articipation was up by a robust 22.7 per cent year-on-year to reach an all-time high of 12,023, comprising 9,662 ICE-dedicated casino industry professionals and a further 2,361 registered for the remote gaming offshoot, ICEi. The response from casino executives was such that last year's total attendance of 9,799 was exceeded by the head count taken at lunchtime of day two.
Cross-over figures also reveal a further 6,842 buyers from the co-located ATEI (soft gaming expo) visited ICE 2007, raising the gross attendance to 18,865. International and UK-based visitor levels both grew, with the non-UK contingent up 25.5 per cent to 7,232, equating to 60.2 per cent of the total. UK visitor numbers rose by 16.3 per cent to 4,675.
Growth levels were recorded across every single geographical region. Europe and the CIS was up 919 to 5,529 ( a 22.1% increment), North America up 204 to 819 ( up 33.2%), Far East and Pacific Basin up 81 to 239 ( up 51.3%), South and Central America up 56 to 192 (up 41.2%), Middle East and North Africa up 66 to 178 (up 58.9%), Southern and Central Africa up 55 to 132 (up 71.4%), Australasia up 7 to 118 (up 6.3%) and Asia up 2 to 25 (up 8.7%).
ICE/ICEi 2007 attracted visitors from 110 international jurisdictions, compared with 102 at the 2006 show, received the first ever visitors from the Aland Islands, Angola, Paraguay and San Marino and welcomed back its first visitors from Zambia since 1998, from Swaziland and the Turks & Caicos Islands since 1999, from Belize and Namibia since 2000 and from Chile since 2002. The total number of territories represented at ICE/ICEi since 1995 now stands at 166. Attendance levels rose across more than 80 countries with 53 new national records set.
Outside of the United Kingdom, the USA was the top ranked nation with 585 visitors, a year-on-year increase of 37 per cent. Austria was second with 523 (18.6%), followed by Germany 482 (11.1%), Netherlands 404 (-11.1%) and France 387 (31.2%). The remaining top 10 comprised Slovenia (up 50% to 384), Italy (up 84.1% to 370), Sweden (up 7.7% to 364), Spain (down 17.8% to 328) and Canada (up 24.5% to 234). A further 12 nations registered visitor numbers in excess of 100. The most notable downturn was the Russian Federation, whose visitor numbers fell by 100 year-on-year to 150 (-40%).
The growth of ICE in 2007 was not just restricted to increased attendance, with net floor space up 39.9 per cent to 14,134sqm and exhibitor numbers up 44.1 per cent to 268, including 99 companies making their very first ICE/ICEi appearance, 23 of which had migrated from the ATEI show floor.
Peter Rusbridge, CEO of show organisers Clarion ATE, commented: “I maintain that the real measure of an event like this lies in its ability to bring the buyers of casino equipment together with the providers of goods and services. From all the discussions that we have had with exhibitors at the show and subsequently, it would appear that 2007 will not only go down as another record-breaking attendance but also for the volume of business completed.”
He added: “I am particularly pleased with the rapid growth of ICEi and recognise how resilient the market has been, particularly in the face of challenging political developments in the United States, Russia and elsewhere.”
Rusbridge concluded: “ICE is now firmly established as the most international casino exhibition and also, in the view of many observers, the most striking visually. This is due in no small part to the enthusiasm and creativity of our exhibitors who push the envelope of presentation year in year out. Our duty is, in partnership with our exhibitors, to make a full and frank assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of the show and do everything in our power to put on the best business event possible in 2008.”
Next year's ICE/ICEi takes place at the Earls Court Exhibition Centre, London, UK on 22nd-24th January 2008.