Association News - Event Preview - January 2019

1901_event_previewIAAPA Leadership Conference 2019 Sets Its Sights on the Future

The three-day event will explore the growing attractions industry in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, United Arab Emirates

by Juanita Chavarro Arias

The attractions industry in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) continues to grow, and attendees at IAAPA Leadership Conference 2019 will be able to see and experience the exciting evolution in Abu Dhabi and Dubai firsthand. From Feb. 26 to 28, the event will take participants on tours of attractions facilities, offering exclusive access and experiences while allowing for time to network and discover two of the UAE’s biggest cities. Additionally, insightful presentations from industry leaders will engage attendees with fresh perspectives, inspiring ideas, and valuable best practices. For the entire three-day program, IAAPA Leadership Conference 2019 participants will earn 15 total continuing education (CE) credit hours applicable toward IAAPA Certification. On March 1, after the final day of IAAPA Leadership Conference 2019, attendees can take part in an optional post tour to Al Ain Zoo and Wadi Adventure in Abu Dhabi.

What to Expect

After a welcome to Dubai on the first day of IAAPA Leadership Conference 2019, participants will attend education sessions led by industry experts. One of the event’s speakers is Phil Taylor, managing director of Team Leisure, a specialist leisure-consulting firm based in the UAE. Attendees will then tour the location for Expo 2020 Dubai, IMG Worlds of Adventure, and Global Village Dubai, which will host a reception. The second day begins with a transfer to Abu Dhabi for a series of presentations and tours at Louvre Abu Dhabi and Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi. Dubai Parks and Resorts will host the third day’s first tour and lunch, followed by a tour and reception at Laguna Waterpark and backstage tour and show at La Perle. Learn more about each of the facilities IAAPA Leadership Conference 2019 will tour:


Bollywood Parks Dubai offers guests a Bollywood movie experience and is one of Dubai Parks and Resorts’ three theme parks. (Credit: Dubai Parks and Resorts)

Dubai Parks and Resorts

Opened in 2016, Dubai Parks and Resorts is a multithemed leisure and entertainment destination made up of three theme parks: Motiongate Dubai, a Hollywood movie-inspired theme park; Legoland Dubai, the first Legoland theme park in the Middle East; and Bollywood Parks Dubai, which offers a Bollywood movie experience. Also included at the 30.6-million-square-foot destination is Legoland Water Park, retail and dining area Riverland Dubai, and the Polynesian-themed Lapita Hotel.


Riverland Dubai is Dubai Parks and Resorts’ dining and retail destination composed of four different zones themed to past eras. (Credit: Dubai Parks and Resorts)

Expo 2020 Dubai

Expo 2020 Dubai is a six-month-long universal exposition from Oct. 20, 2020, to April 10, 2021, that will celebrate human ingenuity through the theme “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future.” It will be the first World Expo—which is overseen and regulated by the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE)—to take place in the Middle East and looks to bring together more than 180 countries and millions of people. IAAPA Leadership Conference 2019 attendees will visit the Expo site that when complete will cover a total of 438 hectares in the Dubai South district near the Al Maktoum International Airport.

Global Village Dubai

Global Village Dubai is a multicultural festival park that takes guests on an adventure around the world through entertainment, rides, international dining, and authentic merchandise from 27 pavilions representing a variety of countries and cultures. Live entertainment offerings include a stunt show, cultural music performances, a fiery fountain show, circus performers, and concerts throughout the season. Carnaval is a fun fair park inside Global Village that features 31 rides, 25 skill games, and more than 100 arcade games.

IMG Worlds of Adventure

IMG Worlds of Adventure is a large, temperature-controlled, indoor themed entertainment destination, covering an area of more than 1.5 million square feet. Two of its four adventure zones represent global brands Cartoon Network and Marvel, while IMG Boulevard and the Lost Valley–Dinosaur Adventure are original zone concepts created by the IMG Group. IMG Worlds of Adventure features roller coasters, thrill rides, attractions, themed retail stores, dining venues, and a 12-screen cinema.

La Perle

Set in a one-of-a-kind 1,300-seat theater in the heart of Al Habtoor City, La Perle is the region’s first resident show, featuring a cast of 65 international artists with unique skills, ranging from acrobats to aquatic and aerial stunts. The aqua theatre holds 2.7 million liters of water and can transform its stage from a wet to dry setting. Performers dive into an on-stage pool in the center of the auditorium and also fly through the air. The visual experience is enhanced by projection screens that stretch across the walls, seats, floors, and building’s dome.

Laguna Waterpark

Nestled in Dubai’s La Mer beachfront destination, Laguna Waterpark is divided into four zones—Relax, Slide, Splash, and Surf—each with its own attractions and offerings. Laguna features five water slides, a pool lounge, a lazy river, children’s zone with a splash pad, food kiosks, and a store. One of the water park’s unique attractions is the “WaveOz 180 FloRider,” offering a surf experience for beginners and pros alike. At 187 feet wall-to-wall, the “WaveOz 180 FloRider” accommodates three or four surfers or bodyboarders simultaneously.


The intricate dome over Louvre Abu Dhabi shields the art museum’s extensive network of galleries from the sun. (Credit: OUVRE ABU DHABI, PHOTOGRAPHY ROLAND HALBE)

Louvre Abu Dhabi

Opened in November 2017, Louvre Abu Dhabi is a universal art museum created through a unique agreement between the governments of Abu Dhabi and France in 2007. As part of the agreement, Louvre Abu Dhabi has access to expertise and training from 17 French partner institutions and artwork loans from 13 leading French museums for 10 years. The museum features galleries, special exhibition spaces, a children’s museum, auditorium, restaurants, retail, and a research center, all tied together through a network of corridors, surrounded by water with stunning architecture. Louvre Abu Dhabi has acquired more than 600 artworks, exhibited alongside 300 works on loan.


Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi celebrated its grand opening in July 2018. 

Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi

Opened in July 2018, Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi is the world’s first indoor Warner Bros. branded theme park. Miral Asset Management, in partnership with Warner Bros. Entertainment, developed the park on Yas Island with an investment of $1 billion. When guests step inside the 1.65-million-square-foot park, they are immersed in six themed lands filled with some of the brand’s most iconic comic book and cartoon characters, including Wonder Woman, The Joker, Scooby-Doo, and The Flintstones. The park features 29 rides, interactive family-friendly attractions, and live shows, as well as themed restaurants and stores.

To register for IAAPA Leadership Conference 2019, visit

Schedule at a Glance*

Tuesday, Feb. 26

• Opening Presentation

• Tour of Expo 2020 Dubai Location

• Tour of IMG Worlds of Adventure

• Tour and Reception at Global Village Dubai

Wednesday, Feb. 27

• Transfer from Dubai to Abu Dhabi

• Tour of Louvre Abu Dhabi

• Presentation, Lunch, and Backstage Tour of Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi followed by a Reception

Thursday, Feb. 28

• Tour and Lunch at Dubai Parks and Resorts 

• Tour of Laguna Waterpark followed by a Reception

• Backstage Tour and Show at La Perle

POST TOUR (Optional)

Friday, March 1

• Tour of Al Ain Zoo

• Tour of Wadi Adventure

*Schedule and offerings subject to change.