EAS 2018 Masthead
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Animal Attractions Panel: How to take your visitor experience to the next level

Date:   Wednesday, 27 September 2017

  16:45 - 18:00

Location:     Berlin Messe Exhibition Center – Palais Ground Floor - Room 1


Course Description

Every attraction is searching for ways to adapt to the challenges of this century. Join us in this panel-discussion to learn more about the way animal attractions are repositioning and adapting themselves to shifting visitor expectations, climate changes and other challenges. Hear what has been happening at different zoos and attractions and what could happen in the future. Learn about trends, such as the shift from collection to attraction, hybridization and adding other experiences and discover what wildlife attractions  have to offer with more focus on theming and visitor experience.

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Some of the session´s speakers include 


Yael Coifman, Senior Partner, Leisure Development Partners, United Kingdom

Yael is a founding partner of Leisure Development Partners (LDP), a specialised consulting practice focused on the worldwide visitor attraction and leisure industry. Prior to founding LDP, Yael was a Director at ERA based in Los Angeles, Washington DC, and London. During her 20 years consulting in the industry, Yael has completed projects in over 60 countries, throughout Europe, the Middle East, the Americas, and Asia. She has an MBA in international business from the Thunderbird School of Global Management and a BA in Economics & Political Science from Yale University and is fluent in both French and Spanish.

Throughout her career, Yael’s experience includes projects around the globe such as theme and waterpark,  attraction, museum and themed entertainment resort feasibility, due diligence for sales and acquisitions, economic impact, improvement and development strategy, sports and entertainment venue appraisal, mixed-use development strategy, operator and investor solicitation and several expert witness appearances. 


Frankwin van Beers, Director, Wildlands Adventure Zoo Emmen, The Netherlands

Frankwin van Beers is CEO of WILDLANDS Adventure Zoo Emmen. He has a background in the military and in management. He started his leisure career at the Dolfinarium in Harderwijk. In 2010 he became CEO of the former Dierenpark Emmen (Zoo Emmen). In this period a whole new themepark with exotic animals was developed and build within budget, on time and high quality. The whole transition was a huge undertaking but it resulted in an impressive 1,4 million visitors in the first year!


Bob Montgomery, CEO, Longleat Enterprise, United Kingdom

Bob Montgomery has enjoyed a long and varied career in Entertainment and Attractions management for more than 30 years. Originally from Toronto, Canada, he has been directly involved in the planning, launch and management of more than a dozen new entertainment- based projects across three continents. He has also served as a senior executive for Paramount Entertainment, The LEGO Group, Canadian National Real Estate and Herschend Family Entertainment. Bob has worked for Longleat Enterprise, since the end of 2013 and has overseen a record revenue and attendance growth in the first full year of operation in 2014. He has served as a board member for the Branson, Missouri and Carlsbad, California YMCA’s, the Lowndes County Convention and Tourism Authority, and the “Holy Land Experience” in Orlando Florida. He has also served as Chairman of the San Diego North Convention and Visitors Association.


Dr. Andreas Knierim, Director General, Berlin Zoo, Germany

Dr Andreas Knieriem was born in 1965 in Georgia, USA. He grew up and completed his schooling in Germany, graduating with a Ph.D. in veterinary medicine from Freie Universität Berlin. Knieriem began his career in 1995 as a vet at Duisburg Zoo before assuming the position of deputy Zoological Director in Hanover in 1996. In 2009, he was appointed as Director and CEO of Munich’s Hellabrunn Zoo. Knieriem has been CEO and Director General of Zoo and Tierpark Berlin since April 2014.


Kieran Stanley, Founder & Creative Director, dan pearlman Experience Architecture, Germany

Kieran Stanley studied architecture in Trinity College, Dublin and is founder and Creative Director of the architectural company dan pearlman Experience Architecture, based in Berlin.

He specialised early in the development of Zoos, being part of the team that worked on the Masterplan for the Hannover Zoo from 1995 onward. Since then, he has designed most of their immersive environments, in particular Yukon Bay, the largest and most ambitious project completed in 2010. Home to wolves, caribou, seals and penguins Yukon Bay set new standards in the behavioural enrichment planning for polar bear enclosures.

He also designed an amphibious safari as well as the unique Panda World environment at Everland Resort in South Korea, which set new global standards for keeping Giant Pandas. He developed several master plans for Zoos and Parks worldwide, specifically in China, UK, Italy, Denmark and Germany. He is currently working with Munich, Cologne and Munster Zoo and has most recently completed the strategic development plans for Berlin’s Zoological Garden and Tierpark parallel. Part of this, the giant panda environment is open since summer 2017 in the Berlin Zoo.

In 2015 Chester Zoo opened Islands, England’s largest and most ambitious zoo development in the history of UK zoos. Working closely with the Chester Zoo Curators and Education teams, the task was to make their in situ conservation work understandable, experienceable.

Kieran Stanley does not see himself as just an architect, moreover a strategic partner who works integratively and holistically to create relevancy in each project, and a sustainable path forward for each zoo.