Press release: 7 June 2018. For immediate release

A new association for attractions professionals in the African travel and tourism industry has been founded at the 5th annual Attractions Africa conference, held at Gold Reef City this week.

Sabine Lehmann and Massimiliano Freddi, vice-president of strategic development, posing with excited Gold Reef City entertainers. (Image: Gauteng Tourism Authority)

Tourism attractions – be they natural wonders, heritage hotspots, zoos, museums, theme parks or other places to which visitors flock – are the backbone of the tourism industry the world over. Without attractions, there would be no tourism.

The new body, which has as a working title the Association of African Attractions, will form the official African chapter of the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA), and will enable those working in this industry to network, share best practice, create standards and collaborate to improve the quality of attractions for visitors.

Travel and tourism is growing worldwide as an industry. In one of the keynote presentations at Attractions Africa 2018, tourism expert Dr Kiéra Schoeman, of Urban-Econ Development Economists, said, “There were 25-million people travelling in 1950, one billion people travelling in 2012 and 1.24-billion in 2016. By 2030, there will be 1.8-billion travellers worldwide.”

The World Travel and Tourism Council estimates that travel into Africa, for example, will increase by 157% by 2030, she added.

It is against this background that attractions on the continent will need to gear up to be more professional and more visitor friendly than ever.

The chair and founder of the Attractions Africa conference, tourism veteran Sabine Lehmann, says the new association’s aims are to:

  • Increase the visibility of the attractions industry in South Africa and Africa
  • Lobby government and industry bodies on issues around attractions
  • Provide a networking solution for the growing industry, for example in order to share case studies with one another
  • Motivate for research to be done on the industry

The delighted chair and founder of Attractions Africa, Sabine Lehmann. (Image: Gauteng Tourism Authority)

She says the association will look to attract decision-makers and senior staff of all types of attractions.

“The formation of this association has been long overdue,” says Lehmann. “There’s a gap and we need to fill it. We hope the formation of the association will lead to better collaboration, career mapping for attractions professionals, and ultimately contribute to a better tourism industry that will in turn help make South Africa and other African countries even better destinations for international and domestic tourists.”

IAAPA’s vice-president for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, Jakob Wahl, says the time is right for the creation of an African attractions association – and Attractions Africa has provided the appropriate platform for doing so.

“We have been pleased to see Attractions Africa grow rapidly into the continent’s premier forum for attractions professionals, where they can learn and be inspired, and discover new, creative ways of presenting attractions from their industry peers and other experts.

“IAAPA fully supports the event and is proud to be a partner of this initiative to also launch an association to regroup the leading attractions in the region. Attractions Africa, as the only event that brings together attractions professionals from around the continent, is the right place to make it a reality,” Wahl states.

ENDS

Issued by Flow Communications on behalf of Attractions Africa. For more information, please contact Apaphia Lefatle on apaphia@flowsa.com or +27 (0)76 791 0913, or contact Attractions Africa’s chair and executive director, Sabine Lehmann, on sabine@curiositas.co.za or +27  (0)82 305 9019.

Notes to editors

About Attractions Africa

Attractions Africa was founded in 2014 by tourism industry veteran Sabine Lehmann, previously the long-serving managing director of the Table Mountain Aerial Cableway as well as chief operations officer of the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa.

Lehmann identified the need for African attractions professionals to work together for the common good, in so doing stimulating economic growth and job creation. Under her executive directorship, Attractions Africa has grown rapidly in stature and influence.

The 5th Attractions Africa conference was held at Gold Reef City, in Johannesburg, on 6 and 7 June 2018.

To find out more about Attractions Africa, please visit http://www.attractionsafrica.co.za.

About IAAPA

The International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) was founded 100 years ago in 1918, and is the largest international trade association for permanently situated tourism attractions worldwide.

It represents more than 5 300 members from over 100 countries, including professionals from amusement parks, theme parks, family entertainment centres, museums and science centres, water parks and resorts, zoos and aquaria, and industry manufacturers and suppliers.

IAAPA assists its members to improve their efficiency, marketing, safety and profitability, while maintaining the highest possible professional standards in the industry.

To find out more about IAAPA, please visit http://www.iaapa.org.

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