More Shows Break Attendance Records or Post Increases in Meetings, Golf, Digital Signage, Natural Products, Crafting Sectors

March 18, 2012

In the final months of last year and since the beginning of this year, one show after another has either shattered previous all-time attendance records or had impressive increases, compared with 2011 events in sectors as wide-ranging as meetings, golf, digital signage, natural products and crafting.

Reed Exhibitions’ EIBTM, a global event for the meetings, events and incentives industry held in December in Barcelona, had record-breaking attendance, following the official results of theshow's ABC Audit – confirming it as the largest audited exhibition in the meetings sector, according to show officials.

Visitor attendance, including hosted buyers, was recorded as 9,330, the highest ever total number of visitors at EIBTM, marking an 11.4-percent increase, compared with 2010.  

“These figures are a true testament to the business value and success of our show,” said Graeme Barnett, Reed Travel Exhibitions event director, EIBTM.

He added, “Each year, we deliver more and more business and with the addition of the seventh appointment for hosted buyers, we tipped an all-time record of 64,950 pre-scheduled appointments, which took place over three days between international exhibitors and hosted buyers with real purchasing power from across the globe.”

The Golf Industry Show, which rotated from Orlando’s Orange County Convention Center to the Las Vegas Convention Center this year, also saw its attendance rise 2.6 percent for its Feb. 29 – March 1 show to 7,086 attendees, compared with the 2011 event.

"Going from a traditionally strong draw in Orlando to a western location the next year generally results in a drop off in attendance, but that was not the case this year," Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA) Chief Executive Officer Rhett Evans said.

He added, "I think that speaks to the value of the event and the belief the industry is gaining some strength. I sensed a much better mood from both attendees and exhibitors."

The Digital Signage Expo also saw record-breaking attendance at the Las Vegas Convention Center, with 4,024 qualified attendees (excluding exhibitors) - a 9-percent increase, compared with 2011.

“Not only was the show a success by all quantitative measures, but the quality and number of end-users who attended helped create a positive energy that kept the show floor humming right up to the ‘closing bell’ on Thursday,” said Chris Gibbs, president of Exponation, which produces Digital Signage Expo.

New Hope Natural Media’s Natural Products Expo West, held March 8-11 at the Anaheim Convention Center, also had a good year, with a 13-percent attendance increase, compared with last year.

In all, there were more than 60,000 industry members and more than 2,000 exhibiting companies that filled 1 million-plus net square feet.

“The number of new exhibiting companies and products launched at Expo West demonstrates the strength of our industry and the level of confidence in the growth ofnatural, organic and healthy lifestyle products," said Adam Andersen, show director for Natural Products Expo West.

Lastly, the Craft and Hobby Association saw a 4-percent increase in overall attendees; an 8 percent-increase in total buyers; a 23-percent increase in individual buying companies; and a 129-percent increase of international attendees at the 71st Annual CHA Winter Conference and Trade Show held Jan. 29 - Feb. 1, also at the Anaheim Convention Center.

"A combination of CHA's eConnect exhibitor buyer invitation program; the new lower cost of admission to the Show for non-members; a recovering economy coupled with international initiatives in Canada and the United Kingdom have all resulted in stronger buyer participation at the Show," said Tony Lee, vice president of Meetings and Exhibitions at CHA.

He added, "Next year, we anticipate an even stronger international contingent when we are off the competitive show cycle of other European trade shows."

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