By Craig Allenby –

I had the opportunity of recently attending 2016 IAAPA (International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions) conference in Orlando, USA. For those of you not aware, our Attractions Africa conference is loosely based on this conference and has also been supported by the regional office responsible for Europe, the Middle-East and Africa.

Attending this conference was indeed an eye-opener. The pure scale of it is rather overwhelming. The conference has two components to it. The trade show features exhibits from more than a 1 000 companies displaying all related products from big capital ride investments to redemption toys. The educational programme allows industry professional to share information on the latest trends, case-studies and best practices while learning from the industries rising stars and legends. It was amazing sitting in on a session where Disney cast members recounted lessons learnt from their new park in China.

This was not my first visit to IAAPA but one of the biggest take-home moments from this conference relates to Attractions Africa. Attractions Africa is succeeding in making learning and networking relevant for attendees from a local perspective. Its content is comparable and on par with those of international associations. For a fraction of the cost of traveling overseas participants are able to gain valuable insights into a constantly changing industry that needs to innovate as it responds to changing needs of its patrons.

I look forward to meeting African professionals at the next Attractions Africa conference to be hosted in the City of Tshwane from 7 to 8 June 2017.