Amusement industry ready to gather for IAAPA Expo 2019
AT: Pam Sherborne
ORLANDO, Fla. — It seems there is no stopping the national and international growth of the amusement industry. And as the industry grows, so does theInternational Association of Amusements Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) as it strives to strengthen its resouces to benefit its diverse membership.
The association's expos are just one way, albeit a big way, to reach out to members of the industry. Estimated attendance numbers for the upcomingIAAPA Expo 2019, set for Nov. 18-22 at theOrange County Convention Center, are coming in at 38,000 plus. If early 2019 expo successes — such asIAAPA Expo Asia 2019, held June 11-14 in Shanghai, China, andIAAPA Expo Europe 2019 held Sept. 16-17 in Paris, France, ­— are indicators of what is to come, it should be easy for the association to reach that goal.
Expo attendees will be representing more than 100 countries as well as the various parts of the attractions industry, including amusement and theme parks, water parks, family entertainment centers, zoos, aquariums, science centers and museums.
In addition, more than 1,000 exhibiting companies are expected on the trade show floor, filling 560,000 net square feet of exhibit space. Exhibitors will display their latest products and services in 125 different categories.
For the second year in a row, Exploration Station, two custom-built structures located adjacent to the convention center, will feature more than 100 exhibiting companies.
There will be more than 100 educational experiences on a wide range of topics and exclusive behind-the-scenes educational tours (EDUTours) at Orlando-area attractions.
With so many events planned this year, highlights will abound. But there are a few exceptional events.Lesley Harris, IAAPA's manager of global communications, named a few of those. They include Lunch and Learn featuring keynote speakerGeorge Walker, creative director,Universal Creative, on Monday, Nov. 18; the Opening Reception on Tuesday, Nov. 19; and the GM and Owners’ Breakfast on Wednesday, Nov. 20, featuringChristine Duffy, president,Carnival Cruise Line.
Two others Harris noted, both set for Thursday, Nov. 21, are Game Changer session byVince Kadlubek, co-founder and CEO,Meow Wolf, and IAAPA Celebrates atUniversal’s Islands of Adventure.
As members take advantage of everything going on at IAAPA Expo 2019, some also will be found visiting the new IAAPA headquarters building in Orlando, which is now open. The 22,000-square-foot facility sits on seven acres of land surrounded by Florida waterways.
The custom-built facility was uniquely designed to celebrate and support IAAPA members from around the world. The building’s exterior features a wave pattern that symbolizes the dynamic attractions industry. Inside, artistic elements include varying ceiling heights and a colorful mural.
The facility contains meeting rooms, special event space and workstations. The patio features an outdoor kitchen and ample seating overlooking the natural landscape.
“The headquarters will serve as the place for industry professionals to come together, to work and to collaborate," saidDavid Rosenberg, 2019 chairman of the IAAPA Board of Directors and vice president ofMonterey Bay (California) Aquarium. "It also is perfectly positioned to support the association’s global operations.”
IAAPA employs 73 people worldwide, with close to 50 team members based in Orlando. The new building is home to the IAAPA North America regional office as well as the association’s headquarters team.
During IAAPA Expo 2019, Rosenberg will hand the gavel over to incoming chairAmanda Thompson OBE, ICAE, managing director,Blackpool Pleasure Beach, Lancashire, U.K.
Jim Pattison, Jr., ICAE, president ofRipley Entertainment, headquartered in Orlando, Florida, officially will become the second vice chair. IAAPA announced his appointment Sept. 16 during IAAPA Expo Europe 2019.
Educational sessions, which run Monday-Thursday, Nov. 18-21, will be led by industry professionals who volunteer their time to lend their expertise. Topics to be covered include facility operations, marketing, public relations and communications, entertainment, government relations, security and safety, information technology, food and beverage, merchandise and games, and human resources.
Some specific session titles throughout the week include Staffing Hot Topics, Advocacy for Institutions with Animals in Professional Care, Driving Revenue and Attendance with Themed Events, How Social Media is Changing the Way Guests Eat, 2019 Emerging Trends in Immersive Design, New Voices and Perspectives, Overlooked ADA: Compliance Issues You Might Not Be Thinking About and Corrosion: Combating the Hidden Dangers in Amusement Parks and Attractions.
Several roundtable discussions are offered during the week on such topics as food and beverage operations and security.
A session highlight on Tuesday, Nov. 19, includes the CEO Speak, during which attendees will listen to several industry CEOs having a casual conversation about the roads to success. Those participating includeMichael Browning, CEO,Urban Air Adventure Parks;Margo Manning, chief operational officer (COO),Dave and Busters;Matt Heller, ICAE, founder,Performance Optimist Consulting; andRyan Stana, founder and CEO,RWS Entertainment Group.
Networking opportunities to bring like industry individuals together are held throughout the week as are a number of EDUTours. The latter includeFun Spot America, Legoland Florida Resort, Conserving the Magic — Disney's Approach to Sustainability, SeaWorld Orlando, Universal Orlando's Newest Attraction andGatorland.
The trade show will be jam-packed as always with exhibitors showing off their new and tried-and-true products. It will run 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Tuesday-Thursday, Nov. 19-21, and 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Friday, Nov. 22.
Many additional announcements will be made on the trade show floor, with scheduling updates daily. Visit IAAPA online for additional information regarding the event, related activities and accommodations.