As the Operations and Performance manager for the Happy Snappy Photo Company, supplier to many popular attractions in Africa, including Table Mountain Aerial Cableway and the Two Oceans Aquarium, I, Jonny Gardner, had the honour of travelling to and attending the 2018 Euro Attractions Show (EAS) Expo from 24 – 27 September 2018 in Amsterdam.

Jonny Gardner of Happy Snappy attended the Euro Attractions Show in Amsterdam in September 2018

EAS left quite the impression on me and if we can get IAAPA to increase their footprint in Africa, we would all benefit from it greatly.

With this being my first time at EAS I’d like to share some of my takeaways, thoughts and ideas with you:

EMEA is impressive:

In terms of scale and offerings, EAS easily outdid other attractions expos I’ve been to.  I was particularly impressed with the learning opportunities that run alongside the Expo, encouraging learning and business development simultaneously.

Discussions, workshops and talks are tailor-made for the attractions industry:

I attended the VR, AR, MR, XR, RR…  What’s your reality of the future ; #foodie – How attractions can incorporate food trends from all over the world to exceed guests’ expectations and increase profits and 3.51 Ways to Increase Secondary Spending which broadened my knowledge of these spheres of the industry.

My three big takeaways from EAS are:

  1. As attractions leaders in SA we work incredibly hard and we are right up there with the global offerings in many ways. However, we need to improve our collaborative approach to running attractions. We need to consider that we can learn from others who may be working in the industry but not necessarily directly responsible for running an attraction.
  2. We as attractions completely under value the importance of good food and beverage offerings at our attractions. We are missing an opportunity to WOW our guests and create better, more immersive experiences.
  3. An experience starts way before a guest has even got into their car/train/bus to come to your attraction. Consider the ENTIRE journey when looking at a guest’s experience. As a very simple example, Efteling has some of the longest queues for its coasters in Europe and to combat this they didn’t get too creative with different tickets and express passes, they simply themed the area where guests queued. This drives the experience through entertainment and builds the anticipation instead of annoying guests. Simply putting up an umbrella for guests when it’s hot is NOT enough anymore.

My EAS AHA moment was:

Seeing how incredibly passionate people in the attractions management industry are.

I got the impression that everyone I encountered had the deep-seated drive to tell a great story and make people smile at their site whether their attraction was a small chocolate shop or one of the biggest theme parks in Europe.

I found them open to sharing ideas and sharing their experiences of what works and what doesn’t. I took so much away!

I am excited to implement what I’ve learnt:

Attending the events, discussions and workshops completely shifted my thinking on what we offer our partner attractions. We can add so much to their visitor offerings.

For more information about EAS, please visit