On 17 and 18 May 2011, the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) organized the first regional conference for the German-speaking and European leisure industry. The venue for the first IAAPA Spring Meeting was Europa-Park in Rust/Germany. Approximately 150 industry figures from Germany and around Europe followed IAAPA’s invitation and gathered in Germany´s biggest theme park for an exchange of experience. Also James „Chip“ Cleary, who has been IAAPA´s CEO since April 2011, was among the guests.
First IAAPA Europe Spring Meeting at Europa-Park
Especially with regards to the leisure industry, every region in Europe has specific needs, because both the leisure behavior and the requirements are different in each country. Therefore, IAAPA has organised an industry meeting, which was especially designed to comment on the needs and obstacles of the German-speaking and European leisure industry, for the first time on 17 and 18 May. Karen Staley, Executive Director of IAAPA Europe, said: „We are very happy that so many theme park representatives and related companies followed our invitiation to join the first Spring Meeting. The large attendance reinforces our opinion that, although the leisure industry is a global topic, it is getting more and more important to encourage exchange also on a regional level.”
The core issues of the meeting were the latest developments and trends within the industry. Moreover, safety, which also is a very important topic for Roland Mack, managing partner of Europa-Park and designated Chairman of IAAPA, was discussed in several conferences and workshops. „Being both a manufacturer and operator of rollercoasters, I consider the safety topic as one of my main tasks. Together with my association colleagues I will be devoting a lot of time to maintaining and improving ride safety during my time as Chairman of IAAPA“, said Roland Mack. „Especially with this issue, it is extremely important that all the leisure park operators and manufacturers closely collaborate. Therefore I believe that our associations, IAAPA on an international level and VDFU and VDH on a regional level, are very important.”
Klaus-Michael Machens, President of the German Association of Amusement Parks (VDFU), sees a great chance for the development in Germany in the initiation of this event and in Roland Mack´s future position as Chairman of IAAPA. “With Roland Mack soon being the first German Chairman of IAAPA, the connection between the German and the international theme park industry will surely be strengthened”, said Machens.
Also the supporting programme, which was organised by Europa-Park especially for the participants of the IAAPA Europe Spring Meeting, offered plenty of opportunities for exchange and networking. Chip Cleary, who used the Spring Meeting as an opportunity to visit Europe for the first time since his entry as IAAPA´s CEO, was especially thrilled by an exclusive ride on “blue fire Megacoaster – powered by GAZPROM”. “The fantastic impression I had of German theme parks before today´s visit was once again confirmed,” said Chip Cleary. “I absolutely believe in the strength of IAAPA and I am convinced that we are heading towards the right direction. This event is one of many examples for our future direction and development.”
The International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions has approximately 4,500 members from 90 countries. 850 IAAPA members are located in Europe. IAAPA’s main goal is to deal with any issues within the leisure industry. The most important aims are the improvement of efficiency, marketing, safety and economy of the association members. Moreover, the leisure industry standards are to be preserved and expanded continuously.