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‘We're the industry of fun and it's time to have fun again’: Peter van der Schans on IAAPA EMEA, industry challenges and what to expect at this year’s IAAPA Expo Europe | Planet Attractions
     

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‘We're the industry of fun and it's time to have fun again’: Peter van der Schans on IAAPA EMEA, industry challenges and what to expect at this year’s IAAPA Expo Europe

Planet Attractions travelled to Belgium recently to meet Peter van der Schans, IAAPA’s new executive director and vice president for the Europe, Middle East, and Africa region. Here’s what he had to say






In April 2022, IAAPA named Peter van der Schans its new executive director and vice president for the Europe, Middle East, and Africa region.

Entering the role with a wealth of experience, Schans has worked across the attractions industry in a number of different roles and sectors, including theme parks, zoos and theatres. Now, he is taking that knowledge and using it to serve IAAPA’s members across the EMEA region.

Planet Attractions travelled to Brussels, Belgium, to visit Schans in IAAPA’s European offices for an exclusive interview looking at his career, his plans with IAAPA and what’s in store for this year’s highly-anticipated IAAPA Expo Europe in London, England.

Check out the video above or read the interview in full below.



“It basically started when I was a kid, of course, like everybody else. I was in love with theme parks and attractions, and I remember being on a vacation with my parents near Lake Garda, and I remember picking up all the flyers of Gardaland. I was just a little boy then, so it was somewhere in there.

I actually started working in the industry at age 16 when Six Fags Holland still was open in the Netherlands. I started as a ride operator and worked my way up to supervisor. That's basically when I started my career. I always wanted to be a pilot, so a little different to where I am now, but the speed theme remains.

I really loved working at Six Flags and I really loved what I did. I did a study in leisure management, so it all combined and I became a manager at several theme parks, including Slagharen and Toverland. I did my internship at Walt Disney World in the International College Programme and I loved every minute of it.”



“The funny thing is, I did one thing outside of our industry, and that was working for a cinema company. I loved it but I remember when I was reassigned at Toverland back then, I was afraid that I wouldn't. In the end, I did but I always missed the industry.

“I think for attractions people, whenever they're in, they're in and you're never getting out. It's the ‘curse’ of our industry, but a good one.

When I was in the movie industry, I saw the way of working with competitors. It's different, really different. That's when I became aware that I always took for granted what an amazing industry this is and what IAAPA actually meant for it.

IAAPA is a big part of the culture in our industry. It’s involved in the way we work together, on safety and many other issues.

We rarely see each other as competitors and that's what makes us special. I think during that time in the movie industry when I saw things differently, that it made me realise what a huge impact IAAPA has.”



“We have a very loyal base in Europe, which we are very grateful for, of course, and we work together really well with our members. We also have a region in the Middle East, where we have also very loyal members.

It's a booming region, of course. So I think it would be good to look into that region as much as we possibly can.

In EMEA, the A stands for Africa and we should not forget that. I think we can do a better job to support our members in Africa and to work closer with them. I don't have the answer yet as to how. It's also, of course, an economical environment that needs to be created. It's not as easy to actually make it bloom.”



“I think if you look at what we did in the Middle East region, if there is money to create a market, then, of course, it will happen.

I think it's our role to share our knowledge and to share our network.

We do have connections, of course, in Africa, but I think we can do more and I think we should do more because if you look at how we separate things now then yeah, they deserve more attention.”



“We're very excited to be back in the UK because, of course, it's a huge market and it's good to be back.

If we look at Barcelona last year it was a smaller show, a good show, but a smaller show of course, due to restrictions and the pandemic still going on.

This will be the first show that we have where we collectively feel that we're over that. I think we're very optimistic and I think the industry is very optimistic for this year. So it's going to be bigger than Barcelona, for sure. If we look at the numbers right now, then it already is.

I think it's also about sharing that optimistic story - we're the industry of fun and it's time to have fun again. I think it's good to share that common feeling that, yes, we're there and going strong and sharing that common goal of entertaining the world. So I'm very excited about our conference programme.

I think Tom Van Liefferinge is doing a great job creating a very interesting conference. There are a lot of issues to address which we are struggling with in our industry, like the rest of the world, like staff shortages, obtaining raw materials and high energy prices.

If you asked someone a year and a half ago what the world would look like right now, I think no one would have told you it'd be in this shape. But it also is an opportunity to collect knowledge and share knowledge. That's one of our main jobs - to connect and to share.

If we look at the conference programme, we have very interesting speakers. If I have to pick one, let's say the Leadership Breakfast is very, very interesting this year. We have Matthew Griffin to talk about futurism and being agile and we have an industry expert - Renato Lenzi - who is an excellent speaker. They're very interesting and very smart. They know what they're talking about and the chemistry between those two is amazing. I'm very excited to see what they'll be like on stage.”



“If you look at our industry, I think staff shortage is the hardest by far. I think it was a wise man from California who said you can create and build the most beautiful place on earth, but it takes people to make the dream a reality. And that's true. I think we all see that. I think we never forgot. I think we all have that in our DNA to be people persons. But I think this shortage of labour is very tough and, of course, that's not something where we can provide the answer.

There is no one answer. Every country is different and every park has different issues. Still, I think we can learn from each other, see what's going on in park A, and share that with park B. That will be a huge issue to address at the Expo, where we actually talk about that a lot in our industry.”



“I think it's the new normal. Maybe I'm getting old, I don't know. But I cannot remember large issues like labour shortages, raw materials and the war in Ukraine.

There's a lot going on right now in the world, I think. After the pandemic, we were all happy and looking forward to the new normal in the way that, of course, there is this pandemic that happened and we've been affected big time in our industry. Very big. We were looking forward to this new era of rest but it's not there. The way the world is working right now, I don't know if it ever will be there.”



“We actually had a member who fled the country and asked us to share his story and asked if he could actually work within our industry in another country. So that's one way to support.

Of course, IAAPA is not a political body and we will always stay away from being political because that's not our job. We're a global association, so we're here for everyone, but we're not blind to what happens in the world. It has its challenges and we are working with the same sanctions as the rest of Europe, and we have to comply with that.”



“I think the one good thing to come out of this pandemic is the digitalisation of certain areas. I must say I'm from the Netherlands, where we may be a little ahead of those things. But if we look at the world, I think it's more common now to book online, to book tickets in advance. It's a huge value data bundle that's coming to your park or facility that can be used for all kinds of reasons, all kinds of issues - planning, marketing. It's a very big opportunity.

If you look at the way things work nowadays, we're a leading industry, I believe. For example, if you look at the cruise industry, cruise ships are becoming floating theme parks and waterparks. If you look at resorts, they actually build complete waterparks nowadays.

It's really interesting to see this collaboration with industries getting together. It's an opportunity for IAAPA and a very big opportunity for our industry to lead the way.”



“If you look at what they're doing right now, I think we're already very close to each other. For example, if you look at the Disney Cruise Line, which is already related to our industry, they're actually building a complete waterpark on a deserted island. I mean, who would have thought that ten years ago?

It's an interesting question. Where we can provide our knowledge and where we can maybe learn from them. I always think that we know our industry very well and I'm always excited to meet new options and see what's there. There's always something to learn.”



“You all love your kids the same, right? I would say I'm a rollercoaster nerd, so I've been on a coaster trip in the US in 2015. We went to Carowinds and I really loved Fury. It really is an amazing ride and I love speed, so rides like Top Thrill Dragster - I really love those fast roller coasters.

On the other hand, if you look at the real immersive worlds of Harry Potter, for example. That's that's amazing. I can’t really pick one, but there are a lot of good ones.”


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‘We're the industry of fun and it's time to have fun again’: Peter van der Schans on IAAPA EMEA, industry challenges and what to expect at this year’s IAAPA Expo Europe | Planet Attractions

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‘We're the industry of fun and it's time to have fun again’: Peter van der Schans on IAAPA EMEA, industry challenges and what to expect at this year’s IAAPA Expo Europe

Planet Attractions travelled to Belgium recently to meet Peter van der Schans, IAAPA’s new executive director and vice president for the Europe, Middle East, and Africa region. Here’s what he had to say






In April 2022, IAAPA named Peter van der Schans its new executive director and vice president for the Europe, Middle East, and Africa region.

Entering the role with a wealth of experience, Schans has worked across the attractions industry in a number of different roles and sectors, including theme parks, zoos and theatres. Now, he is taking that knowledge and using it to serve IAAPA’s members across the EMEA region.

Planet Attractions travelled to Brussels, Belgium, to visit Schans in IAAPA’s European offices for an exclusive interview looking at his career, his plans with IAAPA and what’s in store for this year’s highly-anticipated IAAPA Expo Europe in London, England.

Check out the video above or read the interview in full below.



“It basically started when I was a kid, of course, like everybody else. I was in love with theme parks and attractions, and I remember being on a vacation with my parents near Lake Garda, and I remember picking up all the flyers of Gardaland. I was just a little boy then, so it was somewhere in there.

I actually started working in the industry at age 16 when Six Fags Holland still was open in the Netherlands. I started as a ride operator and worked my way up to supervisor. That's basically when I started my career. I always wanted to be a pilot, so a little different to where I am now, but the speed theme remains.

I really loved working at Six Flags and I really loved what I did. I did a study in leisure management, so it all combined and I became a manager at several theme parks, including Slagharen and Toverland. I did my internship at Walt Disney World in the International College Programme and I loved every minute of it.”



“The funny thing is, I did one thing outside of our industry, and that was working for a cinema company. I loved it but I remember when I was reassigned at Toverland back then, I was afraid that I wouldn't. In the end, I did but I always missed the industry.

“I think for attractions people, whenever they're in, they're in and you're never getting out. It's the ‘curse’ of our industry, but a good one.

When I was in the movie industry, I saw the way of working with competitors. It's different, really different. That's when I became aware that I always took for granted what an amazing industry this is and what IAAPA actually meant for it.

IAAPA is a big part of the culture in our industry. It’s involved in the way we work together, on safety and many other issues.

We rarely see each other as competitors and that's what makes us special. I think during that time in the movie industry when I saw things differently, that it made me realise what a huge impact IAAPA has.”



“We have a very loyal base in Europe, which we are very grateful for, of course, and we work together really well with our members. We also have a region in the Middle East, where we have also very loyal members.

It's a booming region, of course. So I think it would be good to look into that region as much as we possibly can.

In EMEA, the A stands for Africa and we should not forget that. I think we can do a better job to support our members in Africa and to work closer with them. I don't have the answer yet as to how. It's also, of course, an economical environment that needs to be created. It's not as easy to actually make it bloom.”



“I think if you look at what we did in the Middle East region, if there is money to create a market, then, of course, it will happen.

I think it's our role to share our knowledge and to share our network.

We do have connections, of course, in Africa, but I think we can do more and I think we should do more because if you look at how we separate things now then yeah, they deserve more attention.”



“We're very excited to be back in the UK because, of course, it's a huge market and it's good to be back.

If we look at Barcelona last year it was a smaller show, a good show, but a smaller show of course, due to restrictions and the pandemic still going on.

This will be the first show that we have where we collectively feel that we're over that. I think we're very optimistic and I think the industry is very optimistic for this year. So it's going to be bigger than Barcelona, for sure. If we look at the numbers right now, then it already is.

I think it's also about sharing that optimistic story - we're the industry of fun and it's time to have fun again. I think it's good to share that common feeling that, yes, we're there and going strong and sharing that common goal of entertaining the world. So I'm very excited about our conference programme.

I think Tom Van Liefferinge is doing a great job creating a very interesting conference. There are a lot of issues to address which we are struggling with in our industry, like the rest of the world, like staff shortages, obtaining raw materials and high energy prices.

If you asked someone a year and a half ago what the world would look like right now, I think no one would have told you it'd be in this shape. But it also is an opportunity to collect knowledge and share knowledge. That's one of our main jobs - to connect and to share.

If we look at the conference programme, we have very interesting speakers. If I have to pick one, let's say the Leadership Breakfast is very, very interesting this year. We have Matthew Griffin to talk about futurism and being agile and we have an industry expert - Renato Lenzi - who is an excellent speaker. They're very interesting and very smart. They know what they're talking about and the chemistry between those two is amazing. I'm very excited to see what they'll be like on stage.”



“If you look at our industry, I think staff shortage is the hardest by far. I think it was a wise man from California who said you can create and build the most beautiful place on earth, but it takes people to make the dream a reality. And that's true. I think we all see that. I think we never forgot. I think we all have that in our DNA to be people persons. But I think this shortage of labour is very tough and, of course, that's not something where we can provide the answer.

There is no one answer. Every country is different and every park has different issues. Still, I think we can learn from each other, see what's going on in park A, and share that with park B. That will be a huge issue to address at the Expo, where we actually talk about that a lot in our industry.”



“I think it's the new normal. Maybe I'm getting old, I don't know. But I cannot remember large issues like labour shortages, raw materials and the war in Ukraine.

There's a lot going on right now in the world, I think. After the pandemic, we were all happy and looking forward to the new normal in the way that, of course, there is this pandemic that happened and we've been affected big time in our industry. Very big. We were looking forward to this new era of rest but it's not there. The way the world is working right now, I don't know if it ever will be there.”



“We actually had a member who fled the country and asked us to share his story and asked if he could actually work within our industry in another country. So that's one way to support.

Of course, IAAPA is not a political body and we will always stay away from being political because that's not our job. We're a global association, so we're here for everyone, but we're not blind to what happens in the world. It has its challenges and we are working with the same sanctions as the rest of Europe, and we have to comply with that.”



“I think the one good thing to come out of this pandemic is the digitalisation of certain areas. I must say I'm from the Netherlands, where we may be a little ahead of those things. But if we look at the world, I think it's more common now to book online, to book tickets in advance. It's a huge value data bundle that's coming to your park or facility that can be used for all kinds of reasons, all kinds of issues - planning, marketing. It's a very big opportunity.

If you look at the way things work nowadays, we're a leading industry, I believe. For example, if you look at the cruise industry, cruise ships are becoming floating theme parks and waterparks. If you look at resorts, they actually build complete waterparks nowadays.

It's really interesting to see this collaboration with industries getting together. It's an opportunity for IAAPA and a very big opportunity for our industry to lead the way.”



“If you look at what they're doing right now, I think we're already very close to each other. For example, if you look at the Disney Cruise Line, which is already related to our industry, they're actually building a complete waterpark on a deserted island. I mean, who would have thought that ten years ago?

It's an interesting question. Where we can provide our knowledge and where we can maybe learn from them. I always think that we know our industry very well and I'm always excited to meet new options and see what's there. There's always something to learn.”



“You all love your kids the same, right? I would say I'm a rollercoaster nerd, so I've been on a coaster trip in the US in 2015. We went to Carowinds and I really loved Fury. It really is an amazing ride and I love speed, so rides like Top Thrill Dragster - I really love those fast roller coasters.

On the other hand, if you look at the real immersive worlds of Harry Potter, for example. That's that's amazing. I can’t really pick one, but there are a lot of good ones.”


 



© Kazoo 5 Limited 2022