IAAPA, the global association for the attractions industry, opened the doors to IAAPA Expo Europe in Barcelona this week, where 439 companies from 43 different countries will be exhibiting, showcasing new innovations, products and services for the industry.
“IAAPA’s goal is to provide value and support to the global attractions industry to help you engage, connect and conduct business. Today really is an important step and I am very excited to kickoff IAAPA Expo Europe,” said Hal McEvoy, President and CEO, IAAPA, at the opening ceremony.
Health and safety at the forefront
The largest event in Europe for the attractions industry, organised by IAAPA, is taking place with extra health and safety protocols, in response to the pandemic. It is an opportunity for professionals from across the industry to come together and find out what is new in the sector, with educational sessions, networking events and a large trade show floor.
During the opening event, McEvoy spoke about the importance of meeting in person once more and seeing the work that the industry is doing to push visitor attractions forward. Meanwhile, Jakob Wahl, Executive Director and Vice-President of IAAPA EMEA, highlighted what IAAPA has been doing to keep the sector connected, in an industry that annually welcomes more than 520 million guests worldwide, and said:
“The industry professionals who are with us this week are committed to moving forward and are learning new ways to add technology to their businesses in response to the global pandemic. Technology has played a significant role as parks have added new protocols and security measures, as well as helped enhance the visitor experience and support sustainable efforts.
“Thanks to partnership and commitment to the industry, the parks that have opened in 2021 have reported having recovered much of the attendance figures, with some matching and exceeding 2019 levels. This speaks to the public’s trust that the safety protocols the industry implemented in response to the global pandemic were the right ones, and their desire to return to these recreational spaces to have fun with the family and the friends.”
Restart and reconnect
This year, IAAPA Expo Europe will help attendees to restart and reconnect, thanks to the commercial exhibition, special events and insightful educational programmes. This is the first time that the event has been held in Barcelona since 2016, and the fifteenth year that the event has taken place in the region.
“Barcelona is one of the leading tourist cities in the world, and great parks and attractions are in and around the area,” said McEvoy. “Tibidabo, one of the hallmarks of the city, PortAventura World, the largest amusement park in Spain and one of Europe’s top destinations; as well as other parks and attractions in the country, including Warner Park in Madrid, Puy Du Fou Espana and Siam Park in the Canary Islands.”
Attending the show are industry leaders and decision-makers from all industry segments, including manufacturers and suppliers, as well as owners and operators of theme and amusement parks, water parks, family entertainment centres, zoos, aquariums, camping facilities, shopping centres, cruise lines, retail development companies, science centres, museums, resorts, retail development companies, science centres, resorts and more.
On the trade show floor, attendees can discover new rides, technology, and experiences. Exhibitors include well-known names such as Zamperla, Sally Dark Rides, Triotech, WhiteWater and more.
Amanda Thompson OBE, Chairman of the IAAPA Board of Directors said, “I am delighted that today is the first day in almost 20 months that our global industry has been able to come together in person to meet, learn, exchange ideas, buy and benefit from the wealth of resources IAAPA offers its members. Let IAAPA Expo Europe begin!”
This week, IAAPA also announced Wuthichai Luangamornlert, ICEA, as its new second vice-chair, as well as naming four other new board members for 2022.