Where: Mandalay Bay Convention Center
Date 2008: May 30-June 1
Date next year: May 2-4
Floor space: 33,350 net sq. ft.
Floor space last year: 31,350 net sq. ft.
No. of attendees: 4,632
No. of attendees last year: 4,456
No. of exhibitors: 284
No. of exhibitors last year: 280
Producer comment: “We invested a lot in our education conference, which was core to attracting new buyers,” said George Jage, president of World Tea Expo.
Exhibitor comment: Rishi Tea sponsored the launch of the new business boot camp. “It was the perfect venue for us to make personal connections with new businesses and businesses about to open,” said Benjamin Harrison, co-owner of Rishi. “It drove a lot of people directly to our booth.”
Breakdown: A booming tea industry helped nudge up participation at the 2008 World Tea Expo, but organizers also had a hand in maintaining the show's strength in an economy that helped produce the slowest growth since its inception. Expanded educational programs included a new business boot camp that preceded the show and sent 160 better-educated buyers to its exhibitors' booths. Organizers also introduced a competition that gives bragging rights to winning labels. Value-added sponsorship opportunities have seen sales increase. “We've been successful in reaching a lot of power brokers,” Jage said. He projects about 20% growth in both attendance and exhibitors in 2009. —C.W.