The International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) is celebrating a sell-out Leadership Conference 2018, held for the first time in Japan.
The event at the beginning of March attracted more than 170 top-level attractions industry leaders from 28 countries.
They convened in Osaka and Tokyo to learn from inspiring keynote speakers and attend educational sessions. Participants also gained insights into some of Japan’s most popular tourist attractions with tours of Universal Studios Japan – Osaka, Kaiyukan Aquarium, Kabuki-za Theatre, Fuji-Q Highland, and Tokyo DisneySea.
Feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, with attendees describing the event as ‘eye-opening’ and ‘beyond expectation’. Another said it offered an opportunity to become ‘more connected’ to Japanese attractions.
Leadership Conference 2018 was ‘exceptional’
“This Leadership Conference was exceptional,” stated Amanda Thompson OBE, Managing Director, Blackpool Pleasure Beach, UK. “We visited so many diverse attractions in three cities—it’s exciting to go to new areas. We need to reach out, because there are amusement parks everywhere. To come here and show them we value their input into the industry is very valuable to us all.”
The opening keynote was delivered by Mike Davis, Senior Vice President, International Entertainment at Universal Parks & Resorts. Among the educational opportunities were presentations by Edwin Omura, Ambassador for Asia-Pacific at KidZania, and Tomoko Chijiwa, Director of Human Resources at Legoland Japan and Merlin Entertainments Japan.
The closing keynote was given by Andrew Bolstein, Vice President and Executive Managing Director at Walt Disney Attractions Japan and Disneyland International.
“What I will bring with me from this week is that, in this global industry, the key is always cultural adaptations,” commented Andreas Andersen, President and CEO, The Liseberg Group, Sweden.
“We’ve seen some examples of this at a high level this week. It was a joy to meet our Japanese colleagues, and I’m proud to be a part of this association and this industry.”