JA Job Shadow at IAAPA Asian Attractions Expo
On 16th June 2017, I dragged myself out of my bed at 7.15am on a holiday morning and headed to Bayfront where Marina Bay Sands Expo is, in my formal wear. My course mates and I gathered at basement 2 as we waited excitedly for the job shadow to start. Before handling us the lanyard that was needed to enter the exhibition halls, I remembered I peeked inside numerous times from the outside. As the saying goes, "Curiosity kills the cat.", I was definitely the "cat" here.
Soon after, the person in charge divided my course mates and I into groups of 3. Everyone in the groups were given a lanyard each with our names printed on it and assigned a show ambassador per group. My group's show ambassador was Mathis and he came from France. We could tell that he is very knowledgeable as he answered our queries with clear and detailed explanations. He was very also patience throughout the whole tour as he brought us around the Asian Attractions Expo, which was held on 2 levels. He stopped by several big and well-known companies in the industry and even had us talk to the staffs there so that we maximise our learning during the tour.
Say ‘Hi’ to the latest robot server!
Asian Attractions Expo is an event where companies promote or sell their products or designs for entertainment. Some can be found in the market or theme parks already while some are just prototypes that need investments to develop further. Some of the products sold were arcade machines, decorations, water park tubes, virtual reality, augmented reality and rollercoasters.
This event is held annually in different country and this year, we are lucky to have it held in Singapore. However, it will be held in Hong Kong next year. To be frank, I personally would not have been aware of this program and event if I was not informed by Ms Steffi. My show ambassador also agreed that it is not a highly publicised event but more of a program prepared for IAAPA members. Even so, the members had to pay for the admission. Therefore, my course mates and I were extremely lucky and thankful to have the opportunity to attend this event.
Personally, I feel that this event was more than an eye-opener. It was interactive and informative. Unlike what I had expected (walking around and doing surveys at the end), I had numerous opportunities to try out the new technology and physically view or touch the equipment. In addition, there was many amazing photo booths to capture the experience there. Each booth was unique and interesting in its own ways and I learnt something new at every one of them. However, I do wish that we were given more time to tour around and explore the 2 levels.
After the tour, my course mates and I were famished. I personally expected it to be a buffet, but was disappointed to receive bento. However, as I opened the covers, I was amazed and excited at how the food was so colourful and it smelt great. Hence, our empty tummies were satisfied with a super sumptuous lunch that afternoon.
While we were having lunch, the 4 guest speakers shared their experiences of working in the attractions industry and we had a Q&A session at the end. From the sharing, I could feel the burning passion of the 4 speakers to make people happy, which is a vital trait to excel in this industry. In this industry, I must not be afraid to suffer, to go under the sun, or even do underrated roles such as being a sweeper. All 4 of them started from the bottom of their work and work their way up the rank to get to the positions where they are at right now. "Working hard is important because it makes you grateful of the things around you and consequently, you will do things more efficiently.”, said one of the speakers.
In the next 5 years, they felt that technology will enhance visitors' experience in attractions - more fun attractions, fast ticketing and other essential services. Augmented reality and virtual reality will also become more prominent as these technologies cater to the current market which has short attention span. As market needs are always changing, the attractions industry is ever-changing. “This industry is a serious business.”, hence, no one should ever belittle the job in the attraction industry, even if it is a job of a sweeper.
All in all, I felt that IAAPA Asian Attractions Expo provided a chance for me to learn more about the attractions industry in a very interactive and enriching way. In particular, I was glad that I had a chance to experience how future amusement parks may be. I also came to realise how big the business can develop. It is not a one day business, it requires serious planning, suppliers, manpower, money and a lot of time. If you ask me, I will say that even if one does not consider working in the industry, he/she should check the exhibitions out to find out and be awed by how technology can enhance and improve our quality of experience in this industry. If I were given the chance to go to attend this event again, I would undoubtedly take the chance.