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IAAPA Attractions Expo Sees Growth in All Areas

IAAPA Attractions Expo 2012 Big Winner
Show Sees Growth in All Areas

(November 17, 2012, Updated November 13, 2013) – Approximately 26,500 energized amusement park and attractions industry professionals from 102 nations packed the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Fla., for IAAPA Attractions Expo 2012 Nov. 12-16. The excitement was palpable as the show saw an increased number of buyers, an expansive trade show floor – the largest in four years and largest outdoor space in 10 years, and a 13 percent increase in education attendance.

IAAPA Attractions Expo is the world’s largest conference and trade show for the $24 billion worldwide attractions industry and serves as the global marketplace for the industry where the who’s who gather to learn, discuss the current trends and hot topics, test the latest innovations, sample new food and beverage creations, and develop new experiences for the future.  

“IAAPA Attractions Expo 2012 is the one time of year when the amusement park and attractions family gathers to conduct the business of fun and this year was a homerun for the industry,” said IAAPA President and CEO Chip Cleary. “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.”  

The event is owned and produced by the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA). The five-day Expo had an estimated $47.7 million economic impact on the Orlando area.    

IAAPA Attractions Expo 2012 by the Numbers

  • 1,156 companies displayed innovative new products and services on 494,800 net square feet of trade show floor space, including an outdoor exhibit area measuring 57,200 net square feet, the largest at the Expo in almost a decade.
  • 15,800 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.
  • 11,000 people participated in 107 education programs which included multiple-day Institutes, behind-the-scenes tours, panel and roundtable discussions, and half-day symposiums.
  • More than 1,800 people attended the Kickoff Event, the week’s official opening session, for an update on IAAPA’s accomplishments; to see the exciting new attractions introduced around the world in 2012; and to preview new developments for 2013.
  • 1,200 participants met, socialized, and shared ideas at the Opening Reception.
  • 580 industry leaders enjoyed the keynote address by Jim Reid-Anderson, President, CEO, and Chairman of Six Flags Entertainment Corporation at the GM and Owner's Breakfast.
  • 1,780 people enjoyed “Despicable Me Minion Mayhem,” “The Simpsons Ride,” “Men in Black Alien Attack,” “Shrek 4-D,” and “Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit” during IAAPA Celebrates at Universal Studios Florida.
  • 350 young professionals attended a reception at Fat Fish Blue Restaurant.
  • $94,000 was raised for Give Kids The World, the Kissimmee, Fla., a resort for children with life-threatening illnesses with a golf tournament, motorcycle ride, fun run and walk, and a chance-to-win.

Prestigious Industry Awards Presented at IAAPA Attractions Expo 2012
The following awards were presented at IAAPA Attractions Expo 2012:

  • IAAPA Hall of Fame Awards (worldwide industry leaders)
  • IAAPA Service Awards (service to IAAPA and the industry)
  • IAAPA Brass Ring Awards (marketing, retail, live entertainment, human resources, food and beverage, top family entertainment centers, new products, best exhibits)
  • The Liseberg Applause Award was presented to Ocean Park Hong Kong SAR, China

IAAPA Attractions Expo 2013
IAAPA Attractions Expo 2013 will take place at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Nov. 18-22. More than 143 companies have already reserved booth space on the trade show floor. Information about exhibiting or attending is available at www.IAAPA.org/IAAPAAttractionsExpo.  

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 situated amusement facilities and attractions and is dedicated to the preservation and prosperity of the attractions industry. IAAPA represents more than 4,000 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, and Hong Kong.




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


Contact Information: IAAPA Press Office: +1 703/299-5127
Colleen Mangone: cmangone@IAAPA.org

David Mandt: dmandt@IAAPA.org

Quotes from Attendees

“This team has continued to innovate, and the venue on the floor for the Kickoff Event and other programming was very well received. It was really strong for the exhibitors and enjoyed by the visitors.”

Will Morey, 2013 IAAPA Chairman, President and CEO, Morey’s Piers, United States


“What I’m excited about for IAAPA is we have great leadership and have momentum in the industry. I sense some more positive energy this year with all the growth in Asia and Europe hopefully starting to turn around. I’m very excited about the industry’s direction, overall; I think we’ll see more innovation going forward, more risk-taking, and that’s all really good for the industry.” Joel Manby, Chairman, President, and CEO, Herschend Family Entertainment, United States

“There’s positive energy and optimism. There’s almost a family atmosphere here; you can see people enjoy coming to this and are having fun. There’s an attitude of, no matter what the economy is we have to figure it out and move forward.” Jim Pattison, President, Ripley Entertainment Inc., United States


“I’ve been coming to this show for many years, and this was one of the best. It was a good turnout, and the seminars are getting better all the time. It’s a complete trade show; we can find anything we need and want.” Alain Baldacci, President, Wet ’n Wild, Brazil


Quotes from Exhibitors

“So far, IAAPA has been a tremendous success for us. The overall atmosphere, the overall experience is second to none. A very high caliber of attendees; we've seen everybody from Six Flags Great Adventure to the local business owner. We've seen people represent just about every country in the world from Australia to Mexico to Canada. For a first-time vendor, I don't think you could ask for more and have the type of exposure we're getting. We've already sold a franchise our first time out.” James Miller, COO, Sweet Monkey Frozen Yogurt, which brought a mobile frozen yogurt serving station


“The quality of the people coming by has been much much better than past couple years for us. We're seeing a lot more sales compared to years before. For us we were kind of a new company so they're coming and checking us out the years prior but this year they know us already. We're very happy with how things are going.” Ryan Locher, Neveplast, manufacturer of tubing and artificial skiing products

“This is our 24th year at IAAPA so we've been around a long time. But really you can sort of sense that things sort of seem to be turning, or maybe it's the fact that we had new products that we've worked really hard to bring to market. But there's been buzz, and it's been fun to see lots of old customers but also meet lots of new. So we're really pleased with the show.” Tommy Woog, Water Wars

“This year’s show proved the resilience of IAAPA’s base. We had successful Asian and European shows, and yet the buyers still came, and the enthusiasm on the floor has been contagious by both buyers and sellers. IAAPA took it over the top this year.” John Wood, Sally Corporation