If you've ever wondered who supports all of the attraction giants, look no further. It is an organization called IAAPA (the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions). IAAPA hosts global conventions each year for the companies that host you when you're looking for entertainment.
The IAAPA Expo 2022 in Orlando, Florida this past November was an event to behold. With nearly 37,000 attendees, representing nearly 12,000 buying companies, and close to 1,100 exhibiting companies, the expo was extreme, to say the least.
IAAPA AND THE INDUSTRY
The IAAPA (International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions) is the global association for the attractions industry. This well-respected organization hosts the IAAPA Expo in Orlando annually (as well as other IAAPA expos globally). This year the talented IAAPA team, once again proved to industry professionals that this is indeed the convention to attend if you're in the attractions industry.
IAAPA represents over 6,000 amusement-industry members in more than 100 countries worldwide. In addition to the IAAPA Expo held in Orlando each year they also operate several other global attraction shows and events. The 2022 show kicked off on Monday, November 14th. The trade show floor opened the following day… and when it comes to attractions, it was all-inclusive.
As in recent years, the IAAPA team delivered an agenda of outstanding educational opportunities to the industry by means of panel discussions, educational sessions, a variety of attraction-related events, and even tours.
THE IAAPA LEADERS
When you take a peek into the IAAPA organization you quickly see why it has grown in such a positive manner. Not only is the mission and general philosophy sound, but the leadership is exceptional. The core people are the cornerstone of the IAAPA organization.
"There is little doubt that the incredible speakers
and content presented along with
the largest trade show in the industry
surely inspired all who attended."
Vice President and Executive Director of the IAAPA North America region
According to Michael Shelton, executive director, and vice president of IAAPA North America, the organization had a sound vision and a plan for this year's expo. “We set out this year to bring a fresh and innovative Expo experience to showcase the best of the attractions industry and we certainly accomplished that. We proudly welcomed more than 36,000 attendees, filled more than 518,000 square feet of exhibit space, and presented more than 100 on-site educational sessions. There is little doubt that the incredible speakers and content presented along with the largest trade show in the industry surely inspired all who attended.”
"I'm proud of our team,
partners, and volunteers
for executing a great show
Past President and CEO of the IAAPA
While the worldwide attraction industry took a beating globally the last couple of years, IAAPA has worked hard, doing its part to help bring it back. Hal McEvoy, outgoing president and chief executive officer commented, “It has been wonderful to see the continued recovery of the global attractions industry. I’m proud of our team, partners, and volunteers for executing a great show in Orlando that benefits our members and our community.”
According to attendees and vendors alike, McEvoy is correct in asserting that the expo was executed with, what at least appeared to be, excellence.
passes the baton as
IAAPA Chairman to
JIM PATTISON, JR.
Opening Ceremonies were exciting as the baton was passed. It was somewhat bittersweet as some of the past leaders welcomed new leaders. Ken Whiting, president of Whiting’s Foods at Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, concluded his term as the 2022 Chairman of the Board. He welcomed Jim Pattison, Jr. president of Ripley Entertainment, as the incoming chairman.
Outgoing President and CEO,
relinquishes his responsibilities
to incoming President and CEO
IAAPA’s outgoing president and CEO, Hal McEvoy invited Jakob Wahl to make his first IAAPA appearance as the association’s new president and CEO. Watching the recent leaders of IAAPA relinquish their responsibilities to a new generation of leaders was inspiring.
see the entire IAAPA Team here - IAAPA TEAM MEMBERS
“IAAPA is the place,
where even the most experienced,
biggest names in the industry,
come to learn.”
ATTENDED BY THE LEADERS OF THE ENTERTAINMENT & AMUSEMENT INDUSTRIES
The IAAPA Expo attendees include the Who’s Who for the industry with leaders from Universal, SeaWorld, Cedar Fairs, Disney, and many other giants in the theme park and attractions world. The convention also attracts leaders from the world’s top zoos, museums, aquariums, and waterparks... and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. If you want to rub elbows with, learn from, or hear about the leaders in the global attractions industry, IAAPA Expo is the place to be. From Family Entertainment Centers to Museums. From Zoos to Waterparks. From Scream Parks to Theme Parks, they gathered for the same reasons - to be educated, to see the latest products, to understand the latest trends, to share, and to simply improve their businesses.
During the IAAPA Expo, we chatted with many of these folks, as one of the directors of Cedar Fairs commented, “IAAPA is the place, where even the most experienced, biggest names in the industry, come to learn.”
Attendees of this show all seem to agree on the significance of IAAPA relative to the industry. Most attendees state that they are always blown away by the mere size of the show, as well as the volume of products that vendors showcase here. The trade-show floor is inspirational for attendees. For buyers it is an amazing place to meet new vendors, view new products, and learn about new innovations, methods, and techniques.
“We come to IAPPA to make sales
by showcasing our best stuff.
We walk out with a nice
book of business,
but more importantly,
we make great connections.”
THE IAAPA VENDORS, EXHIBITORS & SPONSORS
One of the mid-size vendors made an interesting observation, “We come here to make connections by showcasing our best stuff. We walk out with a nice book of business, but more importantly, we make great connections.”
What you see and experience at an IAAPA expo is rather overwhelming for many attendees. You’ll find every type of fair food or theme park concession, from Dippin’ Dots to State Fair Donuts, from Ben’s Soft Pretzels to Happy Snacks. You’ll find full-size roller coasters, kiddie rides… even double and triple-decker carousels. The world’s largest game manufacturers, a huge inflatables Pavilion, VR attractions and motion simulators, design theming companies, playground equipment… and pretty much every type of support you could imagine.
“The IAAPA Expo is by far
the best return on investment for us.
We make tons of contacts,
walk away with countless ideas,
and improve our knowledge of the industry.”
In closing; our team attends many conventions each year. We are all in agreement that the IAAPA show happens to be one of the most organized, most educational, and most exciting, in any industry. If you are in the attraction and/or entertainment industry, we highly advise you to check out the next IAAPA Expo.
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