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Conference Reviews

visitors in just four days, Lyon’s Fête des Lumiéres has come a long way since its humble beginnings 160 years ago as a religious tradition involving the placing candles on window ledges. Now, each December, the French city is lit up by more than 350 illuminated displays of all kinds. Sanjay Kara of the charity BAPS presented details of another multimedia spectacular realised in co-operation with ECA2, the Sat-Chit-Anand Watershow in New Delhi.

Time to Talk?

If there was one overriding criticism of this year’s SATE, it was that there wasn’t enough time to talk between sessions. This was a great shame as networking has always been one of the primary functions of the TEA. The event would also benefit from the presence of more attractions operators. “There did seem to be more operators last year in Amsterdam,” acknowledged Benoit Spriet, general manager of Compagnies des Alpes’ leisure park division. “We’ve sent four people this year and would recommend it to other operators who want some fresh ideas.” Over an hour was set aside, however, for GW Group’s George Wiktor to conduct a Wrap-up Session, and here a large number of delegates were given a chance to speak. The bearded double act of Rick

Rotshchild and Joe Rohde then brought SATE 2012 to a close. “Hopefully in future we can make our collaborations richer and more relevant to the cultures of the world,” concluded Joe.

A weekend excursion to the Thea Classic award-winning Puy du Fou and Futuroscope followed for those delegates with time to spare.

SATE will return in September 2013, at a North American located to be announced. For details of these and the TEA’s frequent ‘mixer’ get-togethers, see

A longer version of this review appears at

24 BALPPA head office staff Chrissie Kirby and Andrea Shepherd

The British Association of Leisure Parks, Piers and Attractions (BALPPA) held its autumn regional meeting in the North West of England from September 25 to 27, taking in four local attractions and a day of golf – at least that was the plan


he base for the three-day fixture was Gulliver’s World in Warrington, the largest of three Gulliver’s parks run by the Phillips family – each aimed fairly and squarely at families with young children. Delegates stayed at the recently-opened woodland-flavoured Gulliver’s Hotel, so new you could still smell the wood! Relentless rain on the first day (Monday) meant the golf was cancelled and BALPPA members retired to the “19th hole” – which is where many of them usually end up anyway. An early start on Tuesday allowed time for visits to Chester Zoo, where members could see the Dinosaurs Bite Back exhibition in addition to the real animals at this, the UK’s most popular zoo. After lunch it was off to the Trafford Centre in Manchester to see Legoland Discovery Centre and the Chill Factore ski centre. Some of the party even found time to check out the Wetherspoon’s pub, confirming our earlier comments about the 19th hole. Back at Gulliver’s a gala dinner in the park was much less formal than it sounds.

The formal business of the regional meeting took place on Wednesday morning, with separate meetings for both operators and trade associates, who remain an important part (and sponsor of) many of association’s activities. Perhaps the most pressing issue was the task to appoint a new chief executive after the appointment/departure in just 24 months of both Martin Barratt and Jeremy Reed. Park World can confirm that a replacement with a good track record has been found, who should be due to start soon after you read this. More information to follow. Rounding off the event was lunch and a tour of Gulliver’s World hosted by group managing director Julie Dalton.

Whilst most people enjoyed the event, there was also a feeling that it might now be one too-many given the other industry get-togethers at this time year, including Leisure Industry Week and Euro Attractions Show – evidenced perhaps by the fact that attendance fluctuated

somewhat over the three days.

The next official

BALPPA function will be the association’s


Gulliver’s hosts British parks association

BALPPA chairman Adria Mahon presents a token of appreciation to Gulliver’s Julie Dalton

Drayton Manor’s Colin Bryan (left) catches up with Marshall Hill of Funland, Hayling Island

Gulliver’s Hotel, host venue

Annual Dinner and AGM – always a well attended event – in London on January 21/22. The venue for the dinner has been confirmed as the British Music Experience. So dust off your dinner jacket and vocal chords and we’ll see you there! OCTOBER 2012

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