For the second year running, the theme park capital of the world hosted what turned out to be another successful IAAPA show. Any fears of the current global economic situation having a detrimental effect on the event were seemingly unfounded, at least for many of the larger manufacturers and suppliers in attendance.

With official attendance figures for the event 12 months earlier running at around the 27,000 mark, this year’s expo was certainly much lighter on the ground as far as visitors were concerned. Organisers put the preliminary figure for participants at 24,000 from a record 100 different countries and the reduction in numbers could certainly be seen in the aisles of the show floor which were noticeably quieter throughout the four days, even on the traditionally busier middle two days.

Visitors again represented a wide spread of attraction type including amusement and theme parks, waterparks, FECs, zoos, aquariums, museums, resorts and casinos and in all, over 13,000 buyers attended, representing over 5,000 companies. And while some buyer categories experienced a decline in attendance, the number of buyers increased from zoos, aquariums, museums and science centres.

The organisers noted that the number of buyers from western Europe, the Middle East and southeast Asia decreased, although the number of first-time buyers increased by a significant 25 per cent.

A full report on the event will appear in the winter 2009 issue of InterPark.