International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions

The International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) represents over 6,000 amusement-industry members in more than 100 countries worldwide and operates several global attractions-industry trade shows. Its annual IAAPA Expo in Orlando, Florida, is recognized as the world's largest attractions trade show in the number of attendees and exhibitors and providing members insight into current amusement trends, laws, operations and industry methodology.[5][6] IAAPA also helps to promote guest-safety and ride-safety guidelines in conjunction with ASTM International and assists its members to uphold the highest amusement-industry safety and professional standards.

International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions
Formation1918; 104 years ago (1918)
TypeTrade association
Legal status501(c)(6)[2]
PurposeTo promote safe operations, global development, professional growth, and commercial success of the amusement parks and attractions industry.[2]
HeadquartersOrlando, Florida, U.S.
CoordinatesCoordinates: 38°48′13″N 77°03′26″W / 38.8036808°N 77.0573128°W / 38.8036808; -77.0573128
Area served
Membership (2018)
More than 5,300[3]
Hal McEvoy[4]
Ken Whiting, ICAE[4]
SubsidiariesIAAPA Foundation (501(c)(3),[2]
Revenue (2017)
Expenses (2017)US$22,757,776[2]
Endowment$20,231,966 (2017)[2]
Employees (2017)
Volunteers (2017)

IAAPA represents a variety of location-based entertainment facilities, including amusement and theme parks, family entertainment centers, arcades, museums, water parks, aquariums, science centers, zoos, and resorts. It also represents industry equipment manufacturers, distributors, operators, industry suppliers, and service providers.


In 1976, Aaron Fechter brought the first full animated show to the convention.

In 1990, IAAPA established an international council in expand its global reach and give advice and direction about programs and services for members outside the United States. The council and its operations committee were instrumental in recruiting international members and developing quality products and services. IAAPA also established the IAAPA Hall of Fame, with amusement-industry pioneers its first class of inductees.

The following year, the 73rd annual convention and trade show in Orlando, Florida had over 19,000 attendees. The IAAPA Expo was the largest amusement-industry exhibition in the world, offering trends in amusement and arcade equipment, food, beverage, park technology and entertainment.

In 2000 the association worked to counter negative publicity following high-profile amusement-ride incidents and surrounding amusement safety, publicizing the industry's overall safety record. It established a ride-incident reporting system for its U.S. facilities with rides (releasing the initial results in 2003 through the National Safety Council), and helped facilitate independent scientific reviews of ride forces in 2002-03 indicating the inherent safety of rides for the general public. In 2000, IAAPA opened its first full-time overseas office (IAAPA Europe) in Brussels.

The organization acquired the Asian Amusement Expo (AAE) in 2003, but canceled the event because of the SARS outbreak in Asia. IAAPA maintained its focus on industry safety that year, establishing an international standards harmonization group to implement universal ride-safety criteria. In 2004, it helped spearhead the adoption of the ASTM International amusement-ride design and manufacture standard and the European standard for amusement machinery and structures.

Two years later, IAAPA joined the Travel Industry Association of America to produce "The Economic Impact of Domestic and Overseas Travelers Who Visit Amusement/Theme Parks and Other Attractions in the United States" on the importance of amusement, theme parks and other attractions to U.S. tourism and its wider economy. The association extended membership to casinos and resorts, since a number of facilities had incorporated amusement and entertainment features. To promote park safety, IAAPA made its ride incident reporting system mandatory for U.S. members and supported Europarks' efforts to implement a similar system for its members. IAAPA encouraged voluntary ride reporting by its global partners, supplying background materials.

In 2007 the association opened a new office in Europe with expanded programs and services and increased collaboration with Europarks on ride-safety reporting, and held its annual senior-level training program (the Institute for Executive Education) to the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. At its Attractions Expo, the association unveiled its institute for emerging leaders (later renamed the Institute for Attractions Managers) to recruit candidates for senior-level positions.

The following year, IAAPA acquired the Euro Attractions Show (EAS). It held its first Middle East safety conference in Dubai in February, and had its inaugural Attractions Safety Awareness Week to enhance understanding of the industry's safety practices and record in June.

In 2010, the IAAPA Foundation was created as a 501(c)(3) organization to fund the development of education programs and information resources for the global attractions industry. The following year, the association implemented its certification program to help raise amusement-industry standards. Its Institute for Executive Education was revived in conjunction with San Diego State University, and IAAPA's first "Latin America State of the Industry Report" and "European Manifesto" were released. In September 2016, the association announced plans to move its headquarters from Alexandria, Virginia to Orlando in 2017[7][8] and to hold its expo in Orlando until 2030.[9][10]

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the themed entertainment industry faced significant new pressures. IAAPA was among a number of themed entertainment organizations whose members faced potential tens of billions in losses as a result.[11] As a result, IAAPA has asked the United States Congress to amend the Paycheck Protection Program to protect small businesses in the industry.[12][13] The IAAPA Asia Expo had already been postponed by a year due to the pandemic, with the American expo presently[when?] staying on the books for November 2020.[14]


Founded in 1918, IAAPA is the largest international trade association for permanent amusement facilities and attractions and is dedicated to the preservation and prosperity of the attractions industry. The association represents nearly 5,000 facility, supplier, and individual members in 99 countries. Member facilities include amusement and theme parks, water parks, attractions, family entertainment centers, zoos, aquariums, museums, science centers, and resorts. IAAPA is a nonprofit organization with its headquarters in Orlando, Florida and regional offices in Brussels, Mexico City, Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Washington D.C.[15]

Events and publicationsEdit

The association operates IAAPA Expo, IAAPA Expo Asia, and IAAPA Expo Europe. At each show, IAAPA offers educational, informational, operational, safety, and leadership seminars and behind-the-scenes tours of member amusement parks, theme parks, water parks, and family entertainment centers. IAAPA publishes Funworld the official magazine for members, keeps its global membership informed about current and pending federal, state and local amusement-related laws and legislation and publishes "News Daily", a daily e-newsletter with industry news stories from around the world.


The IAAPA Hall Of Fame was established in 1990 to celebrate achievements in and contributions to the growth and development of the amusement park and attractions industry. Its Service Awards honor members who excel in dedication to the association and the industry.


IAAPA offers training in every aspect of the amusement-park and attractions industry and provides member facilities with opportunities to educate their personnel with workshops, on-site seminars, videotapes, manuals, webinars and services provided by institute programs, such as the IAAPA Institutes for Attractions Managers and Executive Education and the IAAPA Safety Institute. The association promotes amusement park safety standards to its members and maintains a partnership with the ASTM International to develop and update ride safety standards and maintenance requirements. IAAPA's advocacy department reaches out to governments in a number of countries, representing the industry in attraction and amusement-park legislation and regulations.


  1. ^ Includes employees working in the U.S. only.


  1. ^ "International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions". Tax Exempt Organization Search. Internal Revenue Service. Retrieved November 18, 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h "Form 990: Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax". International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions. Internal Revenue Service. December 31, 2017.
  3. ^ Scheffer, Erkia (March 24, 2017). "Neutral Testimony on HB2389 (Written Only)". International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions. Kansas Legislature. Retrieved April 11, 2017.
  4. ^ a b "Board of Directors". International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions. Retrieved November 18, 2019.
  5. ^ Tampa Bay Times - "Theme park professionals gather in Orlando this week for international amusement convention
  6. ^ Orlando Sentinel - "From the IAAPA floor: Roller coasters, Big Bird, Aquaman attend big expo
  7. ^ Pedicini, Sandra (September 21, 2016). "IAAPA intends to move world HQ to Orlando". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved January 31, 2017.
  8. ^ "IAAPA announces plans to relocate headquarters to Orlando". Attractions Magazine. September 21, 2016. Retrieved January 31, 2017.
  9. ^ Barton, Mary Ann (September 21, 2016). "International Association Moving Headquarters from Alexandria". The Patch. Retrieved January 31, 2017.
  10. ^ Bilbao, Richard (September 21, 2016). "IAAPA to move global HQ to Orlando, extend annual expo". Orlando Business Journal. Retrieved January 31, 2017.
  11. ^ Zawya - "COVID-19 threatens US$80.58 billion MENA leisure attractions industry as MENALAC seeks government support"
  12. ^ blooloop - "IAAPA asks Congress to amend current Paycheck Protection Program
  13. ^ Travel Agent Central - "Next Round of Coronavirus Relief: What The Travel Industry Needs"
  14. ^ Orlando Sentinel - "IAAPA postpones next Asia Expo until 2021 amid coronavirus outbreak
  15. ^ "IAAPA opens second Asian office in Shanghai - InterPark". InterPark. February 1, 2018. Retrieved March 9, 2018.

External linksEdit