IAAPA Moves to Orlando Following Record-Breaking 2018 Expo

IAAPA Moves to Orlando Following Record-Breaking 2018 Expo

See why IAAPA is keeping their expo in Orlando through 2030 — and moving their headquarters to town.

To celebrate its milestone 100th anniversary in style, the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) knew that only one city would do for IAAPA Attractions Expo 2018: Orlando, Theme Park Capital of the World®! After all, the nation’s No. 1 meetings destination isn’t just home to some of the world’s most famous attractions — it’s also helped produce record-breaking editions of IAAPA’s annual conference and trade show.

In fact, IAAPA adores Orlando so much, they’ve committed to holding their expo at the Orange County Convention Center (OCCC) through 2030, and they’re also moving their global headquarters to the area. Watch the video and read on to find out why they love Orlando, and why we’re perfect for your next event, too!

No Show Is Too Large for Orlando


Julie Estrada of Merlin Entertainments Introduces Madame Tussauds Orlando’s Aquaman at IAAPA Attractions Expo 2018

Not that IAAPA ever has a problem filling the massive OCCC, but in 2018, they broke their own all-time attendance record with 40,000 exhibitors, attendees and buyers.

“This is a record show for us,” says Hal McEvoy, president and CEO, IAAPA, who understands perfectly why his participants love coming to Orlando. “They can come to see the show, see the latest innovations [and] get educated, and then you have restaurants and the world-class attractions that Orlando has.”

Danny Gruening, vice president of marketing, Creative Works Inc., agrees. “Orlando makes perfect sense,” he says. “It’s a fantastic convention center, and it’s just easily accessible across the world and across the United States.”

Indeed, Orlando offers ample accessibility, with more than 40 scheduled airlines providing nonstop service to Orlando International Airport (MCO) from more than 150 U.S. and international destinations. And that’s on top of airfares that are among the lowest of the 50 largest U.S. airports.

And as Gruening noted, the OCCC offers much for conventions of any size. Featuring 2.1 million square feet of exhibition space, it also offers walkability to more than 42 hotels and 75 acclaimed restaurants and tourist attractions, all within a 2-mile radius — and it’s not done growing yet!

Upcoming Improvements Make Orlando Bigger and Better


Orange County Convention Center in Orlando

With new enhancements coming to the OCCC, this huge show and others like it will have plenty of room to grow.

“I see a lot of plans coming up to expand the convention center,” says McEvoy. “It’s definitely going to help us in the future and give exhibitors the space they need.”

The next five years are sure to elevate the OCCC into an even more dynamic and sought-after venue. In late 2018, leaders received approvals to move forward with North-South Building improvements, including the Convention Way Grand Concourse and the Multipurpose Venue. These projects will improve the OCCC’s North-South building with more meeting space and options for clients looking to deliver a top-notch event.

The Convention Way Grand Concourse, an enclosed connection between the North and South concourses, includes additional meeting space and an 80,000-square-foot ballroom with a grand entrance to the North-South building along Convention Way.

The new Multipurpose Venue is a 200,000-square-foot, flexible, divisible, column-free space with a combination of retractable and floor seating to accommodate between 18,000-20,000 guests while incorporating connectivity between the North and South concourses.

“We spent years working with valued clients to best determine what improvements should be made to keep us competitive and top-of-mind in the convention and trade show industry,” said Yulita Osuba, the OCCC’s Deputy Director. “This priceless feedback and strong relationships will help us lay the groundwork for the next 35 years.”

IAAPA Loves Orlando So Much, They’re Moving Here

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IAAPA Proves That No Show Is Too Wild for the Orange County Convention Center

As previously noted, IAAPA hasn’t just committed to keeping their Expo in Orlando through 2030, ensuring at least 20 straight years of the event being hosted at the OCCC. They’re also bringing their global headquarters here in the process.

“Orlando is a central point for a lot of our manufacturers, suppliers or owner/operators,” says McEvoy. “Bringing IAAPA to Orlando gives convenience for our members to stop in and see us.”

The move makes a lot of sense for other reasons, too. In addition to the renowned theme parks and water parks at Walt Disney World® Resort, Universal Orlando Resort™, SeaWorld® Orlando and LEGOLAND® Florida Resort, Orlando boasts hundreds of unique standalone attractions, including Fun Spot America, Ripley’s Entertainment, ICON Orlando 360 and more.

Ready to see what Orlando can do for your event? Submit your RFP, and sign up for our newsletter for the latest updates from Cvent’s No. 1 meetings destination in the U.S.

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