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IAAPA returns to the city of dreams

IAAPA Attractions Expo, the premier conference and trade show for the out-of- home leisure industry, promises products from more than 1,000 exhibitors when the trade show doors are opened on November 16. Adrian Lennox reports

FOLLOWING a successful Asian Attractions Expo, which took place in Malaysia in July, the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) announced that Orlando, Florida, would be the home of its flagship domestic industry showcase for the foreseeable future. IAAPA Attraction Expo 2009 took place at the

Las Vegas Convention Centre and although the event was hailed as a recession-bucking success, the association subsequently announced that the exhibition - which remains perhaps the most important trade event currently serving the global theme park and attractions industry - would be held at the Orange County Convention Centre (OCCC) in Orlando for at least the next 10 years. Prior to signing the new agreement, IAAPA

Attractions Expo was originally scheduled to take place in Las Vegas in 2011, and Orlando in 2012, 2013, 2016 and 2019, with the intermittent years still up for consideration. The organisation cited several reasons for

its decision to remain in Florida, including a “91-year attendance and exhibit sales record for IAAPA,” which was established when the expo was located in Orlando. However, it was the result of rigorous exhibitor and attendee research which finally determined the event’s destiny to remain at the heart of the US attractions industry. “We had a good experience in Las Vegas in 2009. Attendance was strong and we greatly appreciate all the city did for our show,” said IAAPA president and CEO Charles Bray. The 2010 edition of IAAPA Attractions Expo

will see more than 25,000 participants from 100 countries benefit from the more than 90 education sessions, daily networking events and products and services from more than 1,000 exhibitors. The expo is the all-in-one marketplace for operators and suppliers of theme parks, waterparks, family entertainment centres, zoos, aquariums, museums, science centres, casinos and resorts. A mix of industry newcomers and


long-time veterans will experience the latest attractions, conduct business, network with peers and learn about industry trends at the event. “Moving the show to Orlando for the next 10

years provides a tremendous opportunity for us,” Bray added. “The city is known for imagination, creativity and innovation - the foundations of the attractions industry - and that, combined with the city’s world-class facilities, makes Orlando the best long-term location for the show.”

Expansive itinerary

IAAPA Attractions Expo has long been known for being much more than a trade show. And as IAAPA continues on its quest to help both its members and the customers they serve remain buoyant during the economic downturn, the 2010 edition of the expo has a plethora of ancillary events running parallel to the core business being conducted on the show floor.

Nine miles of aisles Creative, imaginative and groundbreaking products and ideas will pack more than 400,000 sq. ft of exhibit space at IAAPA Attractions Expo 2010. This year, more than 220 exhibitors are expected to show a brand-new product on the show floor. Attendees will also have access to more than 165 first-time exhibitors. Product categories in the trade show include all

aspects of attraction operation from design and construction to operations, guest services and human resources. The more than 120 categories also include rides, shows and productions, games and devices, participatory play equipment, novelties and souvenirs, photography, food and beverage, displays and sets, facilities and grounds, and admission and financial equipment.

Learning opportunities The extended education programme at the expo includes more than 90 sessions, seminars and presentations that cover key topics, including revenue operations, human resources and leadership, facility operations and safety, financial management, marketing and public relations. Also, one- and two-day-long institutes offer the opportunity for managers to learn the details of attractions management. The education courses and seminars will address hot topics, trends and best practices

in marketing, food and beverage operations, loss prevention and safety, new technologies, sponsorship, crisis management and legal and regulatory issues. New this year is the Social Media Symposium

on November 19, which will cover a range of topics about how attractions of all types use social media tools to develop new relationships with guests, drive attendance, generate revenue and communicate with employees.

Connect with colleagues Throughout the week, professional networking opportunities and events fill the schedule for attendees of every facility type and geographic region. Whether it is the Kick-Off event, opening reception, general managers’ and owners’ breakfast, new IAAPA Brass Ring Awards or the exclusive gathering at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal’s Islands of Adventure, each provides a chance to connect with colleagues and peers, hear from industry icons, exchange ideas and get a glimpse of the future of the industry.

Charity events Whether swinging a club, lacing up your trainers or donating your time or resources, this year it is easier than ever to support Give Kids The World Village, a resort that creates magical memories for children with life-threatening illnesses and their families, during IAAPA Attractions Expo. The eighth annual IAAPA International Charity

Golf Tournament takes place at Hawk’s Landing Golf Club, Orlando World Centre Marriott Resort on Sunday, November 14; a 5K fun run and 1k walk will take place on November 18; and the first annual Angels in Action, which will see IAAPA members help repaint and refurbish equipment, will take place at the resort on November 14.

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