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GTI Global Network > Current Issue > Reports
2021 AEI Shows Resiliency with Strong Summer Edition in Vegas!

2021 AEI Shows Resiliency with Strong Summer Edition in Vegas!

Sophia Liang/Jasmin Zhuang

The Amusement Expo International 2021 had been successfully held in Las Vegas on June 29-July 1. Organized by the American Amusement Machine Association (AAMA) and the Amusement and Music Operators Association (AMOA), the expo is one of the largest shows in America and an annual entertainment, music, and family amusement event for FECs, arcade games, bars, restaurants and other amusement that people need to pay for fun. In the 2021 Amusement Expo International in Las Vegas, attendees and exhibitors showed up in solid numbers and in a high-energy, upbeat mood.

In fact, preliminary attendance statistics in 2021 revealed the number of buyers was up from last year’s event in New Orleans. Data from AEI’s opening day showed 1,438 buyers registered, up from 1,303 in 2020. The number of exhibiting companies was down slightly from the previous AEI, at 132 compared to 145 in spring 2020. The dip was partially due to travel restrictions imposed on international companies. Impressively, 35 new exhibitors were part of AEI 2021.

“Even though our numbers were trending positively in the days and weeks before the show, I was still a bit surprised and quite happy, with the turnout on the exhibit floor and during our education program,” said Joe Camarota, president of the American Amusement Machine Association (AAMA), one of the two AEI sponsoring organizations.

From the start of AEI 2021, launched with an inspirational Keynote Speech by former U.S. soldier John Kriesel, there was both a sense of relief and a celebratory tone reflecting the consensus view that “the industry is back.” “It was just what we needed to give us some momentum for the rest of this year and into 2022,” said Greg Trent, president of AMOA, the other AEI co-sponsoring trade group. “Looking back, there were certainly moments when prospects for a 2021 AEI looked pretty bleak, but moving it to the summer slot proved to be a wise decision.”

On Tuesday, June 29, over 400 persons attended the day-long educational program. In addition to the 25 sessions for the amusement/FEC side of the market, there were separate programs running concurrently that were focused on bulk vending and virtual reality topics.

That evening, the All-Industry Gala 2021 served as a much-anticipated reunion for AEI attendees and exhibitors. Predictably, it was one of the highest-attended and most festive AEI parties in recent years. Gala sponsors included TouchTunes, Incredible Technologies, Firestone Financial, SpringboardVR and Frontgrid.

The AEI 2021 exhibition opened on Wednesday, June 30 to high traffic and optimism about prospects for the future. Colocation partners the National Bulk Vendors Association, the Laser Tag Museum and the Virtual Reality segments once again joined together with AEI to create expanded opportunities for their respective buyer and seller bases.

Despite the uncertainty in the immediate aftermath of the pandemic, many exhibitors and buyers expressed satisfaction with the results of AEI 2021. It was “business as usual” on the show floor, with new products being introduced to the trade for the first time, equipment orders being placed and sales leads and new customer contacts being generated. The education program held in AEI 2021 also came through by delivering some well-timed guidance and information to an audience hungry for new ideas and approaches. And, of course, most were thrilled to simply be together and re-connected at their annual business event after a 15-month interruption in industry interaction.

GTI and Game Time International also attended the expo with the promotional material of GTI Asia China Expo as well as GTI Asia Taipei Expo. It was to introduce and promote the intelligent manufacturing in Chinese amusement, actively invite buyers to the two expos, and bring the latest industrial news for fellow industry members in China. In addition, the good news is the next AEI is less than nine months from now, with the 2022 version set for March 15-17 at Westgate Las Vegas and the South Hall 1 of the Las Vegas Convention Center. The industry is expected to be back at full strength by then, setting the stage for a robust return to the traditional spring slot in 2022.

※The article is published in the GTI Magazine Issue No. 202 in November 2021

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