IAAPA Hosts Record-Breaking Euro Attractions Show in Amsterdam
Hosted by the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA), Euro Attractions Show (EAS) 2018 was one for the record books. It took place 25-27 September 2018, at the RAI Amsterdam Convention Centre, in the Netherlands and set new EAS records for the number of exhibiting companies (570), the size of the exhibit floor (15,000 square meters), and for the total number of participants (15,800).
“We were excited to bring Euro Attractions Show 2018 back to Amsterdam during IAAPA’s 100th anniversary. Our members love this city and so do we. The show in 2014 in Amsterdam marked the first time ever we hit 10,000+ attendees,” said IAAPA Vice President of IAAPA Europe, Middle East, and Africa, Jakob Wahl. “This year marks the first time we hit over 15,000 attendees, reflecting the strength of the location, and of course the strength of the global attractions industry.”
Mona Keijzer, Dutch State Secretary for Economy and Sustainability, addressed attendees during the event’s Opening Ceremony, which also included entertainment from some of the world-class parks and attractions in the Netherlands.
More than 2,500 people participated in the extensive EAS Conference Programme that included in-depth learning experiences, local attractions tours, discussion forums, and seminars. Topics covered included: industry trends, safety, sustainability, technology, group sales, retailtainment, and marketing.
Euro Attractions Show 2018 by the Numbers
· Preliminary estimates indicate 15,800 people attended EAS 2018, including 11,300 buyers. The number of total participants represents an increase of 24 percent compared to EAS 2017 in Berlin and a 45 percent increase compared to when EAS was last in Amsterdam in 2014.
· 5,100 people from the Benelux region participated in EAS 2018.
· 570 companies showcased new and innovative products on 15,000 square meters of space on the trade show floor.
· 72 Dutch companies exhibited on the EAS 2018 show floor.
· 1,300 people celebrated IAAPA’s 100th anniversary at the Opening Reception at Strand Zuid, at the RAI Amsterdam Convention Centre.
· 264 people attended the Leadership Breakfast, featuring keynote speaker Coen Bertens, park director and member of the board of directors of the Efteling.
· 38 leaders participated in the two-and-a-half day IAAPA Institute for Attractions Managers.
· 113 attended the in-depth IAAPA Safety Institute.
André Ofner (Richter Spielgeräte GmbH):
“Loud and shrill as ever. With its stand, the Richter company tries to provide, just as later in the amusement parks, a haven of peace and tranquillity as opposed to the overstimulating offers of manufacturers of other industries. In contrast to roller coasters and VR games, we don’t want children to be entertained but want them to engage in active, free, unstructured and child-initiated play and let their creativity run free. For us, the EAS in Amsterdam was the best in a long time in terms of quantity and quality of visitors.”
Robin Wagner (KuKuk Freiflug GmbH):
“We decided to exhibit at EAS because we notice that the attractions industry has some interest in nature experiences and a corresponding design, and this is where we can bring our competence and expertise to bear. Many discussions have reinforced our conviction that this subtle kind of seduction and appeal of nature and of our designs touches us humans and makes us more aware of and sensitive to life. In view of the sometimes loud and glaring sensations that can be seen otherwise, I wonder where all of this will end.”
Martin Malleier (Holzhof Srl.):
“Holzhof is always looking for new ideas to strengthen the presence and customer perception of the brand also outside Italy. The internationalisation of our company is very important to us as on the one hand it enables us to reach wide and more diversified target groups. On the other hand, we were often able to gain valuable knowledge and insights from the direct exchange with companies from other countries or even from other continents, which has also helped us to optimize our internal production and organization processes. A new trade fair was just the right thing to get away from the usual trade fairs in the sector at least for a while and to open up to something new and fill a previously unknown niche. The trade fair concept of stopping off at ever-changing European cities appealed to us and corresponds to our ideas of internationalisation, for we too are constantly endeavouring to make what we are and where we are heading understandable and accessible for the various markets.
In our opinion, the trade fair went very well because the talks with visitors, the many compliments and the large crowd at our stand are proof of a general interest in our products. So far, we can say that our efforts during the preparations and organization of the trade fair have paid off. Of course, only the coming months will show whether the new co-operations will lead to tangible results, but we feel optimistic about the future.
While the organization by the Dutch trade fair operator really left nothing to be desired – for instance, the provision of an application for the registration of the collected contact data made exhibitors’ work easier – we were indeed unpleasantly surprised by the considerably decreased number of visitors on the last day of the event. Anyone who has exhibited at many trade fairs knows that the last day is always a bit more relaxing, but we wouldn’t have expected that hardly any visitors would be strolling through the halls on the last day.
Despite the major restructuring and upheavals that our sector has undergone for years due to changes in personnel and technological innovations, we still believe that direct participation in the sector’s trade fairs remains crucial for the further development of any company. Depicting your entrepreneurial reality and competing with others always helps you to take stock of your own positioning in the respective market. For this reason, every year we deliberately select the events in which we want to participate and base our decision on factors such as consistency with our ongoing projects. To put it briefly: exhibiting at trade fairs is very exhausting but at the same time also rewarding and useful, which is why we will certainly not do without it at the moment.”
Mario Hampel (ESF Emsland Spiel- und Freizeitgeräte GmbH & Co. KG):
“Every year, the EAS trade show is a fixed date in our trade fair calendar and always a pleasure. In addition to our regular customers, we were happy to welcome many new customers/ visitors to our stand. We presented completed, current and forthcoming projects, which we have already visualized. We were thus able to inspire and win over a lot of new customers.”
Sara Kern (KristallTurm GmbH & Co. KG):
“The leisure and attractions industry is constantly evolving and we are also constantly developing new and innovative products. This can be observed particularly well in the Asian and American markets, but demand for leisure attractions is also high in Europe. This enables us to implement projects at various locations around the world and we already have tight schedules for next year. Aside from the two other IAAPA events, EAS is the most important trade fair for us. There we can reach our target group, establish some valuable contacts and meet our sales partners. The central and easily accessible location in Amsterdam was a meeting point that was much appreciated by many of our prospective European customers this year.
The only drawback was the overly air-conditioned exhibition hall. Even customers and potential buyers who visited our stand only briefly complained about the cold.”
Klaus Peter Gust (SIK-Holzgestaltungs GmbH):
“The European Attractions Show / EAS is always an outstanding event for amusement parks and all suppliers to the industry. The Dutch market is traditionally of great importance due to its many leisure and holiday parks. The Netherlands is the most important export market for us. Of course, we didn’t want to miss the opportunity to meet our customers together with our domestic partners from Acacia Robinia Nederland BV to talk to them about the latest topics and most innovative projects.
I believe that we have succeeded in convincing the trade fair visitors of our high quality and performance. Individual, themed playscape design requires a variety of creative ideas in Robinia wood.
We had the impression that it is a very thriving and long-term market. The industry has developed well in terms of quality. The demands placed on exercise concepts of park operators have developed positively. The demand for near-natural designs is constantly increasing - and that is important. For exercise is fun and healthy.”
Euro Attractions Show 2019
Euro Attractions Show 2019 will be held in Paris, France, at the Paris Expo Porte de Versailles, 15-19 Sept 2019. Advance exhibit sales are strong as more than 390 companies have already reserved more than 12,800 net square meters of space. Exhibitor information for the 2019 event is available on the IAAPA EAS website, www.IAAPA.org/EAS. More detailed information on EAS 2019 will be available in early 2019.
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