Learning and fun in Rome10 June 2022
/ The recent IAAPA EMEA Spring Summit 2022: 3 full days dedicated to relaxation, socializing, but above all else to a lot of professional development and learning opportunities /
The sun already tasted of summer as it shone over Rome on May 11th to 13th, making the city as warm in temperature as it was welcoming when it hosted the IAAPA EMEA Spring Summit. The event was a nice chance for professional development and networking, an in-person summit especially designed for Italian and European parks and attractions operators.
The summit brought together over 90 attendees from 23 countries, including professionals from several Italian, German and British companies that operate in this industry as suppliers of attractions and services. The timing was especially auspicious, because just now the world (and the business community, including the leisure industry) is finally leaving the pandemic behind. Life and business operations are getting back to normal, or rather to a new post-Covid normal marked by new challenges and questions; and to answer those challenges and questions, talking with colleagues and exchanging information and experience is a valuable resource.
“As we get back to business as usual, it is critical for our industry partners and IAAPA EMEA members to experience in-person learning and networking again,” stresses Peter van der Schans, Executive Director and Vice President for the EMEA region. “One major goal for our association is to connect members to one another to support smart growth and development goals that ultimately benefit the entire global attractions industry.”
IAAPA EMEA Spring Summit’s educational presentations touched on the attractions industry’s resiliency despite the struggles of recent years and how professionals have pulled through difficult times with innovation and passion. Among the event’s speakers, Massimiliano Freddi, ICAE, founder and CEO of Wonderwood, gave insights on the Italian market, its overall successes, and the challenges it has been facing. Filip de Witte, CEO of Familypark, enlightened audiences on how attractions survived amid COVID-19 by sharing the story of his Austrian park, owned by Compagnie des Alpes, which is headquartered in Paris.
Another theme the summit touched upon was ‘retailtainment,’ that is, using entertainment elements in a retail environment. The speaker on this subject was Stephanie Dahl from Karls Tourismus GmbH, who talked about her retail experience with Karls Erlebnis-Dorf, a German chain of theme parks that sprouted, if we can say so, from her family’s farming business as strawberry growers since the 1920s.
Over the 3 days they spent in Rome, attendees were also invited to visit 3 theme parks in an around the city, with an exclusive chance to see the backstage, too. The 3 parks were: Cinecittà World, a famous cinema-and-TV-themed park not far from the city, hosted in what once were the movie studios owned by Dino de Laurentis; Zoomarine, a sea-life park in Torvaianica; and MagicLand in Valmontone, which is the biggest theme park in central and southern Italy.
Stefano Cigarini, CEO of Cinecittà World, shared his thoughts on the innovative drive that recreational facilities always need to keep up, to present their guests with ‘special’ experiences that surprise and engage them. In this perspective, Cigarini also talked about the project to grow Cinecittà World from a single park to a multi-park resort, which recently entailed the opening of Roma World, a new theme park set next door to Cinecittà World where visitors can live like ancient Romans for a day, with gladiator shows, chariot races, birds of prey, good food, tent accommodation for the night, and walks in the woods.
During the summit attendees’ visit to Zoomarine, Renato Lenzi, CEO of the park and corporate operation officer for The Dolphin Company, talked about social responsibility, sustainability and animal welfare, 3 themes that are foundational parts of Zoomarine’s vision. He also underlined how Rome and the neighbouring region of Lazio are enjoying a growing importance in the landscape of recreational facilities in Italy and in Europe.
The visit to MagicLand in Valmontone (formerly Rainbow Magicland) was a chance to see first-hand how a rebranding operation and massive investments made with courage and intelligence can bring new life and new success to a park that was overtired. “2022 represents a key year for our park,” said Guido Zucchi, CEO of MagicLand & Acquaworld. “Huge investments resulted in great new attractions like Wild Rodeo, a Giant Frisbee that is unique in Italy and the ‘Far West’ themed area of more than 5.000 sqm for all-around fun. “We work with a view to continuous renewal, to confirm ourselves as an unmissable and unbeatable destination for family entertainment.”
Continue reading Games & Parks Industry May 2022, page 16
Photos Courtesy: TOGO Media
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