~ By Leone van Erven
After a long summer holiday, school has started again. Some students are excited for the new school year and some would have liked to enjoy a few more weeks of freedom. I was one of the people who was excited for the new school year. Not exactly knowing what I have gotten myself into, I was eager to learn more about the Attraction and Theme Parks industry.
An introduction to the Attraction and Theme Parks industry; this is the title of the first project. In this project you are able to let your creativity go wild. The assignment is to create a concept to attract more visitors for one of the following locations, Mid-point Brabant, Flanders or the Ruhrgebiet. With this concept a feasibility study had to be made. The study consist of different elements such as a demand analysis, benchmark analysis and more to see if the concept is feasible. The regions were assigned at random, and so were the groups. Not only does this project have the purpose of getting to know the industry, but also getting to know your class. I was in the group with two people who came from tourism and a friend of mine who also came from leisure. This worked very well since everyone brought in different backgrounds and experiences to come up with the deliverables.
Another way to get to know the entire ATPM group is field trips! In the first week you are already able to go on the first fieldtrip, Phantasialand! Well, not only Phantasialand but this was, in my opinion the most fun. During this first field trip you will first go to Oberhausen where you will visit SeaLife and CentrO. The day after you will actually go to Phantasialand. For Phantasialand we had the assignment to write our expectations for the park and during the visit we had to see if the expectations were met and if we had any feedback, and of course the most important part, we had free time to explore the park. Just a few weeks later we went on the next field trip; the Efteling. Here the assignment was to come up with solutions to improve the visit for international visitors in different departments, such as the main entrance, attractions, merchandise and more. Again, we had some free time to also go try the rides. These two field trips represented the Ruhrgebiet (Phantasialand) and Mid-point Brabant (Efteling), but what did we do for Flanders then? For Flanders we had a guest lecture from Plopsaland de Panne, with special guest Maya the bee. During this lecture, the history, the present and future plans for Plopsaland were explained. All these field trips and guest lectures are enjoyable but can also help with the project.
So how did I experience these first few weeks? Well, the first few weeks flew by. There are a lot of different field trips just in the first month and besides that you also need to work on the first project. Furthermore, there will also be a few guest lectures, so you could say that the first month is jam-packed. I experienced the start of the ATPM track as very overwhelming. I did not exactly know what to expect from this study and right from the first week you are thrown in the ATPM industry. It was a lot to take in at times, but I am happy that you get to know the industry early on so you really get a feel for it. So now the question is; will you join the industry of serious fun?