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For five straight years the World Tea Expo has grown in size and scope-and its latest iteration, which occurred May 30 to June 1 at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas, played host to 4,632 attendees and 284 exhibiting companies. Participants came from 49 countries, including Germany, Canada, Korea, India, and South Africa.
"In light of current economic conditions, this year's Expo was highly successful - especially in terms of the quality of buyers present," says World Tea Expo president George Jage. "This is a testament to the strength and vitality of the tea industry in North America."
According to post-show statistics, over 85 percent of attendees also took part in the purchasing process right on the show floor. Buyers included those from such major and varied companies as Wegmans, Whole Foods Market, HomeGoods, McDonalds, Amazon.com, Bellagio Resort, and Wynn Las Vegas.
The event also showcased a variety of new features, including the World Tea Championship, a two-day intensive New Business Boot Camp for new and aspiring tea business owners; and an Executive and Technical Series for top executives, research scientists, product formulators, and ingredient managers.
On the show floor, participants attended Cooking With Tea demonstrations by celebrity chefs; traditional Japanese, Chinese, and Korean tea ceremonies; and a new cupping pavilion where exhibiting tea companies could conduct tastings with prospective buyers.
The show has experienced a 34 percent annual compounded average growth since its inception in 2003, according to event organizers. In 2009 the World Tea Expo will return to the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas from May 2 through May 4.