering
"This has been the best sales history for our company. We've probably sold the biggest contracts we've ever done on the show floor. The glory days of when you sat down and they looked at the blueprints and wrote you a check—that was 10 years ago— it's back. People are coming with money. Projects are going in and you can easily tell the market is growing. It's unbelievable. We've heard that not just from us." 

John Wood, chairman and CEO, Sally Corporation
"We had, by far, the best show we've ever had in our 36 years of exhibiting at IAAPA Attractions Expo. The press conference we held was fantastic for us, as well as our customer, Six Flags, and IAAPA. The interest in the marketplace was far beyond our expectations. When our press conference was posted online, it had more than 600,000 views before the end of the day. That kind of reach wouldn't be obtainable any other way. We've just been blown away by it." 

Doug Wilson, sales and marketing director, Art Attack
"Best year in at least six. Quality buyers, orders, traffic flow—this is where we get most of our business." 

Michael Turner, vice president international business development, Neptune-Benson
"The Expo was very exciting and well-attended. The growth in the industry is shown on the show floor. We expect 2015 to be a banner year for sales across the industry." 

Sohret Pakis, director of marketing and communications, Polin Waterparks
"For us it's been a great show. We have very targeted people and it was great to talk about real projects. I'm so glad that the industry as a whole is doing well. There are a lot of projects that are preparing to expand and they're saying they've had the most fantastic season last year, which is very good not just for Polin, but for all of us."