The current economic crisis has forced two major aquatics organizations to cancel upcoming events.
The National Recreation and Park Association announced in late January that its National Aquatics Conference has been cancelled 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.
“It was something we had to do,” Whitmore said. “Between 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.”
NRPA also blamed the cancellation on the difficulty professionals are having in complying with 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.”
The 2010 NAC conference is still on schedule, according to Whitmore. The organization has made arrangements for attendees and exhibitors to refund payments or transfer money to future shows. It is also providing each registered attendee and speaker a credit of up to $100 to transfer or cancel flights.
Meanwhile, The International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions will not hold the inaugural IAAPA Connections event, originally scheduled for Feb. 24-26, 2009, at Atlantis resort on 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 organization.
He added that no decisions have been made about holding the event next year, and registered attendees would be refunded.