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A’DAM GOOD SHOW! EAS breaks records in Amsterdam


IAAPA’s Euro Attractions Show (EAS) smashed the 10,000 attendance barrier for the first time in its 11-year history when it took place last month in Amsterdam. Owen Ralph reports





extraordinary,” commented IAAPA’s vice-president of European operations, Karen Staley.


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As in 2009, when EAS last visited the Dutch capital, the venue was the RAI exhibition centre but this time there wasn’t enough room beneath the main hall’s arched roof to accommodate all 441 exhibitors (about 50% up on five years ago) and so both halls 7 and 8 were used instead. Add to this a packed education programme, some great networking opportunities, parties and tours, and there was plenty to see and do for the roughly 10,750 industry professionals (up 26% on last year in Paris) that attended from 23 to 25 September. Around a third of that total were Dutch, but in total over 100 countries were represented. For those coming from outside Europe, the opportunity to combine EAS with the official post-show tour to attractions in the Netherlands and Germany, or perhaps a large event like Munich Oktoberfest, provided a particularly appealing option. It was a nice gesture too for 16 of IAAPA’s Dutch member facilities to offer free admission to EAS badge holders after the show.


Behind-the-scenes tours were offered in advance of the exhibition at


Efteling, Walibi Holland and the Dolfinarium. As well more than 20 hours of seminars staged during the show, EAS also featured the IAAPA Institute for Attractions Managers, the IAAPA Safety Institute, a Young Professionals Forum, a forum for waterpark operators and a symposium for indoor playground/family entertainment centres.


A new manifesto for Europe IAAPA Europe chose this year’s EAS as a platform to officially launch its new manifesto. Safety remains the parks and attractions industry’s top priority, but fair tax rates across Europe, fair competition between public and private sector attractions and easier access for “third country” tourists would all help IAAPA’s members perform better, creating new jobs and


ith numerous projects going on in the northwest part of Europe and with a strong and dynamic industry in the Benelux-region, we had high expectations but these figures are really


A general view of the show floor in hall 7


investment. As the continent is so strong when it comes to ride manufacturing, much of that investment would stay in Europe, too. A more detailed report on the manifesto appears on page 6 of this issue. Plopsa Group CEO Steve Van den Kerkhof delivered Wednesday morning’s EAS Leadership Breakfast, explaining how the intellectual property of Studio 100 has allowed him to build a five venue chain of parks in Germany and the Benelux – with more on the way. In fact, we learned during the show of the first Plopsa park to be licensed in Poland (see page 8) and, at another press conference, of the ambitious Park21 development being planned in Haarlemmermeer near Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport. After last year’s fantastic EAS Opening Reception at Museé de Art Forain


in Paris, IAAPA had a hard act to follow with this year’s event on Tuesday night. The party at Strandzuid, a beach-themed venue in the heart of the RAI grounds, was not quite on the same level but was nevertheless an enjoyable and well-attended event, as the reception always is. As well as the European Star Awards ceremony from Kirmes & Park Revue at the Heineken Experience, there were also receptions from Club van Elf, ALES- UK and the TEA, which took over Madame Tussauds in Dam Square on Wednesday evening.


Credit where it’s due


The stratospheric attendance enjoyed by EAS this year in Amsterdam meant that Europe’s largest trade show for the theme park and attractions industry is getting close to half the size of the annual IAAPA Attractions Expo in Orlando. Credit must go to Karen Staley and the team at IAAPA Europe, whose new senior manager Pablo Moragrega was attending his first EAS in such a capacity.


“I am happy not only with numbers,” reported Vekoma's Charlotte van


Etten, “but also the sophisticated look of the show. We’ve had good feedback, and people seemed to like the Opening Reception that we co- sponsored.”


The European Star Awards party at the Heineken Experience OCTOBER 2014


“I’m very positive about the show,” agreed Theo van Zwieten of fellow Dutch ride manufacturer Mondial. “The customers can get in and out of Amsterdam very easily, the logistics and also the nightlife are very good. Having it here again was a good idea.”


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