Issue 91 Editorial by Martin Palicki, InPark Publisher
Everything seems like a gamble right now. Should I invest in a new attraction? Will people show up this summer? Is it safe to travel to that conference? The pandemic introduced a level of uncertainty that the industry hasn’t dealt with in a long time, and the current global political situation isn’t infusing any real level of stability.
It doesn’t have to be a casino-style gamble, though, where the house frequently wins. Taking calculated risks often leads to rewarding results. The 16th edition of the TEA/AECOM Theme Index and Museum Index, when it is released later this year, will help provide the most recent round of data to help developers and operators make more informed decisions for the future. It provides a snapshot of the industry, highlighting trends around the world. Full disclosure: I’ll be editing this year’s Theme Index on behalf of TEA and AECOM, taking over from IPM Editor Judith Rubin.
Some people are natural risk-takers. While interviewing Eric Bertch for this issue’s cover story, I could tell he and his family were no strangers to risk. After building up a successful cabinet company in Iowa, they decided 20 years ago to build a waterpark and, this year, just opened a new theme park. Adding a second gate to their property is likely to be a catalyst for additional investment in the region.
As I wrote in the article, they mitigated some risk by starting small and growing over time, choosing a waterpark first and then expanding later. The risk will hopefully pay off for the Bertch family, who clearly are doing this as a labor of love, both for the attractions industry and for the Iowa community at large.
Suppliers also have to examine risk and reward. Eleventh Hour, featured in this issue, launched a whole new company division and set of services in anticipation of changing market conditions. The results for them are encouraging.
I hope more operators and suppliers are willing to take a risk. The tendency to retreat and entrench is compelling in times of uncertainty, particularly as COVID-19 continues to be a major issue and disruptor around the world. But sometimes the best innovation and development is born out of adversity. So as we continue to move forward as an industry, let’s take smart risks and plan for a rewarding future.