IAAPA 2016 Attractions Expo Is Largest In 98-Year History

Attendance Rises 7%, Show Floor Expands 3.5%

This year’s IAAPA 2016 Attractions Expo shattered all visitor and exhibitor records, continuing an impressive growth trend for the 98-year-old amusements and attractions trade show, which has emerged stronger than ever from the Great Recession of 2007. Some 35,100 industry professionals flocked to the Orlando, FL, show last week, compared with 32,900 for the previous year’s show, a 7% increase, IAAPA reported.

The conference and trade show exhibit, which was held from Nov. 14 to 18 at the Orange County Convention Center, is owned and produced by the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions. The association, founded in 1918, represents nearly 5,000 facilities, suppliers and individual members from more 90 countries. IAAPA said the five-day exposition pumped an estimated $51.3 million into the Orlando-area economy.

“What an amazing week and year,” said IAAPA president and chief executive Paul Noland. “With the largest gathering in nearly 20 years, the success of IAAPA Attractions Expo 2016 is an indication of sustained growth in the industry. This record-setting show caps off a record year for IAAPA expos around the world.”

In addition to its flagship American show in Orlando, IAAPA produces major events in Asia and Europe. This year’s Asian Amusement Expo and Euro Attractions Show, held, respectively, in Shanghai in June and Barcelona in September, each drew more than 11,000 visitors. More than 8,000 of those visitors at each were registered as “buyers.” According to IAAPA, the global attractions industry generated $39.5 billion last year.

At November’s show, 22,600 visitors registered as buyers, compared with 21,200 in 2015, a 7% increase. Exhibit-related figures were up, too. The number of companies booking booth space was 1,136, compared with 1,066 in 2015. Accordingly, the trade show’s floor space grew to 578,460 net square fee
t, from 558,610 net square feet last year.