Monday, June 8, 2009

More from Asian Attractions Expo: Waterpark Trends

IAAPA’s Asian Attractions Expo 2009 officially begins Wednesday at the COEX Convention & Exhibition Centre in Seoul, South Korea. As is the case with any IAAPA trade show, education plays a prominent role, and we’re highlighting a couple of this year’s speakers.

On Friday I posted an interview concerning waterpark safety. Today we’re featuring Young Ki Hong, formerly the chief operating officer of Ocean World in South Korea, who will speak Friday on waterpark trends in Korea.

In the Queue: What are some major trends in the Korean attractions industry right now? Young Ki Hong: There are three major trends right now:
1. Waterparks are the biggest trend right now; most new developments either are waterparks or include a waterpark.
2. More high-thrill attractions and world-class roller coasters are being added at major parks.
3. Live shows and parades are becoming more of a focal point at many parks. Lotteworld and Everland have particularly focused on this with spectacular fireworks, shows, and parades.

ITQ: What are Korean guests looking for specifically when they visit a waterpark? Hong: Guests are looking for a complete experience with things that will interest every member of a large or extended family. To achieve this, many companies are combining popular elements from Korea—such as a spa—with big slides, wave pools, and other elements that have been successful in other countries.

ITQ: You were with Ocean World during a huge period of growth—what about the facility excites you?
It is the first waterpark in Korea to feature such a heavy blend of international influence. It includes “extreme” rides typical of the USA, aesthetics and spa features of a traditional Korean-style waterpark, and some elements of Japanese spas, too. As part of the focus of more extreme attractions, it features eight-foot waves at the outdoor wave pool. The marketing campaign to accompany new attractions is also very exciting – it has generated a lot of national buzz, and attendance has increased dramatically.

ITQ: What key lessons will attendees learn at your session Friday at Asian Attractions Expo? Hong:
• Learn more about the different types of waterparks and particularly about what specific characteristics have been successful in Korean parks.
• Learn and understand why the Korean market is booming.
• Learn about trends in the waterpark industry throughout Asia. The rapid growth and success of waterparks in Korea have been remarkable and there are lessons from its development that could benefit other emerging waterpark markets around the world.

For more information on education at Asian Attractions Expo 2009, click here.

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