The 35th Annual International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA) Convention & Trade Show last month drew more than 10,700 industry professionals, according to figures released by IHRSA this week.
The 10,700 who attended the event March 21-24 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida, included approximately 6,500 convention and trade show attendees representing 81 countries. The 470,000-square-foot exhibit hall included 415 exhibitors, making it IHRSA's largest trade show to date, according to the association for commercial health clubs.
The convention is traditionally held on the West Coast. IHRSA noted that the move to the Orlando location increased attendance from the Southeast region by 380 percent. Attendance increased from the New England region by 68 percent, the New York and New Jersey region by 44 percent, the Mid-Atlantic by 35 percent, and Latin America by 19 percent. Attendance declined from the California and the Southwest. Details on the number of attendees from those regions were not given.
Of the attendees, 57 percent were first-time attendees, and 30 percent were facility owners.
Three industry leaders were recognized during IHRSA 2016 for their commitment to the industry and serving their local communities. The Outstanding Community Service Award was presented to The Claremont Club of Claremont, California; The Julie Main Scholarship was presented to Maureen (Mo) Hagan, of GoodLife Fitness and canfitpro; and the The Associate Member of the Year was presented to Visual Fitness Planner.
IHRSA hosted The BASH for Augie's Quest, an aggressive cure-driven amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) research initiative established by fitness industry icon Augie Nieto. The 2016 BASH raised more than $1.4 million with the help of the fitness industry, and Augie's Quest has raised over $46 million since 2007 in support of finding effective ALS treatments.
Nieto, who was Club Industry's 2015 Lifetime Achievement Award recipient, has fought ALS since his diagnosis in 2005. Jim Worthington, owner, president and CEO of Newtown Athletic Club in Newtown, Pennsylvania, was honored with the 2016 Augie's Quest Leadership Award. Newtown members, employees and sponsors raised $100,000 for ALS research, and Worthington matched that total for a 2016 contribution of $200,000.