Projects barely started when we went for a trip in the third week of Attractions & Theme Park Management. The group of ATPM students was almost complete with over 50 people from all academic years. On Monday all of us checked in at hotel Aurapark Sud in Barcelona, where we stayed for the rest of the trip. Students could decide themselves to fly earlier and stay longer. We all met for dinner near Las Ramblas and enjoyed tapas, which is typical for the Spanish culture. An ideal situation to get to know more fellow students and to talk about the upcoming days.
So why Barcelona? Because the yearly EAS (European Attractions Show) took place there! The perfect opportunity to spot trends, to network and to gain more insights in the industry. Seminars were, on top of that, given by the best practises. From loyalty programs to the experience economy, a lot of topics were tapped into. A selection of students focused on seminars rather than stands to gain knowledge for projects. Others were busy networking and sometimes tried to arrange internships. Companies of all sizes and providing all services showed the business what they offered in creative ways. IAAPA directors and representatives opened the show floor at eleven o’clock after an spectacular opening ceremony. Virtual Reality seemed to be a trend among attraction builders. Stands set up the devices and machines for interested parties to try. A great number of theming companies were present to showcase their work as well as a lot of attraction builders. We spent two full days on the EAS show floor.
On Wednesday evening it was time for the young professional forum. It is the ideal event to listen to young industry fanatics and to learn more about our amazing industry. It started in a conference room where the IAAPA directors talked about their vision on young professional. After that three young professionals took over and talked about subjects like networking, career boosts and trends. After that we switched locations and went to a hotel nearby. On top of the roof we had a nice drink and we could network with other young professionals. The perfect way to end our EAS experience.
Thursday meant a visit to PortAventura. A tour through Hotel Gold River and the surrounding residences was given as a start. The hotel has a four star rating and has a direct connection to the western part of PortAventura. The tour provided a new viewpoint for the industry as European parks are collectively building hotels to accomodate guests. Following that we entered the park itself. Again everyone filled in their day differently as we could plan it ourselves. The park is divided in areas themed after cultures and contains a mix of thrill rides and family attractions.
Friday most of the students left while some decided to stay in Barcelona for a bit longer. It was an informative yet fun trip where we could get to know the industry as well as each other better. As the slogan of this site perfectly described: serious fun!