Attractions industry news

29 Dec 2019

Attractions Review 2019: November

It has been another momentous year in the attractions industry, and Attractions Management has been there reporting the big news, good and bad, all the way. After yesterday's look at the events of October 2019, today we move on to November 2019, considering some of the biggest stories that made the headlines that month.

November saw the attractions industry gather en masse in Orlando, where the annual IAAPA Expo took place. There were record visitor numbers, an illuminating Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge panel, and a new chair of the IAAPA organisation ‒ Amanda Thompson becoming just the third woman to hold the position.

IAAPA Expo draws record crowd

This year's IAAPA Expo was held in Orlando from 18-22 November, and drew a record attendance of 42,600 industry professionals.

The visitor attraction sector's premier event saw 1,146 exhibitors display their innovations and services across 125 product categories, from ride engineering and virtual reality to special effects and food and beverage.

Thirty eight companies made new product announcements directly from the trade show floor during the Expo, including Maurer, Legoland New York Resort, Holovis, ETF Ride Systems and Premier Rides.

Alongside the exhibition, an educational schedule of more than 100 seminars and sessions included a number of keynote presentations – including those given by Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line and George Walker, creative director at Universal Creative Studio.

Legends Panel delivers Galaxy's Edge insights

An always popular part of the IAAPA Expo is the Legends Panel, and this year Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge was in the spotlight.

Hosted by BRC's Bob Rogers, the panel featured a host of Disney legends and creatives, each sharing their knowledge and stories learned from bringing the immersive new 14-acre attraction to Disney's parks.

Those on the panel included Scott Trowbridge, portfolio creative executive for Disney Imagineering and the company's creative lead for its Star Wars projects; Anisha Deshmane, who created a number of customised experiences to Galaxy's Edge; Margaret Kerrison, managing story editor for Disney Imagineering; and Chris Beatty, one of the creative directors in charge of development at Galaxy's Edge.

"We wanted to create a new expansive Star Wars universe that had lots of stories to tell with all-new locations and all-new characters through all these different mediums," said Trowbridge. "This is the evolution of the themed experience."

Amanda Thompson takes IAAPA reins

New IAAPA chair Amanda Thompson began her tenure on 19 November, and in an exclusive interview with Attractions Management, she revealed that the development of a global safety standard for the attractions industry was high on her wish list.

Thompson, who has been the managing director of Blackpool Pleasure Beach in the UK since 2004, becomes only the third woman to chair the attractions industry association, and the first European woman.

Asked where she felt the industry can improve, Thompson said: "A weakness is definitely not having a global safety standard. This is something which needs to be addressed, and that would be something I would love to see happen during my tenure."

Check back with Attractions Management tomorrow for a look back at the highlights from December

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