Today, the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA), the largest trade association for the $39 billion worldwide attractions industry, announced it will relocate its global headquarters office to Orlando, Florida.
The move will begin in 2017. IAAPA also announced plans to host its annual conference and trade show (IAAPA Attractions Expo) in Orlando at the Orange County Convention Center through 2030.
The move from Alexandria, Virginia, and convention contract extension are contingent upon support from the state of Florida and Orange County, Florida.
The IAAPA Board of Directors approved the relocation and convention agreement extension during meetings held in Barcelona, Spain in conjunction with the association’s European conference and trade show, Euro Attractions Show 2016.
Move Supports the Growing Association that Supports a Growing Industry
The IAAPA board of directors concluded the worldwide headquarters for the association should be located in the global epicenter of the theme park and attractions industry, Orlando.
In addition to world-renowned theme parks including Legoland Florida, SeaWorld Orlando, Universal Orlando Resort, and Walt Disney World, the region offers Fun Spot, Ripley’s Entertainment, Dave & Buster’s, and other best-in-class attractions including water parks, family entertainment centers, zoos, aquariums, museums, and natural attractions.
Many of the industry’s leading manufacturers and suppliers have a presence in the region as well.
The Central Florida location will make it easier for IAAPA members from around the world to connect with each other and engage with IAAPA’s professional staff when they travel to the region to meet with industry suppliers and to see some of the latest industry innovations at Florida’s attractions. As IAAPA’s staffing needs grow in the future, the move will also facilitate the association’s ability to recruit candidates with industry experience.
“IAAPA is the global organization that supports and connects attractions industry professionals from around the world and although we’ve done so successfully for almost 100 years, it’s now time to look ahead and form our vision for the next 100 years,” said John McReynolds 2016 IAAPA Chairman of the Board and Senior Vice President of External Affairs for Universal Parks and Resorts.
“I cannot think of a better place to build our future than in Orlando, the theme park and attractions capital of the world,” McReynolds added.
“Our new headquarters will become a global gathering place where industry leaders will connect to conduct business, learn from each other, address challenges, and imagine the attractions that will put smiles on people’s faces for many years to come.”
“In an effort to keep up with the rapid growth of the global attractions industry over the past 10 years, we have expanded our regional offices, increased the products and services we offer our members, added staff, expanded our training and professional development programs, and hosted record-breaking trade shows around the world. We have outgrown our headquarters office so now is the time to put infrastructure in place to support the association and the industry for the future,” said IAAPA President and CEO Paul Noland.
“Orlando is not just a place to have fun, it’s also a great place to conduct serious business and that’s a winning combination for IAAPA,” Noland added.
Convention Agreement Extension to Generate Millions for the Orlando Economy
IAAPA has held its global conference and trade show at the Orange County Convention Center for many years and since 2010.
The association previously committed to host the event in Orlando through 2025.
That agreement will now be extended for five additional years through 2030.
The weeklong event brings 30,000 people to the region and generates an estimated $51.3 million for the Orlando-area economy each year.
Orange County Welcomes IAAPA to the Orlando Business Community
Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs traveled to Barcelona to answer questions from the IAAPA board members about the region and to outline the county’s interest in bringing the headquarters to Orlando and discuss the Expo extension.
“We’re thrilled to welcome IAAPA to Central Florida,” said Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs. “In addition to the obvious synergy with our world-class theme park and entertainment industries, the addition of another national association headquarters unit is tremendously important. As the home of the AAU and USTA associations, it makes great sense to add IAAPA to this impressive lineup.”
The State of Florida, Orange County Florida, Visit Orlando, the Orange County Convention Center, the Orlando Economic Development Commission, and Enterprise Florida Inc., have all played key roles in assisting IAAPA in the association’s plans to relocate their headquarters office Orlando.
About the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA)
Founded in 1918, IAAPA is the largest international trade association for permanently located amusement facilities and attractions and is dedicated to the preservation and prosperity of the attractions industry. The non-profit organization represents more than 5,000 attractions, suppliers, and individual members from 100 countries. Member facilities include amusement/theme parks, water parks, attractions, family entertainment centers, zoos, aquariums, museums, science centers, and resorts.
The association maintains regional offices in Brussels for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa; in Mexico City for Latin America; and in Hong Kong for the Asia-Pacific region. The association has had a small regional office for its North American operations in Orlando for two years. That regional office will now be co-located with IAAPA’s global headquarters in a single location. A portion of the IAAPA headquarters staff will move to Orlando in second quarter of 2017 with the remainder to follow thereafter. IAAPA will maintain a government affairs office in the Washington, D.C. area.
“The IAAPA Europe, Middle East, Africa region is thrilled to acknowledge the move of the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions’ headquarters to the world hub of our industry, Orlando, Florida,” said Blackpool Pleasure Beach Ltd. Managing Director Amanda J. Thompson, OBE. “This is an important step to reflect the ambition of the globalization of our organization.”
“The decision for IAAPA to move the association’s global headquarters to Orlando helps support the rapid development of the theme park industry in the Asia-Pacific Region,” said Ocean Park Hong Kong Chief Executive Officer, Matthias Li. “The new headquarters location will make it easier for industry professionals, investors, and suppliers in Asia to make physical connections with the association and take advantage of the numerous membership services offered when they travel to Orlando for trade shows and benchmarking visits.”
“As the most visited destination in the U.S. and theme park capital of the world, Orlando is the epicenter of tourism activity and creativity,” said George Aguel, president and CEO of Visit Orlando. “We welcome the IAPPA team and know they will feel right at home. Their commitment to headquarter both the association and annual show in Orlando is a testament to the powerful mix of industry leaders, businesses, and talent that reside here, and will shine an even greater spotlight on our destination’s resources.”
“IAAPA represents what everyone knows about Orlando – we have a thriving theme park industry,” said David Fuller, Orlando Economic Development Commission (EDC) chair. “How appropriate that they are now part of our regional narrative that tells the story of our growing number of company headquarters locating here because of our outstanding assets and business climate.”
“As the theme park capital of the world I know IAAPA will feel very much at home here,” said Orlando EDC Executive Vice President Holly Wiedman. “We are proud to welcome them as they experience all our region has to offer as an amazing place to live and do business.”