June Ko, Vice President of IAAPA's Asia Pacific Operations
In support of the upcoming Asian Attractions Expo (AAE) 2015, Highway Games Editor, Shonavee Simpson, engaged in a Q&A with the Vice President of IAAPA's Asia Pacific Operations, June Ko. In this correspondence, Ms Ko addresses what visitors to the show can expect, how the show impacts and fosters business growth, and why even industry professionals outside of amusement will benefit from attending AAE 2015.
You are the Vice President of Asia-Pacific Operations with IAAPA, how has this role challenged you?
IAAPA’s mission is the serve the membership by promoting safe operations, global development, professional growth, and commercial success of the amusement parks and attractions industry. It’s a role that contributes in making safe and fun amusement parks and attractions for families. With such a meaningful mission, I don’t view this role as challenging. I view this as a purposeful role with core values that align with my own beliefs.
What is your involvement with the Asian Attractions Expo 2015?
I oversee the full operations and management of Asian Attractions Expo, the largest international expo for the attractions industry in Asia Pacific. Our offices in Hong Kong and our global headquarters work closely together to bring opportunities for professionals from around the world to see what’s new, learn about trends, and mingle and share in the fastest growing region in the industry.
Who would you recommend attends AAE 2015 and why?
Amusement park, attractions, and resorts industry professionals, investors and property developers should attend Asian Attractions Expo to see the latest industry innovations, learn best practices from industry experts, and make new business connections to enhance their business.
The Expo is the premier international event in the Asia-Pacific region for the multibillion-dollar leisure and attractions industry. More than 7,000 attractions industry professionals from over 65 countries will participate in the 2015 event, which features an 8,500-net-square-meter trade show floor, a comprehensive industry education program, networking events, and visits to some of the region’s premier attractions.
Will you be speaking or hosting any seminars at the show? If so, what topics will you be focusing on?
My role at Asian Attractions Expo is to provide the IAAPA Institute of Attractions Managers, IAAPA Safety Institute and eight education seminars during the expo time for our members to learn and experience innovation together. The sessions cover topics, such as attractions management, safety, business, social responsibility, marketing, technology, human resources, and new developments in Asia. Experts in the attractions industry and related fields will lead the sessions.
How does AAE 2015 encourage the development of international trade relationships and entry into the Asia-Pacific market?
AAE brings together more than 7,000 buyers from 65 countries to create a truly international trading platform for the industry. Buyers and sellers from all across the world will be at AAE discussing business deals which span internationally. As the Asia Pacific region continues to grow, AAE will continue to service our members in the region as the ultimate international trade platform, and provide support for companies expanding into Asia Pacific.
From your perspective from working with Meridian Partners and as Vice President of Asia-Pacific Operations of IAAPA, how has the market in the Asia-Pacific area changed over the last 5 years and how has Meridian Partners impacted that?
Asia Pacific is a region where changes happen every day. From my experience at Meridian Partners, working with various industries within the region, growth certainly does not happen in every industry. The expected growth in the next five to 10 years of the attractions industry in Asia Pacific continues to be significant, and IAAPA intends to service its members by providing platforms for education, networking, and sharing. IAAPA Asia Pacific intends to increase the number of educational institutes and networking opportunities it provides to its members in the region.
What kind of trends are you seeing in the Asia-Pacific amusement market right now? How will AAE 2015 reflect these trends?
The most evident trend in Asia is the massive growth of the industry. By far, it is the fastest growing region in the world. With that as a backdrop, there are a few trends within the attractions worldwide: interactivity, immersion, and the partnership with pop culture and well-known brands. Operators and designers are finding new ways for guests to interact with rides or games, they are developing rides or new areas and in some cases entire parks that fully immerse a guest into a story through theming, and they are creating attractions based on or themed to pop culture and well-known brands. Examples of these trends will be on display across the Asian Attractions Expo trade show floor and discussed in education sessions.
“According to the IAAPA Global Theme and Amusement Park Outlook 2014-2018 report, the attractions industry in the Asia-Pacific region is projected to grow at a rapid rate over the next several years.” – in what areas of amusement do you see this growth happening? And what predictions do you have for the future of the Asia-Pacific amusement market?
There are approximately 4.1 billion people in the Asia-Pacific region, creating a great deal of demand for new parks and attractions and making it the fastest growing region for the amusement park and attractions industry. A wide variety of new projects and park expansions in China, India, Japan, and Southeast Asia are contributing to the explosive market growth.
The UN projects that by 2030, more than two thirds of the global middle class will reside in the region. As the middle class continues to grow throughout the entire Asia Pacific region the attractions industry will continue to grow.
How does AAE as a business platform tap into the current market trends and help prepare attendees for where the market is heading?
Whether on the trade show floor or in one of many education sessions, Asian Attractions Expo brings the future of the attractions industry to the region for four days of buying, learning, and networking. There is always energy and excitement in the air at the show. The 8,500-square-meter trade show floor will be filled with innovative products, including rides, games, theming and new services, such as ticketing solutions, master planning and design, market research, and much more and the exhibition hall is buzzing with conversation as industry professionals discuss and create the new attractions of tomorrow. As the industry continues to grow staying on top of the latest trends and key operational issues presented during Asian Attractions Expo is key to long-term success.
How does the show help new investors, buyers and distributors access the Asia-Pacific region?
Asian Attractions Expo opens up the global attractions industry to new and potential investors, buyers, and manufacturers and suppliers. More than 7,000 attractions industry professionals from 65 countries will connect as they buy and sell new products and services, learn the latest trends and share best practices, and network with like-minded colleagues. AAE brings the industry together in one place which makes doing that business efficient and creates synergies not otherwise imagined.
Are there any extra comments you would like to add?
AAE 2015 in Hong Kong is going to be a great show. Whether you are an established industry veteran, someone who’s completely new to the attractions industry, or a developer just trying to learn more about how attractions drive business, the show offers something for you. Wear your comfortable shoes, bring a big stack of business cards, and open your mind and I know you will walk away with new ideas and contacts you can use to grow your company.
Additional highlights of the upcoming Asian Attractions Expo 2015 include:
Leadership Breakfast Keynote Speaker: Jim Reid-Anderson, chairman, president, and chief executive officer of Six Flags Entertainment Corporation. Six Flags operates 18 parks—16 in the United States, one in Mexico City, Mexico and one in Montreal, Canada, and hosts approximately 26 million guests each year. Recently the company outlined an international expansion strategy to help build Six Flags-branded theme parks in the Middle East and China.
Opening Night Event at Hong Kong Disneyland: Attendees will mix, mingle, and recap the first day of the Expo while enjoying rides and a new spectacular night parade at Hong Kong Disneyland. Attractions open will include the recently finished Mystic Point area featuring the "Mystic Manor" ride and Grizzly's Gulch featuring the "Big Grizzly Mountain Runaway Mine Cars" steel roller coaster. Guests will also experience Hong Kong Disneyland's "Disney Paint the Night" parade, which debuted in October 2014.
Education Conference: Eight diverse education sessions. Topics will cover key focuses in the industry including safety and maintenance, innovation, human resources, marketing, and more led by industry veterans and experts.
IAAPA Safety Institute: During this full-day program industry experts will share best practices on topics affecting your business such as safety, standards, security, and ride operations as they share insight into the best practices in safety operations during this full-day institute program.
IAAPA Institute for Attractions Managers: The two-and-a-half day program is an in-depth study of five core subject areas for successful attractions operation: Finance, Operations and Safety, Marketing and Communications, Revenue Operations, and Human Resources and Leadership.
Thank you to Asian Attractions Expo 2015 for organising correspondence for this interview, and also thank you to June Ko for generously giving her time to answer Highway Games' questions.
About Asian Attractions Expo 2015
Since 1997, Asian Attractions Expo has been the premier international event for the multibillion-dollar leisure and attractions industry in the Asia-Pacific region. Asian Attractions Expo 2015 will take place at the Hong Kong Exhibition and Convention Centre, 16-19 June, and include an 8,500-net-square-meter trade show floor, a comprehensive industry education program, networking events, and visits to some of the region’s premier attractions. More than 7,000 attractions industry professionals from more than 65 countries will participate in the 2015 event.
The International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) is the premier trade association for the attractions industry worldwide. Founded in 1918, IAAPA is the largest international trade association for permanently located amusement facilities and attractions and is dedicated to the preservation and prosperity of the attractions industry. IAAPA represents more than 4,800 attraction, supplier, and individual members from more than 90 countries. The association's global headquarters is in Alexandria, Virginia, United States, and it maintains regional offices in Brussels, Hong Kong, Mexico City, and Orlando. www.IAAPA.org @IAAPAHQ #AAE15