A thrilling return

After a three-year hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the IAAPA Expo Asia (IEA) returned this year for a successful four-day stint in Singapore to bring new innovations and insights to help boost the industry’s recovery efforts and future growth

Event brief
The International Association of Amusement Park and Attractions (IAAPA) brought IEA, the largest premier trade show for the attractions industry in Asia, back to Singapore after a pandemic-induced hiatus.

According to Jakob Wahl, IAAPA president and CEO, the show pillars this year focused on technology, innovations and solutions, sustainability and diversity. Featuring a wide range of exhibitors, educational tours and sessions, and valuable networking opportunities, the expo provided a platform for industry professionals to showcase and discover the latest products, services and technologies and forge new business opportunities.

Key highlights included the opening reception at Universal Studios Singapore, where participants experienced South-east Asia’s first and only Universal Studios theme park during an exclusive EDUTour held in the evening.

They went behind the scenes of select attractions and entertainment offerings for an in-depth look at how Universal Studios Singapore makes safety a priority for guests and team members while delivering epic thrills.

The Leadership Breakfast on day two featured keynote speaker Tom Mehrmann, president and chief operating officer, Universal Destinations and Experiences, Pacific Rim, a premier networking event for senior attractions industry professionals.

A new segment of this year’s show was CEO Talk, where four of today’s most influential leaders in the attractions business shared insights on what it takes to have a successful career in the industry of fun and how to maintain focus on priorities while building a company culture that lasts.

Moderated by Wahl, the panellists were Darrell Metzger, an industry innovator; Wuthichai Luangamornlert, managing director of Siam Park Bangkok; Jim Pattison Jr, president of Ripley Entertainment and chairman of the 2023 IAAPA Board of Directors; and Massimiliano Freddi, founder and CEO of Wonderwood.

Deciding on the location for IEA 2023 was challenging as Asia-Pacific is a huge region, and Singapore was eventually chosen due to its global air hub status.

Logistics posed a challenge as the event grew in size and required a venue capable of accommodating a wide range of displays, attractions, and even rides from exhibitors. Singapore once again, emerged as the ideal choice, given the successful hosting of the event at Sands Convention and Expo Centre in 2017.

Wahl said working in Singapore was operationally easy, with the MBS events team knowledgeable and responsive to questions and needs. The only real challenge this year was the move-in schedule, which required building management to understand IAAPA’s procedures.

The attractions industry is experiencing a staged recovery globally, Wahl noted, with Asia-Pacific lagging behind Europe and North America. Several key markets in Asia-Pacific have not yet fully recovered to pre-Covid attendance levels, posing a challenge for industry trade shows like IEA.

Wahl continued: “Changes in guest behaviour have resulted in the emergence of new types of attractions, such as sports parks, FECs (family entertainment centres), and immersive dining experiences, which are smaller in size.

“There was a need to find services and products that fit regional markets, which IAAPA as a show organiser keeps up with and represents.”

Event IAAPA Expo Asia 2023
Organiser International Association of Amusement Park and Attractions
Venue Sands Expo and Convention Centre
Dates June 13-16, 2023
Attendees 5,330

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