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It was also the first I had attended and I was pleased it was in KL, the City being a central and readily accessible destination and boasting a convention centre with superb state-of-the-art facilities (with the exception of stone–age Wi-Fi). A few notes from the show:
Making a schoolboy error, I flew out with a low cost budget airline. Quickly realised this was a false economy ; the seats were cramped, the food grotty and the attendants curt and brusque (their manners, not their names). No TV for 13 hours.
A day to spare before the show. Went to the KL Lake gardens, a 92 hectare park, based around an artificial lake and home to a variety of small attractions. Saw the KL Bird Park, the KL Butterfly Park and the Orchid and Hibiscus gardens.
The Bird Park, which boasts the world’s largest free flight walk in aviary, is an impressive affair, effectively a huge bird cage. The egrets have the run of the place, the birds of prey, as ever (and of course, understandably), draw a much shorter straw. I commiserated with a bank of owls staring balefully out of their rather cramped, dark enclosures. There is free Wi-Fi in the bird park (KL convention centre, IAAPA, please take note). I resisted the temptation to Tweet.
Wednesday , 1st day of show.
The show, which was sponsored by Jack Rouse Associates, Arihant and Kraftwerk , began at 9:15 am with the pomp and ceremony of the VIP Ribbon cutting. We had a (very) detailed flyer in our exhibitor’s welcome pack, the whole 30 minute exercise having been planned with military precision. At 9:58 am, it explained, “VIPs move from stage to stand behind ribbon. Mr Cleary and Dato r. Wee hold large scissors. Others hold small scissors.”
Got to my booth, which was empty, save for a table and chair and a note on the table to confirm that both had been thoroughly inspected. Have yet to see a booth inspector. I imagine they operate at night and with a sprinkle of magic dust, like the tooth fairy. Maybe at the next show I should leave a small saucer of milk and a cookie.
Companies exhibiting included (waterparks) Polin, Whitewater West , SCS Interactive and Empex watertoys : (rides) Westech , Vekoma, Pax, S & S Worldwide and Interlink: (play equipment) Eibe, Park Games, Comfy : and (Technology) Attractions Audio Visual, LCI, Lo-Q, Emotion Media factory, Semnox, N-Wave, 3DBA and Alterface.
Straight after the show there was an Opening reception, held at Aquaria, KL’s world class aquarium, conveniently in the same building as the show. I chatted with Alan Schauder and AALARA’s Kim Hackwood, two of the many Australians in attendance.
Later in the evening it was the Young Professionals Reception, which as the show program confirms is exclusively for young professionals, “the industry’s future leaders”. The Oxford Dictionary of English defines a “Bright young thing” as "an enthusiastic, ambitious, and self-consciously fashionable young person" and during a fun evening I was struck by what a youthful industry this is, with many bright young things in attendance such as Primeplay’s Steve Howey, IAAPA’s Randy Davis, myself, Omniticket’s John Davies, Elton Games’ Tony Whittaker and Mauhrer’s Horst Rhue.
Thursday, 2nd day of show
After the show, there was an IAAPA party held at the Sunway Lagoon, one of Malaysia’s major theme parks. During the musical show – Malaysians dressed as Africans singing West Indian songs – Steve Love got up to perform an impromptu rap, a fittingly bizarre episode in a wonderful evening. Then Darrell Metzger (former IAAPA Chairman) surfed past us on the crest of a wave (real not metaphorical) in the vast man made lagoon as we supped our beer and ate satay. He is you see, a child of California’s golden beaches and undoubtedly a seasoned performer. I wondered if Charlie Bray had arrived by parachute or Chip Cleary by cannon. You gotta hand it to ‘em, IAAPA give a good party.
The show, to judge by feedback from exhibitors, was superb. The location (“not Macao again, please!” I was told by a number of people), the venue itself and the number of attendees made for satisfied exhibitors. Singapore next year promises to be even better.
“Asia is a trendsetter," said Alterface’s Benoit Cornet, and Kevin Rohwer, of S and S Worldwide thought it “a well-organized event, with the right customers/contacts walking the floor”. Nicholas Bapst of Total immersion was also pleased: “We made a lot of great new contacts at the show and have projects starting over the next 2 to 3 months directly from leads from the show”.
On the flight home, I reflected on a superb show and was already looking forward to Singapore next summer. As I tried to sleep in an uncomfortable seat on an uncomfortable plane, I thought of John Davies, one of nature’s bon viveurs, who was doubtless at that very moment 500 feet above me with Singapore Airlines, reclining on a chaise longue, drinking wine and being handfed grapes by scantily clad hostesses…
Images from the top: 1. KL skyline at night. 2. KL Bird Park. 3.Triotech's booth. 4. Helmut Doerner of Emotion Media Factory. 5.John Hudd of Interlink does some business. 6. John Davies of Omniticket getting into his hire car.