Take this as a sign of Orlando, Fla.'s interest in the plastics industry -- specifically NPE. The Orlando Sentinel posted a story last night about NPE2012, saying North America's largest plastics show "could become the next undisputed heavyweight champion of the region's convention industry." Sara K. Clarke's story, "Orlando faces test with huge plastics trade show," looks at the latest numbers and makes the case that NPE2012 could "initiate Orlando into the ranks of those very few travel destinations capable of handling even the largest industrial trade shows." "Other manufacturing, other heavy-equipment trade shows will see the success of [NPE] and, I believe, based on that success, Orlando will be in a stronger position to compete for that business for years ahead," Gary Sain, president and CEO of Visit Orlando, the local convention-and-visitors bureau, told the Sentinel. The story does a nice job of framing what NPE means to Orlando -- and what the new location potentially means to the Society of the Plastics Industry Inc., the show's owner. "Part of the challenge will be convincing the trade group that the show will continue to draw the industry's Midwest-based crowd despite the added travel distance to Orlando, compared with Chicago," Clarke wrote. SPI is counting on Orlando to help draw an international crowd -- but she's absolutely right about the importance of keeping the tried and true Midwest attendees, too. The story quotes Gene Sanders, SPI's senior vice president of trade shows and conferences, saying that this year's show registration may approach 60,000. If so, that certainly would be a sign that the new show location is a hit. There are a few paragraphs at the end of the story that may give readers pause. The story notes that SPI "hasn't signed a contract for its 2015 show," but "wouldn't object if Orlando became the event's new long-term home." "We hope that the show just knocks it out of the park and we'll be back there in '15 and '18 and '21," Sanders said. "That's our goal." When I first read that, I thought it was odd that SPI has not signed a contract for 2015. SPI has been saying for three years that both the 2012 and 2015 shows will be in Orlando. But it would go too far to assume that means SPI will be looking for a new home for NPE in three years. In fact, I've been assured by SPI that nothing has changed -- the group still plans to hold the 2015 show in Orlando. The final agreement just hasn't been signed yet. So Orlando can feel free to "knock it out of the park," as Sanders put it, without worrying to much about being pulled from the lineup in 2015. As far as 2018 and 2021 are concerned ... well, it's a little to soon to worry about that!
Orlando is gearing up for NPE
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