he current economic crisis has forced two major industry organizations to cancel upcoming events.
The National Recreation and Park Association recently announced that its National Aquatics Conference has been canceled for 2009. The event was scheduled for March 22-28 in Houston. John Whitmore, NRPA Aquatics Branch president , said the decision to cancel was made in light of low pre-registration numbers.
?Everyone is disappointed, but the economic situation made it clear that canceling was something we had to do,? Whitmore said. ?Between the home foreclosures and shrinking sales tax revenues, city budgets are hurting. Funding is frozen, and many in the industry are in a ?wait and see? mode.?
The association also blamed the cancellation on new federal legislation.
?At this time, many members of the NRPA community are still working diligently to meet the compliance needs of the December 2008 Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act and are unable to participate in this year?s NAC,? according to the group?s Web site. ?We realize that directly managing VGB compliance is very much the priority for our members and we are concerned that this significant decrease in attendance would create an imperfect learning experience for all participants.?
According to Whitmore, the 2010 NAC conference is still on schedule. The organization has made arrangements for attendees and exhibitors to refund payments or transfer money to future shows. It?s also providing each registered attendee and speaker up to $100 credit to transfer or cancel flights.
Lori Thompson, acting community services director for the city of La Mirada, Calif., is one attendee looking forward to next year?s show. ?I think [the NAC Conference] is a very valuable experience,? she said. ?We usually attend it and had planned to send someone this year, but due to budget constraints that wasn?t going to happen.?
Meanwhile, The International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions will not hold the inaugural IAAPA Connections event, originally scheduled for February 24-26, 2009, at Atlantis resort, Paradise Island, Bahamas. According to a press release, the decision was ?based on concerns regarding the economy and its impact on members? ability to participate in the three-day education and networking event.? Several other IAAPA board and committee meetings planned in conjunction with the event also were canceled or rescheduled.
?We felt that since our members are evaluating their businesses and adjusting their operations to address the current economic environment, it was best to do the same with this event as well,? said David Mandt a spokesman for the Alexandria, Va.-based group. He added that no decisions have been made about holding the event next year, and registered attendees would be refunded.