Naming conventions: Las Vegas plays host to more acronyms than you ever knew!

You’ve probably heard of CES, MAGIC, NAB, SEMA and G2E. For convention newbies, that’s the International Consumer Electronics Show, the Men’s Apparel Guild of Southern California, the National Association of Broadcasters, the Specialty Equipment Market Association and the Global Gaming Expo. These are five of the biggest and most lucrative trade shows to hit Las Vegas each year.

The DEMA Show, an international event for the diving and action water sports industries, was held at the Las Vegas Convention Center in 2010. (Photo by Adam Hanlon)

But with a schedule that’s approaching 20,000 conventions annually, there are lots of lesser-known acronyms in the mix. According to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, 19,029 meetings and conventions were held here last year (up 5.7 percent from 2010). In addition, the number of people who came to Las Vegas as delegates rose to 4.87 million in 2011.

So what about these other thousands of conventions that fuel the city’s economy? How many of them have you heard of?

Take DEMA, for instance – which sounds like SEMA, but stands for the “Diving Equipment and Marketing Association.” The annual DEMA Show, which alternates host cities, comes to Las Vegas biennially. It’s scheduled to take place this year Nov. 14 – 17 at the Sands Expo and Convention Center. Nearly 16,000 dive industry professionals are expected to attend.

“Las Vegas has been the host city for DEMA Show for 10-plus years now,” said Stephanie Worth, a senior account executive at Adams Unlimited Public Relations & Marketing Communications, which publicizes the event. “DEMA Show has always received positive feedback and a strong attendance number when it’s held in Las Vegas.”

Along with the “nightly socializing and networking opportunities that Las Vegas offers,” Worth said that the city has plenty of space for DEMA Show’s hundreds of exhibits, which include dive equipment from leading manufacturers, water sports apparel and information on travel destinations and other services. Organizers also put on seminars and throw an awards party.

Conventional Wisdom Quiz

Here’s a list of 12 acronyms for conventions coming to Las Vegas later this year. Can you guess what they stand for? The answers are posted at the bottom of this story.

    1. NATSO
    2. IBDEA
    3. ISSN
    4. ABC3
    5. NAMA
    6. IECS
    7. AUVSI
    8. PDA
    9. DHI
    10. TLPA
    11. IGRA
    12. ASHP


“Every year DEMA Show receives a successful turnout from the dive industry attending their show,” added Worth. “Trade Show News Network (TSNN), the world’s leading online resource for the trade show, exhibition and event industry, announced its list of the top 250 trade shows of 2010 and DEMA Show was recognized with this prestigious rank. This is the third time in recent years that DEMA Show has been recognized as a top trade show of the year.”

One of the most delectable expos recurrently cooked up in Las Vegas is IBIE. That stands for the “International Baking Industry Exposition,” which is sponsored by the Baking Industry Suppliers Association (BEMA), along with the American Bakers Association and the Retail Bakers of America.

The first BEMA Bakery Expo took place in Atlantic City in 1920. In 1949, the American Bakers Association signed on to co-sponsor the event there. Then, in 1981, the show was moved to Las Vegas and renamed IBIE. The triennial event, which brings together more than 20,000 delegates from the wholesale baking industry, is next planned for Oct. 6 – 9, 2013 at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

“Las Vegas is America’s No. 1 trade show destination. Our agency focuses exclusively on marketing trade shows, and we’re always happy when the show we market is in Vegas because it just makes our job that much easier,” said Jacquelyn Clair, an account strategist at Marketing Design Group, the company responsible for promoting IBIE. “On average, attendance increases 14 percent when trade shows rotate into Las Vegas. Research also shows that attendees spend more time on the trade show floor in Las Vegas.”

Pies – along with cakes, cookies, bread and more – were plentiful during IBIE 2010 held at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

At the end of the 2007 IBIE event, Clair said that a survey was given to attendees and prospective attendees asking where they’d like to see future IBIEs held. The top answer? “Las Vegas.”

The baking industry is a lot like a big family. Professionals look forward to coming together under the same roof in such a vibrant city to network, see what’s new and find ways to improve their businesses. But at IBIE it’s not all just focused on emerging products and exhibitions – there are some unique culinary competitions as well.

“The last show was pretty incredible with three competitions on the show floor: the Louis Lesaffre Cup, the Creative Decorating Competition and the World Chocolate Masters,” recalled Clair. “These were the best in the world competing for spots in their corresponding global competitions. I’ve never seen anything so amazing – sculptures made entirely of bread or chocolate.”

Bread bakers squared off in IBIE 2010's Louis Lesaffre Cup.

Next year’s show is guaranteed to be equally amazing. Along with more competitions, Clair said that they are continuing to develop the B.E.S.T. (Becoming Environmentally Sustainable Together) in Baking program, which showcases how the industry can achieve goals of a greener future. IBIE 2013 will also feature an expanded education program.

In terms of bringing professionals together, there is no better marriage for Las Vegas than its ongoing relationship with WPPI, officially known as “Wedding and Portrait Photographers International.” As the name suggests, this organization is designed to serve the educational and business needs of wedding and portrait photographers. Their annual conference attracts more than 16,000 attendees, with the next one occurring later this week, Feb. 16 – 23, at the MGM Grand.

One of the highlights this year will be live video coverage streamed over the internet, courtesy of the “Digital Photography Café Internet Radio Show.” Co-hosts Joseph Cristina and Trevor Current will check out the latest products and services while chatting with various photographers, exhibitors and industry leaders on the trade show floor.

WPPI's 31st annual Convention and Trade Show held last year at the MGM Grand drew a record-breaking 16,000 attendees.

“We are so excited to be covering WPPI 2012 and look forward to sharing this experience with our online viewers,” said Current. “This is a great opportunity for those who are unable to attend to be part of this industry-leading photography show.”

DEMA, IBIE, WPPI – these conventions are the tip of the acronym iceberg. With Las Vegas being the top trade show destination in North America, you just never know what out-of-the-ordinary events and meetings are in town. From GTE and ASD to AVN and IAEE (i.e., the Global Tire Expo, the Retail Merchandise Trade Show, the Adult Entertainment Expo and the International Association of Exhibitions and Events), in all likelihood, some fascinating group will be gathering during your visit!

NOTE: If you’re a delegate who’s planning to come to a convention in Las Vegas later this year, be sure to read our friendly advice at

Answers to the “Conventional Wisdom Quiz:” 1. National Association of Truck Stop Operators (Official Show, Feb. 19-23); 2. International Beverage Dispensing Equipment Association (Annual Convention, March 7-14); 3. International Society for the Study of Narrative (Narrative Conference, March 16-18); 4. Ambulance Billing, Coding and Compliance Clinic (Conference, March 25-29); 5. National Automatic Merchandising Association (OneShow, April 25-27); 6. International Esthetics, Cosmetics and Spa (The Spa Show, June 9-11); 7. Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (Official Show, Aug. 7-11); 8. Parental Drug Association (Pre-Filled Syringes & Injection Devices Conference, Oct. 13-18); 9. Door and Hardware Institute (Annual Meeting, Oct. 17-19); 10. Taxicab, Limousine & Paratransit Association (Annual Convention and Trade Show, Oct. 26-31); 11. International Gay Rodeo Association (Annual Convention, Nov. 1-5); 12. American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (Midyear Clinical Meeting, Dec. 2-6).


I’m a Las Vegas native. By profession, I write at Mostly about the city’s hotels, but on other topics – gaming and transportation – too. I really love staying at hotels. And the ones here are among the biggest and best in the world. Some key things I’ve learned: Resort fees are inescapable (frustrating but true), a friendly attitude at the front desk may score you a great view and over-the-top room amenities – bath butlers, Japanese tea service, menus with “intimate” items – do exist. What else should you know about me? Well, I’m comfortable at a blackjack table. And I like eating late-night pancakes in hotel coffee shops. A lot. Follow Renee on Google+.