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Show Review Euro Attractions Show Sun shines as industry converges on London

prevents many parks and attractions commanding higher fees from their guests. Over the week, more than 1,000 people sat in on the various EAS seminars, which tackled such topics as intellectual property and branding, social media, fan communities, human resources and waterparks.

Social Whirl As always, the Welcome Reception on Tuesday was well attended, bringing visitors and exhibitors together over a drink at the end of a hard day on the floor. Wednesday night’s official EAS Gala was staged this year at the Royal Courts of Justice, rather than the arguably more obvious backdrop of one of London’s many museums or attractions. Various exhibitors also hosted their own events, such as Animalive’s subterranean lunch at the Jam Tree pub or BRC Imagination Arts’ pleasant Europe and Middle East dinner at Whit’s restaurant.

Just over 7,000 visitors turned out last month for in London to see Euro Attractions Show’s (EAS) largest ever selection of exhibitors. Beneath magnificent glass roof of Olympia, there was no escaping the unseasonably warm weather outside, as Owen Ralph reports


ith the sun shining and temperatures during the week hitting the late 20s (ºC), many participants were surely left wondering why they should be confined to an exhibition centre rather than make the most of the “Indian summer” outside. But of course most were in London for a reason – to catch up with industry colleagues and friends, learn something new at one the education sessions or perhaps firm up next season’s spending plans on the show floor.

Staged by IAAPA from September 27 to 29, the event was taking place for the 10th time as a standalone trade show. The list of exhibitors was at an all time high, with 336 companies featured, 82 of which came from the UK. With 7,053 passing through the doors of Olympia over the event’s three-day period, among them 4,779 qualified buyers, visitors numbers were not record-breaking. Similar but just shy of previous EAS attendance figures in Paris (2004), Vienna (2005) and Seville (2007), the total was about 2,000 less than last year in Rome but, hey, the weather was warmer in London. “We are extremely pleased with this show and the support of the associations in the UK,” remarked Mats Wedin, chair of IAAPA’s European Advisory Committee. “Not only did we have a record number of exhibitors, we noticed that the European industry is as vibrant as ever.” Parallel to the exhibition ran a wide-ranging education programme, a new feature of which was the first EAS Leadership Breakfast, mirroring similar events at IAAPA Attractions Expo in the States. The keynote address was delivered by Merlin Entertainments chief executive Nick Varney. Outlining his company’s very clear vision, he also raised the “burning issue” of pricing, arguing that aggressive media coverage


Wherever you ended up, there was a temptation to stay out late thanks to the exhibition’s relaxed 11am start. This combined with the heat gave the proceedings an almost southern European feel. But how was business inside the exhibition? “It has been a great show for us,” smiled Sohret Pakis of Polin Waterparks & Pool Systems from Turkey. “The buyers seem very targeted and we’ve had some good leads. While we were here we attended the Waterpark Forum, which was funny because of the 60 European projects featured we had supplied about 40!” “This is actually our first time at EAS as an exhibitor,” revealed Ross Magri of locally-based design company Sarner. “It seemed like a unique opportunity because it’s in London and also because we have one of our attractions [Doctor Who Experience] open at Olympia Two.” “I thought this year’s EAS had a real buzz about it,” commented Simon Foulkes of UK mascot company Rainbow Productions. “The London location worked really well for us, not least because it enabled us to

IAAPA chairman Bob Rippy cuts the ribbon flanked by European advisory committee chair Mats Wedin and IAAPA 1st vice-chair Roland Mack (left), 2nd/3rd vice-chairmen Will Morey/Mario Mamon and IAAPA CEO Chip Cleary (right)


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