IAAPA Expo Europe Celebrates Successful Show in Barcelona, Spain

Moving Forward themed Expo saw International Participants Join Together to Make Plans for Global Attractions Industry’s Future

BARCELONA, Spain (Sept. 30, 2021)— Looking forward with optimism – that was the theme of the opening address at IAAPA Expo Europe 2021, and it carried through the week as the Expo brought attractions industry professionals together in Spain. Preliminary estimates indicate the Expo attracted 8,500 participants, including 5,800 qualified buyers and 439 exhibiting companies. The buyer participants represented 3,200 companies. The first IAAPA hosted Expo since 2019, IAAPA Expo Europe focused on resilience, innovation, and moving forward.

“IAAPA Expo Europe represents a fresh start for our entire industry,” said Jakob Wahl, vice president and executive director, IAAPA Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA), during the opening session. “This Expo is about preparing for the future, inspiring each other, and sharing important learnings from the global pandemic.”

The education conference began at theme park destination PortAventura World. The resort hosted the IAAPA Safety Institute, and a behind-the-scenes tour of the park as well as IAAPA EMEA’s first-ever Sustainability Day. The full-day sustainability event featured industry professionals from the EMEA region sharing their parks’ strategies for becoming carbon neutral, incorporating sustainability practices throughout their facilities, and providing guidelines to create a sustainability plan that supports business goals. Participants also took an exclusive tour of PortAventura Dreams, the park’s onsite resort which provides annually complimentary visits to 200 children with critical illnesses and their families.

To recognize PortAventura’s commitment to sustainability and pioneering efforts across all lines of business, as well as its openness in sharing best practices with the industry, IAAPA presented the first-ever “IAAPA EMEA Award for Extraordinary Efforts on Sustainability” to the park during the Expo.

On Tuesday, internationally known travel writer Doug Lansky presented the opening keynote presentation about using challenge and crisis as inspiration for positive change. His engaging speech was then followed by Amanda Thompson OBE, Chairman of the Board of Directors, IAAPA; Hal McEvoy, President and CEO, IAAPA; and Jakob Wahl, Vice President and Executive Director, IAAPA EMEA; officially cutting the blue ribbon and declaring the trade show floor open.

Exhibitors and attendees filled two halls of the Fira Barcelona Gran Via, and together discussed critical business needs, discovered new products and services, and looked at solutions to entertain guests while meeting new guidelines and procedures that have evolved due to the global pandemic.

“The attractions industry truly is like a family,” shared Hal McEvoy, president and CEO, IAAPA, “To finally come back together - in person - means a great deal. We understand our members and the industry are still working through the ongoing impact of COVID-19, but we are confident the industry will emerge from these challenges stronger than ever. Our role is to help members and the global attractions industry push through, and IAAPA Expo Europe was an important step toward full recovery.”

The professionals in the business of fun also had fun during the Opening Reception at Tibidabo Amusement Park. One of the oldest parks in the world, the sold-out event was filled with food, rides, attractions, and conversation high above the Barcelona skyline.

“This week’s show demonstrates the strength of the attractions industry throughout the EMEA region, and the rest of the world,” continued McEvoy, “Exhibitors represented more than 43 countries around the world. International attendees came to meet with them and make serious buying decisions for their upcoming season and beyond.”

Plans for IAAPA Expo Europe 2022 are already underway. IAAPA Expo Europe 2022 will take place in London, United Kingdom 13-15 Sept. Advance exhibit sales are strong; more than 325 exhibitors have reserved 11,745sqm of contracted booth space

This year’s IAAPA Expo Europe sponsors included: accesso, Brogent Technologies Inc., DOF Robotik San. A.S, Gateway Ticketing Systems, Interlink, Jack Rouse Associates (JRA), Leisure Development Partners LLP (LDP), Outdoor Factory, Panasonic Hollywood Lab, Polin Waterparks, ProSlide Technology, QubicaAMF, Sacoa Cashless System, Sally Dark Rides, Simworx Limited, TAIT USA LLC, The Coca-Cola Company, Valo Motion, Vekoma Rides Manufacturing B.V., Water Technology Inc. / Neuman Aqua and WhiteWater.

For more information about IAAPA Expo Europe 2021, and stories right from the trade show floor, please visit IAAPA News Hub.

To download high resolution images from the event, click here.



IAAPA is a diverse and dynamic community of global attractions professionals. As the largest international trade association for permanently located attractions, IAAPA unifies the attractions community, connects people to learn and grow together, and strives to promote the highest professional standards for excellence and safety around the world.

Founded in 1918, IAAPA represents leading industry attractions and supplier companies, consultants, and individual members from more than 100 countries. Members include professionals from amusement parks, theme parks, attractions, water parks, resorts, family entertainment centers, zoos, aquariums, science centers, museums, cruise lines, manufacturers, and suppliers.

The association’s global headquarters and North America office are in Orlando, Florida, U.S. IAAPA also maintains offices in Brussels, Belgium; Hong Kong, China; Shanghai, China; and, Mexico City, Mexico. Visit or connect through IAAPA’s social media channels: @IAAPAHQ #IAAPA.


Media Contacts

Susan Storey



QubicaAMF is the largest and most innovative bowling equipment provider in the world with 600 employees worldwide. We build and modernize more bowling entertainment centers than any other company in the industry and have an installed base of more than 10,000 centers in 90 countries. The company has a sales and distribution network with worldwide reach and maintains the largest R&D team for electro-mechanical products, software, electronics, and entertainment systems in the industry.

QubicaAMF has over 100 years of experience and can provide the perfect combination of bowling equipment, products, and services for new or existing bowling entertainment centers, FECs, Cinemas, or any other facility in the hospitality, retail, or restaurant industry. Our ongoing mission is Making Bowling Amazing. We are convinced that bowling has so much more potential to attract and entertain even more people. With our products, we will help our customers fully unleash that potential.

The company has U.S. headquarters in Richmond, Virginia and European headquarters in Bologna, Italy.

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