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Interview


developments. This is not an easy task and it will take some time, but we are making progress and IAAPA is playing a major role in moving this effort forward.


• Innovation and creativity – our industry was built on innovation and creativity. We must focus on developing experiences to engage, amaze and captivate our guests. To do this, we have to figure out a way to encourage innovation and grow those creative ideas that will propel us into the future.”


Obviously, IAAPA’s biggest and most important event


of the year is the annual Attractions Expo in the US which, it has been announced, is now due to be held in Orlando, Florida, until 2019, something Rippy sees as providing a number of opportunities for the expo organisers. “We are excited about our plans to host IAAPA


Attractions Expo in Orlando through 2019,” he says. “The single location provides opportunities for us. We can focus on refining the show logistics rather than spending so much time laying out the event in new cities every few years. We can also focus on programme content and development. “Financially, hosting the show in Orlando will also


be good for IAAPA and hopefully for our members as it will allow everyone to plan more effectively and to take advantage of the efficiencies associated with staying in one place. We will maintain our commitment to surveying our members, gathering their feedback and working to refine, enhance and improve the experience for everyone involved.” And what about the EAS and IAAPA Asia shows? How


important are these to IAAPA’s future plans and what it wants to achieve as an organisation? “The conferences and trade shows in Europe and Asia


are very important components of our long-term plans. Both shows are growing and evolving as we refine the best ways to serve members around the world. We’ve recently added safety conferences at both events and will continue to further develop the education programmes for the shows. We will keep recruiting new exhibitors to ensure the expos are THE place to see new products in both regions. The regional shows also allow us to take advantage of the unique learning experiences provided by the attractions in the areas where the shows are located.” Looking to the future, then, how does Rippy see IAAPA


developing? “For many years IAAPA has been an ‘international’


association,” he states. “Today, the 4,000 member companies in the association are located in 90 different countries around the globe. Our challenge now is to transition the organisation from simply having members from multiple countries into one with a real global


perspective and operations. We started this process three years ago when we reorganised the operations in Europe. Last year, we opened the office in Latin America and this fall we opened the office in Asia. “Having regional offices staffed by people from those


areas is critical to understanding our members’ unique needs and providing the products and services they need (many times in their own language). The IAAPA Strategic Plan calls for the opening of a regional office dedicated to North America within the next two years. As we evolve into a more global association, we will also need to change the way the organisation is governed, structured and managed. We will keep working through this transition in the years ahead. “The bottom line is IAAPA will continue to develop and


evolve as our industry and members evolve. We will work to understand our members’ needs and deliver the products and services they want to drive their business(es).” And what does Rippy believe the future has in store for


the attractions industry as a whole? “I wish my crystal ball worked well enough to forecast the


future,” he notes, “but unfortunately that’s not the case. I believe people will always need quality entertainment. Technology has changed consumers’ expectations and entertainment, but no TV, movie or computer screen can replace the feeling you get from enjoying a shared, physical entertainment experience with your family and friends. Providing those experiences is what our industry is all about. We just have to keep developing new ways to wow people and help them forget about the hassles of their day-to-day world. I can’t think of any other challenge I’d rather have.”


Personally speaking


Not a lot of people know this but I am very good at … building things


The best thing my parents taught me was … service and honesty


When I was a child I wanted to be … a doctor The most interesting place I’ve ever been too is … Botswana


If I could pass any law I’d ... Raise the speed limit on rural interstate highways to 90 mph (145 kph) If I could be anyone else for 24 hours I’d be … an F18 pilot My favourite possession is … my 1964 Triumph My favourite musician/band is … the Eagles To really chill out I … go flying If I could, I would … run for the United States Senate


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