2017 EAS

IAAPA Europe Industry Manifesto: Outlook for 2015 and Beyond

The attractions industry in Europe makes a huge impact on the economy both locally and regionally

Date Tuesday 6 October 2015
Time 16.00 - 17.30

Session Description

The attractions industry in Europe makes a huge impact on the economy both locally and regionally providing 53,000 full-time equivalents (FTE) jobs and with a total economic impact worth €10 billion.

The industry is also leading the way in safety standards, service levels, and hospitality measures but it also faces pressures on regulations, taxes and skills shortages.

Launched at the EAS last year, the IAAPA Europe Industry Manifesto aims to encourage Europe’s policymakers to build a better business environment for amusement parks and attractions. In this information-packed panel discussion you will hear perspectives from leading operators in the industry about their regulatory challenges.The session will be chaired by Kieran O’Keeffe, Partner at Interel EU.

1. Attractions Industry Safety: OUR NUMBER ONE PRIORITY!
The attractions industry has an exemplary safety record and it aims to maintain that with a laser-like focus on safe experiences for guests, a safe working environment for employees, and safe operation and maintenance of equipment.

Michael Kreft von Byern , Representative of the Board, Europa Park, Germany examines the importance of safety for the industry and the reputation to the park’s business. He will provide an overview of the latest industry statistics in relation to safety as well examine the safety processes and procedures in place at a typical park. He will explore the huge investment that the industry makes annually in rides maintenance, staff training and in developing up-to-date standards for driving best practice within the industry.

Speaker: Michael Kreft von Byern, Representative of the Board , Europa Park, Germany

2. A Competitive Business Environment: Towards A Fair and Equitable VAT System

As a labour intensive industry the attractions business is significantly affected by changes in VAT rates, impacting attendance, jobs and capital investment. Fernando Aldecoa, CEO, at Port Aventura, Spain examines the importance of VAT rate changes to the attraction industry and he will outline impact of VAT rises on attraction and the implications for jobs, re-investment, etc.

In addition, he will explore the positive impact of cuts in VAT rates not only in terms of admissions but also on associated services like accommodation and catering. He will outline the industry request of policymakers to resist VAT rises and maintain reduced rates on tourism services where they apply. He will also review examples of restrictive regulations on attraction for example, over taxation of labour, rigid labour laws, etc.

Speaker: Fernando Aldecoa, General Manager Ops & Finance, PortAventura, Spain

3. Skills and Employment Policy that Incentivises Job Creation

Theme parks and amusement parks employ over 53,000 full-time equivalent employees within the Europe. Many of these employees are young workers in their first job lacking training and experience. In addition, the seasonality of much of the industry impacts it ability to both recruit and retain workers. What can policy makers do to help improve this situation?

Miikka Seppälä, CEO, Särkänniemi, Finland, examines the challenges the industry faces in identifying and recruiting the right candidates for positions and explores how the seasonal nature of the industry affects staffing recruitment and retention. He will also examine the key role that training plays in building a safety conscious workforce and in delivering service excellence to guests.

Speaker: Miikka Seppälä, CEO Särkänniemi and Angry Birds Land , FI


Fernando Aldecoa
Fernando Aldecoa, General Manager Operations and Finance PortAventura

Fernando has more than 20 years of experience in the Theme Park industry.
He joined PortAventura at its inception, in 1994. He has covered various positions, mainly in the Financial and Operations departments. Fernando has been the General Manager of PortAventura for four years and General Manager Operations and Finance since 2014. He has an MBA degree and graduated from Management Development Program  in Barcelona. 
Kieran O'Keeffe
Kieran O’Keeffe, Partner, Interel, Group (Moderator)

Kieran works with a range of multinational companies and trade associations, providing strategic advice on every aspect of European affairs. He is an experienced public affairs professional with experience in the UK as well as the EU. Prior to joining Interel EU, Kieran was Head of European Affairs for the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) and opened  the association’s first Brussels office in 2008. Kieran started his career as a researcher for a UK Member of Parliament, which gave him significant experience of political communications. He has worked on and managed successful election campaigns in the UK.
Michael Kreft von Byern
Michael Kreft von Byern, representative of the Board of Europa-Park

He joined Europa-Park in Rust in 1988 as Public Relations Officer and since then, he grew from Director Marketing, Operations, to Head of Mack Solutions and the Creative + Development Team of Europa-Park. Today, he is the Representative of the Board of Europa-Park. Michael is a very active member of German associations. Since 2001, he’s been promoting Tourism and Leisure through the German Chamber of Commerce, Supervisory Board of Black Forest Tourism, Research Advisory Committee German Institute for Tourism, Marketing Committee of Tourism Baden-Württemberg and German Association of Leisure Parks. Michael shares his knowledge and expertise of the Amusement industry within IAAPA European Advisory Committee and Government Relations Committee. 
Miikka Seppälä, General Manager, Särkänniemi, Finland
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