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CEA Upbeat Over CES Pre-Registration Numbers

Consumer Electronics Association, organizer of 2002 International CES will adopt several of the security measures used at last month’s Comdex/Fall 2001 and are upbeat that CES will not suffer the huge fall off in attendance Comdex experienced.

As of last week, CES pre-registration had the show tracking to bring in about 110,000 attendees, said a CEA spokeswoman. Key3 Media’s official final attendance figure for Comdex/Fall 2001 stands at 100,000 to 125,000, down from the usual 200,000 that normally attends that show. However, vendors and hotel workers, who declined to be named, scoffed at Key3 Media’s claim with many saying Comdex was lucky if it drew half that figure. Key3 said it measured attendance by how many badges were picked up at the show.

At this time the CEA sees no reason for its attendance projection to fall off, but the spokeswoman said that with the world situation being what it is, anything can happen. CEA president/CEO Gary Shapiro said the fact that the show is taking place three months after the terrorist attacks should work in its favor because more people should be willing to travel.

Attendance at Comdex was eviscerated by the triple hammer blows of already weak economic conditions, the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and the crash of American Airlines flight 587 on the first day of the show. At the show, after the initial gridlock at the entrance caused by the installation of airport-style metal detectors and bag searches, people had little trouble getting into the Las Vegas Convention Center.

Cab and bus lines were almost non-existent, hotel restaurants reported that reservations were not needed most nights and room rates at the high-end hotels were about half the normal Comdex rate.

The CEA has already stated that bags will be searched and picture ID shown to obtain a CES badge, but the airport-style metal detectors used at Comdex are not going to be used at CES, a CEA spokeswoman said. Additional security personnel can be expected.

The metal detectors will not be used at CES, but the security personnel will depend upon detailed bag searches and in various measures being formulated in conjunction with the Las Vegas Police Department and FBI, the spokeswoman said.