Amusement Park Group Moving to Orlando

The International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions announced its plans to relocate to Orlando, Florida—the epicenter of the industry.

The International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions is flocking to Florida—much like many of its members’ customers do—to get up close and personal to Cinderella, Mickey Mouse, Harry Potter, Shamu, and the many other attractions that fill the state’s array of amusement parks.

Last week, IAAPA announced plans to relocate its headquarters from Alexandria, Virginia, to Orlando—plans that the IAAPA Board of Directors approved during last week’s Euro Attractions Show 2016 in Barcelona.

“I cannot think of a better place to build our future than in Orlando, the theme park and attractions capital of the world,” said John McReynolds, chairman of the IAAPA board, in a press release. “Our new headquarters will become a global gathering place where industry leaders will connect to conduct business, learn from each other, address challenges, and imagine the attractions that will put smiles on people’s faces for many years to come.”

Orlando—home to Universal Orland Resort, Walt Disney World, SeaWorld Orlando, and Legoland Florida, along with other parks, attractions, and manufacturers and suppliers—is largely considered the epicenter of the industry. IAAPA, the largest trade association for the $39 billion industry, expects its new headquarters to better facilitate staff engagement with members. Association leadership also hopes the new location will better enable IAAPA to recruit staff with industry experience as the association continues to grow, according to Colleen Magone, the director of media relations at IAAPA.

“IAAPA is growing rapidly,” Mangone said. “While we have expanded around the world in recent years, we have outgrown our headquarters offices in Alexandria. Given the association’s strong financial footing and keeping in mind IAAPA will celebrate its centennial in 2018, the IAAPA Board of Directors wanted to find a location to position the association for the next 100 years.”

Although the association doesn’t yet have a new space picked out, IAAPA plans for the new offices to join together the global headquarters office and the North American regional office, which is already based in Orlando. IAAPA is also planning to keep a small presence in the DC area for its government affairs and advocacy teams.

Because the move from Virginia to Florida is a complex one, especially as it concerns its staff, IAAPA expects the full transition to Orlando to take several years. “We expect some of the global headquarters positions to begin to shift to Orlando within the first half of 2017,” Mangone said, adding that care for its staff and members are priorities for association leadership.

“In an effort to keep up with the rapid growth of the global attractions industry over the past 10 years, we have expanded our regional offices, increased the products and services we offer our members, added staff, expanded our training and professional development programs, and hosted record-breaking trade shows around the world,” said IAAPA President and CEO Paul Noland in a press release. “We have outgrown our headquarters office so now is the time to put infrastructure in place to support the association and the industry for the future.”

A roller coaster at Universal Studios Florida. (iStock/Thinkstock)

Emily Bratcher

By Emily Bratcher

Emily Bratcher is a Contributing Editor for Associations Now. MORE

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