Trade show doors officially for IAAPA Expo 2022 on November 15, making way for a week of educational sessions, in-person networking, and an exhibit space dedicated to the future thrills, sights, sounds, smells and tastes of the global attractions industry.
As of the Expo’s opening, there were 33,996 registered participants, including 23,154 qualified buyers representing 10,652 buying companies. There were 1,080 exhibiting companies represented on the expansive trade show floor that covered more than 515,000 square feet of exhibit space. This year’s attendance is 26% more than 2021.
IAAPA Expo is a one-stop shop for industry experts across a range of businesses, from amusement and theme parks, zoos and aquariums, family entertainment centers, historic and cultural tourist attractions, museums and science centers to shopping malls, cruise lines, hotels, and retailers.
The Opening Ceremony offered something new for everyone – everything from the installation of the 2023 Chairman of the Board of Directors to a celebration of IAAPA’s next Hall of Fame inductees.
Reflecting on the spectacular year of growth and ongoing recovery made by attraction leaders and industry professionals around the world and in North America, Michael Shelton, vice president and executive director of IAAPA North America, said the size of this year’s show versus 2021 confirms the strength of the industry.
“I can say the attractions industry continues to build on its recovery and IAAPA Expo 2022 is the place to share news, meet new potential business partners, and connect in a way that can only happen at an IAAPA event,” said Shelton.
Ken Whiting, president of Whiting’s Foods at Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, concluded his term as the 2022 Chairman of the Board and welcomed Jim Pattison, Jr. President, Ripley Entertainment, to take his place as the 2023 chairman.
In his welcome remarks, outgoing IAAPA president and chief operating officer Hal McEvoy looked globally and applauded the work done at IAAPA offices around the world.
“2022 has been a remarkable year for the global attractions industry even with challenges,” said McEvoy, who continued and detailed some of the 100 events held throughout IAAPA’s global regions.
After his brief remarks, McEvoy welcomed Jakob Wahl to the stage to make his first IAAPA appearance as the association’s next CEO and president. Wahl was selected for the position earlier this month, which becomes official in January.
The ceremony concluded with Pattison welcoming partners from Guinness World Records to the stage as attendees broke a world record for the most people launching streamer cannons simultaneously. A record 1,116 streamer cannons were launched to make it official.
IAAPA Expo is produced by IAAPA, the global association for the attractions industry and takes place through Nov. 18. The opening ceremony was livestreamed on the association’s new state-of-the-art digital application Connect+. Virtual attendees from around the world are able to participate in IAAPA Expo through the all-new offering.