The Leisure Media Company Ltd
The Leisure Media Company Ltd
The Leisure Media Company Ltd

Show review

IAAPA Europe

IAAPA’s European event for the visitor attractions industry took place in Paris, France recently. Tom Anstey was on-hand to report back

It’s been a year of change for IAAPA and as part of this, there’s also been a significant shift for its European trade show, which for the first time was held under a new name – IAAPA Expo Europe.

Taking place in Paris, the former Euro Attractions Show brought together 15,900 participants, including 11,100 buyers and 648 exhibitors – a 13 per cent increase from last year’s event in Amsterdam.

This year’s European event featured the largest show floor in its history, with 17,500sq m (188,000sq ft) of exhibition space for the event held at Porte de Versailles in the French capital. Unlike 2018’s event, which was spread over multiple spaces, this year the entire show floor was located inside a single hall.

“It was a remarkable week,” says IAAPA president and CEO Hal McEvoy. “Attractions industry professionals from around the world came together to focus on the future. We celebrated the industry, discovered innovations, discussed emerging trends, and explored opportunities that will help companies take the guest experience to the next level.”

There were a number of product launches at the show. Among them, Simworx showcased its AVG Dark Ride and Mini Flying Theatre, while Sally revealed two new attraction concepts developed with Aardman. Zamperla staged a press conference to launch its gamified swinging pirate ship Galleon+ and its Super Air Race product, which has recently been introduced at Coney Island’s Luna Park. Clip ‘n Climb also showed off its new Clip ‘n Score technology, which was revealed to the public for the first time at IAAPA Expo Europe.

Networking with style
The opening reception was hosted at the newly revamped Jardin d’Acclimatation. Dating back 159 years, the attraction reopened last year following a €60m (US$66.7m) renovation. Operated by Compagnie des Alpes (CDA) on behalf of the Louis Vuitton Foundation, more than 1,200 attendees at the event got a chance to try out some of the amusement park’s vintage-style rides.

WhiteWater held one of the most eye-catching networking events, with a rooftop champagne reception overlooking the Eiffel Tower and River Seine.

The Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) held its special mixer event at the famous Musée Grévin – one of the world’s oldest wax museums. There, attendees got to explore the museum and later mingle with industry colleagues alongside a collection of quiet but famous faces.

During the week, IAAPA offered more than 100 hours of conferencing, with special programming including the IAAPA Institute for Attractions Managers at Disneyland Paris; a one-day waterpark forum; and an IAAPA Safety Institute session at Parc Astérix.

Puy du Fou’s Nicolas de Villiers delivered the keynote speech, detailing the success of the operator, its approach to live entertainment and its international expansion plans, most recently opening a new Puy du Fou operation in Spain.

Delivered in both French and English, Disney’s Daniel Delcourt and David Wilson spoke about the operator’s future plans in Europe, particularly focusing on its planned €2bn (US$2.1bn) expansion of Disneyland Paris, which will feature Frozen, Star Wars and Marvel-themed lands (see P56).

Sharing best practices, understanding the economic climate and learning about trends in the industry were also core ideas shared during the conference, with 131 industry experts from 21 countries speaking during the course of the week.

Moving forward
IAAPA’s Global Outlook Report 2018-2022 says that theme parks across Europe will entertain more than 179.6 million visitors in 2019, with the industry projected to thrive as new rides and expansions debut in the coming months. According to IAAPA EMEA executive director Jakob Wahl, this year’s event showcased this.

“The show floor was the most expansive IAAPA Expo Europe has ever had, which gave attendees more to be inspired by,” he says. “Our outstanding speakers – many from France – ensured the conference was valuable for all attendees.”

London 2020
The next edition of IAAPA Expo Europe will kick off on 22 September 2020, with the three-day show taking place in a post-Brexit London at the ExCeL exhibition and convention centre. Home to some of the world’s most revered and most visited attractions, more than 500 companies have already reserved a place for the event. To find out more, visit the IAAPA website.

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