2020 has been the year of event cancellations and postponements due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s very understandable for organizers to resort to streaming or even delaying their events as fears of contagion continue to permeate through the public consciousness. But still, we can’t help but keep our fingers crossed whenever an important event date approaches, hoping that, by some miracle, it doesn’t get canceled.
Sadly, this isn’t the case for the popular IAAPA Expo. The organization announced on Friday that the 2020 event,, which was planned for its usual date in mid-November, has had its physical expo canceled. This shouldn’t come as a surprise given that we’re over six months into the ongoing health crisis, but that didn’t stop many vendors from signing up for the event on the off-chance that it actually took place. While there’s still a bit of time left until November rolls around, one of the main problems for most international vendors are the current travel restrictions – many home countries still have travel bans in place, so this could potentially strand booth employees in Florida indefinitely. Of course if such bans are lifted before November, there just isn’t enough time to organize the event at this point.
All of these factors made the companies, who were initially signing up to the event in droves, to withdraw their support. And upon further deliberation, the IAAPA 2020 physical event was canceled.
Not all is lost however. While the physical event is no longer taking place, it’ll be replaced by a virtual expo. The organizers mentioned in a press release that they would have a “new virtual conference for global attractions industry professionals so that they can take part in many of the education sessions originally planned to take place at IAAPA Expo.” This implies that the companies that were signed up for the event originally may have their own spaces to showcase their products, just like in the regular event. However, we’re not sure how many companies are actually signing up for the virtual event, if any, though it’s much better than cancelling altogether, in our opinion.
The truth of the matter is that these factors and circumstances are out of everyone’s hands. We commend the folks at IAAPA for, at least, sticking to a virtual modality instead of canceling outright. And while some parts of the gaming industry are doing better than ever, despite the pandemic, we’re hoping things start to blow over sooner than later as we’re excited to see new developments and proper updates from our favorite arcade and amusement manufacturers.
Here’s the full IAAPA official press release where they announced the cancellation:
“ORLANDO, Fla., US – IAAPA, the global association for the attractions industry, today announced the cancellation of IAAPA Expo 2020 in Orlando, Florida. In addition, the association is launching a new virtual conference for global attractions industry professionals so that they 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, 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.”
“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.”
“Current contracted IAAPA Expo 2020 exhibitors should contact the IAAPA Global Sales Team at ExhibitSales@IAAPA.org to discuss options related to the cancellation and next steps. IAAPA is moving forward with plans to host IAAPA Expo Asia 2021, scheduled to take place in Macao, China, June 7-10, IAAPA Expo Europe 2021 in Barcelona, Spain, Sept. 28-30, 2021, and IAAPA Expo 2021 in Orlando, Florida, Nov. 16-19, 2021.
“IAAPA Expo Virtual Education Conference will take place November 16-18, the same week IAAPA Expo was originally planned for. Participants will be able to virtually attend 25 sessions and two keynote presentations. These sessions were part of IAAPA Expo’s conference program and will feature leading industry professionals. Additional details and registration information will be available online at IAAPA.org.”
Thanks for reading! Here at PrimeTime Amusements, we like to keep ahead of the curve in arcade game rental and sales and pride ourselves in providing the best service in the country. If you’re looking for a game in particular, or have a few questions about the industry, feel free to give us a call at 1.800.550.0090 or to swing by at 5300 Powerline Rd. Suite 210, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, 33309.
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