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Industry Optimism, Return to Orlando Fuel Success for IAAPA Attractions Expo 2010


Related: 2010 IAAPA Service Awards Honor Industry Leaders Dennis Speigel, Greg Hale, and Boyd F. Jensen II / IAAPA Inducts Master Storyteller Bob Rogers into Hall of Fame / The world’s first 7Di attraction at IAAPA with Triotech

25, 000 Attractions Industry Professionals from Around the World Conduct Serious Business, Learn, and Enjoy Area Attractions

Preliminary estimates indicate 25, 000 people from 96 nations around the world, including approximately 14, 800 buyers, participated in IAAPA Attractions Expo 2010 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Fla., Nov. 15-19.

IAAPA Attractions Expo is the world’s largest conference and trade show for the $24 billion attractions industry. It is owned and produced by the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) and serves as the marketplace for amusement parks and attractions industry leaders, decision makers, and visionaries who gather to network, view the latest innovations, and plan for the future. The Orange County Convention Center estimated the five-day event had a $47.7 million economic impact on the Orlando/Orange County region. IAAPA recently announced plans to host IAAPA Attractions Expo in Orlando for 10 years, from 2010 to 2019.

“It’s good to be back home here in Orlando, ” said IAAPA President and CEO Charles Bray. “We’ve had a great show. There’s an overall sense of optimism in the industry. Exhibit sales were strong and attractions industry leaders came here to buy. We had outstanding participation in our education conference and the social events were a big hit. I think these results reinforce the fact that Orlando is the right location for IAAPA Attractions Expo.”

Tara Casey with Canada-based ProSlide Technology Inc. echoed Bray’s comments: “The show’s been great for us. Orlando makes people happy. We put in a little extra money and went for a bigger booth this year, and we’re so happy we did it.”

“It’s truly collaborative. There are so many folks willing to come and share good ideas about what’s working in their local economies. And the exhibitor space is second to none, ” said Curt Caffey of Orlando-based CNL Lifestyle Company LLC. “There’s no other show in our [businesses] that provides this level of exploration. I’ve been tasked with finding new things, and I could spend six weeks out there and come away with something new every day. It’s the mecca for what’s next. I love the show theme this year is ‘It’s All Here, ’ because it is.”

“This is the place where everyone in the industry meets, ” commented Xavier Blanco from Mundo Binario in Venezuela. “You have a chance to see old friends and find new projects, products, and services. We’re always looking for ideas, so it’s a great place to be.”

Tom Rebbie, owner of Philadelphia Toboggan Coasters Inc. in Pennsylvania, is excited about the move to Orlando. "I like Orlando, and I’m really happy to be back here for this show. In 35 years, I’ve done 29 shows everywhere from Washington to New Orleans to Dallas and in between. Orlando’s always been the best."

“The decision to go to Orlando was good, ” said Roland Mack of Mack Rides and Europa-Park in Germany. “You can visit the companies you want to see and you can visit the parks, so you get an intensive program. You can take clients with you and have both the discussion and the reality of using the products in the parks. We had a lot of good talks and we sold three rides."

Buyers Learn About Industry Trends and Shop for New Attractions and Experiences

Buyers from 6, 484 amusement parks, waterparks, family entertainment centers (FECs), zoos, aquariums, museums, resorts, independent attractions, and casinos from around the world participated in IAAPA Attractions Expo 2010.

Expo attendees participated in 104 education programs, including sessions on industry trends, behind-the-scenes tours at Orlando attractions, all-day institute programs, and show floor vendor tours. Attendance at the education program sessions was 8, 800. Two highlights of this year’s conference included the Rookies and Newcomers program for FECs and the Social Media Symposium. Sixty-eight people participated in the day-and-a-half-long Rookies and Newcomers seminar, while attendance at the Social Media Symposium sessions was 520.

Brian Knoebel with Knoebels Groves Amusement Resort and Campground in Pennsylvania said, “It’s the premier event of the year. We look forward to it every year to talk with colleagues and find out what worked and what didn’t, what new products are out there, what’s selling, the hot new games, and what’s happening. We bring a staff of up to 20 people—operations managers, games managers, food and beverage managers—and we’re trying to gain as much knowledge as we can.”

Exhibit Floor Abuzz with Optimism

The North and South halls of the convention center were packed with exhibits from 1, 140 companies that displayed their innovative new products and services on 453, 100 net square feet of space on the trade show floor. They represented 33 countries and showcased new technologies, thrilling rides, ticketing systems, new food and beverage concepts, games of skill, and much more.

“This year you could definitely tell there’s excitement in the industry about being back in Orlando, ” said Michael Turner of United States-based Gateway Ticketing Systems. “The activity on the trade show floor was double what we saw [last year]. Qualified people. Money to spend. Projects to push. People are willing to open their pocketbooks and spend money again. It was a good show.”

Sam Barros with Applied Tesla Technology said, “We’re here at IAAPA because this is the premier venue for reaching out to the type of customers we’re interested in. Everyone is interested, they have really good questions, and we have solid leads so far.  We’re out there, but we want to go big. This is the best launching platform for the expansion we want to do.”

Prestigious Industry Awards Presented at IAAPA Attractions Expo 2010

The following awards were presented at IAAPA Attractions Expo 2010:

  • IAAPA Brass Ring Award (Marketing, Retail, Live Entertainment, Human Resources, Top FECs, Best New Product, Best Exhibit)
  • IAAPA Hall of Fame Awards (Worldwide Industry Leaders)
  • IAAPA Service Awards (Service to IAAPA and the Industry)
  • The Liseberg Applause Award, presented by Liseberg Park in Gothenburg, Sweden, was given to Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. It was accepted by the park’s namesake, Dolly Parton.

IAAPA Attractions Expo 2010 By the Numbers

  • A standing room-only crowd of more than 1, 400 people attended the Kickoff Event.
  • 850 Expo participants attended the Opening Reception.
  • A sellout crowd of 400 enjoyed the keynote address by Universal Parks and Resorts Chairman and CEO Tom Williams at the GM and Owners’ Breakfast.
  • 2, 200 people enjoyed IAAPA Celebrates at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ at Universal’s Islands of Adventure®.
  • 150 young professionals attended a reception at Cuba Libre Restaurant.
  • Fundraising events held in conjunction with the Expo raised more than $73, 000 for Give Kids The World, the Kissimmee, Fla., resort for children with life-threatening illnesses. (
    • 150 golfers and sponsors raised $58, 000 in the 8th Annual IAAPA International Charity Golf Tournament.
    • 90 runners and walkers raised $2, 200 in the IAAPA 5K Fun Run & 1K Walk.
    • 10 people rode in the first IAAPA Motorcycle Run and raised $2, 100.
    • Expo particpants purchased raffle tickets for a Honda Civic Hybrid to raise $11, 000. John Huish from Huish Family Fun Centers was the lucky winner of the new car.
    • 35 people volunteered at the village during IAAPA’s Angels in Action Volunteer Day.

IAAPA Attractions Expo will return to the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Nov. 14-18, 2011. More than 100 companies have already reserved their booths on the trade show floor. Information about exhibiting or attending is 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 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, waterparks, 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.

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