IAAPA cancels 2020 expo in Orlando as travel restrictions limit attendance

Participants can now attend virtual conference

ORLANDO, Fla. – The global association for the attractions industry has canceled its 2020 expo set to take place in Orlando and will move sessions online.

The International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions or IAAPA is the leading global conference and trade show for the attractions industry.

Organizers say they decided to cancel the in-person convention because travel limitations in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

”The continuing barriers to international and domestic travel helped lead to this decision,” IAAPA said in a tweet.

Instead, the association is launching a new virtual conference for global attractions industry professionals. Attendees can take part in many of the education sessions originally planned to take place at IAAPA Expo.

“IAAPA Expo serves as the global marketplace for the attractions industry. We recognize this year there are many challenges facing our members from around the world,” said Hal McEvoy, president and CEO of IAAPA. “Together with input from members, exhibitors, the IAAPA Board of Directors and our team, we have decided to cancel this year’s Expo due to the ongoing impacts of COVID-19. The continuing barriers to international and domestic travel coupled with the evolving guidance on mass gatherings, and members’ need to focus on their businesses helped lead to this decision.”

The IAAPA Expo Virtual Education Conference will take place from Nov. 16 through the 18, the same week that the IAAPA Expo was originally planned.

According to a news release, participants can virtually attend 25 sessions and two keynote presentations.

“These sessions were part of IAAPA Expo’s conference program and will feature leading industry professionals,” officials said.

“While we are disappointed we are unable to meet in-person this year, we are already looking ahead to IAAPA Expo 2021 in Orlando,” McEvoy continued, “We also appreciate the patience, support and commitment from our dedicated IAAPA Expo exhibitors. The IAAPA team has already pivoted to address finding new ways industry manufacturers and suppliers can connect with their customers to promote their products, discover new trends, and make plans for the future.”

Additional details and registration information is available at IAAPA.org.

The cancellation is a huge blow to the Central Florida economy, already strained by coronavirus closures.

In 2019, 42,200 people attended the expo. That number includes 27,900 qualified buyers from amusement parks, water parks, family entertainment centers, zoos, aquariums, museums, science centers, resorts and attractions from around the world.

According to officials, the five-day event pumped an estimated $77.2 million into the Orlando-area economy.