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Park People

Karen Staley IAAPA EMEA Q Lines

Over the past year, the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) has extended the reach of the area served by its office in Brussels to take in not just Europe but also the Middle East and Africa. Ahead of next month’s regional Spring Forum in Italy, IAAPA EMEA senior vice-president Karen Staley (pictured) speaks to Park World about this, the new Institute for Attractions Leaders in the Netherlands and why it’s important that the flagship Euro Attractions Show (EAS) keeps moving around the region.

IAAPA keeps a close eye on and dialogue with the European Union (EU). Briefly highlight some of the current issues of interest to IAAPA members in Europe, including recent progress on VAT IAAPA EMEA stays in constant contact with various groups, commissioners and parliamentarians to ensure that the attractions’ voice is heard. On April 11, we will host our second EU conference on the topic of the digital community, with more than 15 commissioners attending the conference in Europa-Park. Furthermore IAAPA EMEA will host a second EU/government relations conference in Brussels in the summer to continue to expand our voice and exposure to the EU political community. Regarding VAT, we are in constant contact on this subject, pushing to keep the attractions industry in the lower tax rate bracket. Two years ago we commissioned a VAT study to facilitate the agreement for lower rates for the attractions industry.

IAAPA Europe is now IAAPA EMEA. Do you anticipate new offices or trade shows, or can you serve all the region’s members adequately from Brussels? IAAPA EMEA is currently investigating the best possible solution for serving the members in the Middle East. We will spending some time in the region talking with members and developing a long term strategy and plan to best serve the members in the Middle East and Africa regions. We hope to bring high quality IAAPA educational programming to the region as soon as possible.

“ 26 Visitors to

small family owned

attractions in Europe are also visiting

attractions in the Middle East. All

attractions can learn from each other

How can the experience of traditional family operators in Europe benefit large new players in the Middle East and vice versa? The attractions industry is a global community. Visitors to small family owned attractions are also visiting attractions in other parts of the world including the Middle East. That is to say that the attractions experience must be competitive and all facilities must focus on guest experience and service, which is prevalent in the Middle East market. All attractions can learn from each other to offer more to their guests.

How much industry activity do you see in Africa? Africa is a very strong emerging market. The continent is very large so the possibilities for growth in the attractions market is equally as large. We have witnessed many members visiting and working in Africa over the past year and expect to see some substantial growth in the region in the coming years.

EAS (Euro Attractions Show) is going from strength to strength. How much potential does it still have compared to IAAPA’s other trade shows? EAS is growing and offering more and more to its visitors each year. We see continued growth and services for EAS to the EMEA market. This growth and expansion only

helps to fortify and increase awareness for all of IAAPA’s products. Through the success of one IAAPA event we benefit from greater success in the others as well.

Do you plan to continue with the EAS “touring schedule” (a different country/city every year)?

EAS will continue to rotate and go to main tier one cities throughout Europe. It is very important that EAS visits a variety of locations and continues to improve its exposure to the European attractions market.

Why did you decide to introduce a standalone Institute for Attractions Leaders, separate to EAS? In reviewing the various IAAPA educational offerings it became clear that we had a gap between the IAAPA Attractions Managers and the IAAPA Executive Education program. The IAAPA Attractions Leader program was developed to help bridge the gap and offer members more educational services in the EMEA region.

Does the Institute for Attractions Leaders in the Netherlands provide a networking opportunity for all IAAPA EMEA members, or is it purely for emerging industry talent? This program is a great opportunity for networking and developing strong lasting collegial relations. Based at Efteling and run in cooperation with the NHTV University of Applied Sciences in Breda, it will span five days (May 29 to June 3) with attendees from all over the EMEA region. We will have industry guests/leaders from various attractions throughout the region providing students with varying networking opportunities.

For those still unsure if they can “tear themselves away” from their own park or attraction this May, please explain why the Spring Forum can be beneficial to their business The Spring Forum is now in its fifth year and has been a huge success. With more than 140 participants from around the world, it is a major networking event for the EMEA region. It offers members and industry professionals the opportunity to visit other attractions, learn new ideas and concepts for improving their guest experiences and provides them with extensive global networking opportunities in an intimate and relaxed atmosphere. This event is a good mid-point

event for attractions leaders to gather and experience other facilities prior to the high season. Our hope is that all those that attend will go back to their parks rejuvenated with new ideas and concepts for the current and future seasons! APRIL 2016

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