MY VIEW: The Road to Mandalay

Why Licensing International's move to Las Vegas is winning over the critics
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Is there anything left to say about Licensing International's move to Las Vegas which hasn't already been said, both here and in other media?

Since the venue switch was officially confirmed early last year, many opinions have been expressed, taking in pretty much the entire gamut of emotions. If I was Advanstar I'd be sick of explaining all the benefits of the Mandalay Bay to a trade which, for the most part, seemed unwilling to listen.

But that was at the beginning.

Now that the expo is just over four weeks away, it seems to be a different story. For a start, there's more information available now about what the showfloor will look like. Details are coming through of new features - such as the daily runway shows for firms to display apparel and accessories, screening suites and the expansion of the interactive areas - and fears of big company stayways have been allayed (major names such as Disney, Hasbro, Mattel, Nickelodeon, Fox, Universal, Warner, Hit, Lego and Cartoon Network among others have all pledged support).

On top of this, over 85 first time exhibitors will be rocking up, a tremendous achievement considering the current economic issues. In fact, it could be argued that the move to Vegas is happening at just the right time for the show.

The extra interest it has generated may have convinced more people to make the trip; if it had remained in New York, how many people would have chosen to stay at home because they thought they'd seen it all before?

Georgiann Decenzo and her team at Advanstar - including those based in London - seem to have answered every negative question that's been thrown at them about the show with a positive answer.

There will be things we miss about NY, but the Jacob Javits Convention Center and its leaking ceiling won't be one. And if Advanstar can make the expo a hit in Las Vegas in recession hit 2009, just imagine how good it's going to be in 2010 when we're starting to come out the other side, and beyond.


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