The European park and attractions industry is set to converge of the Swedish city of Gothenburg this October as Euro Attractions Show (EAS) arrives in Scandinavia for the first time. With over 400 exhibitors promised, it will be the second largest exhibition in the event’s history. Thanks to the support of Liseberg, it will also offer unprecedented amusement park access.
According to organiser IAAPA Europe, a total 410 exhibitors had confirmed their attendance at the time of writing, with booths spread over two levels of the Svenska Mässan exhibition centre, just across the road from Liseberg and in the same building as the Gothia Towers hotel where many attendees will be staying. IAAPA hopes to draw around 10,000 industry professionals to the three-day event, which kicks off on Tuesday 6 October.
As always, all EAS badge holders are entitled to sit on the conference programme that runs alongside the trade show, but there will also be a number of additional paid education opportunities those going to Gothenburg may wish to check out.
The exhibition’s host venue
Starting ahead of the main event, on Sunday 4 October, the IAAPA Institute for Attractions Managers offers a blend of classroom instruction, case study, and Liseberg field work for industry professionals with at least three years management experience and the potential to join a senior management team. It runs until after lunch on Tuesday, giving participants the rest of the week to check out the show.
From Nick Varney of Merlin Entertainments to Europa-Park’s Roland Mack, several industry leaders have spoken at the EAS Leadership Breakfast in recent years, but for 2015 IAAPA is providing an alternative keynote speaker in the shape of Bjorn Ulveaus. Delivering his address on Wednesday morning, the ABBA front man is expected to discuss the successful development of the pop group’s intellectual property and its future development and relationship to the attractions industry.
New for 2015, two Lunch and Learn sessions will be held at Liseberg focusing, on Tuesday, on how Nordic parks operates successfully in spite of the weather, a shorter season and small catchment area and, on Wednesday, a Leadership Workshop.
Highlights of the general EAS education programme a CEO Roundtable on Tuesday with a panel including Magnus Widell (Gröna Lund), Roland Kleve (Bobbejaanland), Håkon Lund (Kongeparken/Lund Gruppen) and Clive Stephens (The View from the Shard); plus the Emerging Markets Panel with contributions from Daniel Heinst (Poland), Fedor Gavrichenko (Russia), Prakash Vivekand (Dubai) and Tolga Alişoğlu (Turkey). Other sessions will tackle such topics as government relations, safety, theming, design, revenue operations, in-park spending, special events, customer satisfaction, marketing and technology.
Operators of waterparks or FECs/small parks and playgrounds have their own day of education sessions on the last day of the show, Thursday. The Waterpark Day will feature contributions form John Childs of the Sandcastle in Blackpool, Marcus Brian of Merlin Entertainments and Steve Van den Kerkhof, talking about the Plopsa group’s new waterpark concept, while the FEC Day will feature speakers from Europe and Chile. Additional fees for both these day-long programmes apply.
Multiple events and receptions will be held during the week at Liseberg
All of the above, of course, also provide some networking potential, but one of best get-togethers at EAS is always the Opening Reception. For €75/90, IAAPA members/non-members will get the use of rides and attractions including Helix (pictured above), AtmosFear, Uppswinget, Lisebergbanan, Balder, Mechanica, Kanonen and The Ghost Hotel, plus food and drink from a choice of 10 restaurants as they mix and mingle with industry colleagues. Fireworks will officially bring the night to a close, although over at the invite-only European Star Awards things will only just be getting started.
On Wednesday evening, the park will be open again for the exclusive (and free) use of EAS badge holders under the banner of Liseberg Celebrates. Over at the Liseberg Ghost Hotel and Bar, there will be a TEA Mixer from the Themed Entertainment Association. Those with an invite will also be able to enjoy the hospitality of Mack Rides over at Helix. In the Liseberg Theatre, the Young Professionals Forum will feature addresses from the park’s CEO Andreas Andersen and Ash Smart of Harbour Park in the UK, as well as the chance to network with other professionals and IAAPA board members. You need to buy a ticket for this one, if you’re lucky enough to be under 30.
If that’s not enough Liseberg for you, then free park admission is available to badge holders on the weekends before and after the show, or consider signing up for the backstage tour on Monday afternoon (5 October), focusing on areas of operation including rides, food and beverage and more. The neighbouring Universeum, the largest science centre in Sweden, will be conducting a 2.5 hour tour the same day.
A chance to be further immersed in the Scandinavian attractions industry comes via an EAS Post Tour, starting with a train ride from Gothenburg to Stockholm on Friday morning, ready to check out Grona Lünd, the ABBA Museum, Vasa Museum, Junibacken play centre (home of the Moomins) and the Swedish capital itself over the following two days. On Sunday it’s off to Copenhagen, where Tivoli (of course) and Den Blå Planet aquarium are on the itinerary. The tour officially ends on Monday morning, 12 October, but is sold put at the time of writing. To be included on the waiting list, e-mail Nico Reynders.
One way or another, you’ll probably end up spending some time at Liseberg!
Still not sorted your travel plans for EAS? Gothia Towers is fully booked for the duration of the event, but other hotels are available within walking distance or a short a taxi ride of the venue. Gothenburg enjoys limited direct flights to other European destinations compared to some larger cities, but if you’re serious about the amusement we’re sure you’ll find a way to be there! Park World also advises you to secure a ticket as soon as possible for the Opening Reception or any other events/tours you are keen to be part of as these have a habit of selling out.