As it visited Thailand for the first time, numbers were down slightly at this summer’s IAAPA Asian Expo, but organisers were as optimistic as ever in their outlook.
“We are pleased with the success of this year’s show,” reported IAAPA president and CEO Charlie Bray. “The Expo grows as the industry in Asia grows.”
From June 27 to 29, nearly 3,200 industry professionals representing 50 countries attended the show in Bangkok, compared to the “more than 3,300” that turned up to last July’s event in Shanghai. Exhibitor numbers, however, were at an all time high, with 144 exhibitors from 26 countries occupying 2,478 square metres of the Royal Paragon Hall.
As the show moves around Asia, so it picks up a different audience each time. “We last did Asian Expo about eight or nine years ago but came back this year because we are opening an office in Singapore,” said John Davies of OmniTicket Network. “There was a good quality of visitor from India, China, Malaysia and of course Thailand. We will probably come again next year because IAAPA in the States is still a very American show.”
A new exhibitor in Bangkok was the US company Bumper Boats. “The show has been great, fantastic,” reported Arthur A Grover. “We’re working on a couple of deals and have spoken with people from Malaysia and Vietnam. No doubt about it, we’ll be back next year. Some of the visitors are seeing our product for the first time here.”
As it does at many shows, the Moser family from Italy was displaying rides on the show floor, with an Extraordinary Bike from Moser Entertainment in action for the duration and sold during the Expo to a customer in Thailand. “It was a good show, we hope to bring a ride to the show again next year,” reported Stefano Moser.
Educational sessions were featured on topics including employee training, park operational standards, safety programmes, crisis communications and ride design. Two ‘Leadership Luncheons’ were attended by more than 85 people each. Sponsored by Gary Goddard Entertainment, on Thursday Darrell Metzger of Destination Developments for Ruwaad Holdings of Dubai talked about resort development in Asia, while on Friday Bob Masterson, president of Ripley Entertainment and the next IAAPA chairman, discussed the Asian industry.
Social events included the Welcome Reception Wednesday evening at Siam Ocean World Bangkok, the largest aquarium in Southeast Asia. Sponsored by Jack Rouse Associates, it attracted more than 250 guests.
“We look forward to building on the success of the Expo here in Bangkok as we move it to Macao in 2008,” concluded Bray. Host venue for next year’s show will be the Venetian Macao Resort Hotel from July 16 to 18, one of several casino developments in the fast-growing entertainment destination close to Hong Kong and Shenzhen.
Asian Attraction Awards
On Thursday afternoon, June 28, the first ever Asian Attractions Awards were held as part of this year’s IAAPA Asian Expo in Bangkok. Sponsored by AXN, the Sony-owned action and adventure cable and satellite TV channel, winners were the Taj Mahal in India (grand winner), Sentosa, Singapore (large attraction); Sunway Lagoon, Kuala Lumpur (medium attraction); and Sentosa 4D Magix (small attraction).