There are two messages in the NPE 2006 final attendance figures.
First: Overall attendance was up, despite the fact that there were slightly fewer exhibitors at the show, held June 19-23 in Chicago.
Second: Many visitors came from outside the U.S., including a huge number of exhibitors from greater China, which includes Taiwan and Hong Kong.
According to final attendance figures, 64,451 people registered to attend NPE 2006, including a record number of international visitors.
Total registration was 2 percent more than at NPE 2003. But the show's organizer, the Washington-based Society of the Plastics Industry Inc., touted the fact that visitor registration (which does not include exhibitor personnel) was up 9 percent, and international visitors up 33 percent.
A total of 1,850 companies exhibited this year, a 4 percent drop from 2003, which reflects industry consolidation, said Walt Bishop, SPI vice president of trade shows.
Still, the number of international exhibitors - firms coming directly from outside the U.S., as distinct from U.S. subsidiaries - accounted for 33 percent of the total, vs. 30 percent in 2003 and 24.5 percent in 2000.
Among international exhibitors, more came from greater China than from any other country: 188 in all, vs. 91 at NPE 2003. Asian firms in general accounted for 45 percent of international exhibitors. After China, leading countries in number of exhibitors were Canada (118) and Germany (62). In all, 34 countries were represented at the show.
Visitors came from 126 countries. Of total international registration, Canada accounted for the largest share, followed by Mexico, then China.
Mark your calendars: NPE 2009 is scheduled for June 22-26, 2009.