Association News - Events - January 2019


IAAPA Asia-Pacific Summit 2018 Joins Seminars with Attractions Tours in China

More than 130 industry professionals from 16 countries—including China, Germany, Hong Kong, Malaysia, the United States, and Vietnam—came together for IAAPA Asia-Pacific Summit 2018 in September. The two-day event offered a unique opportunity to network, learn, and get a close look at some of the attractions in Qingdao, China.

The event addressed topics including animals in professional care, sustainability, women in leadership, the Asia-Pacific region’s new rides and attractions, transportation and infrastructure investments by the Chinese government, and cultural considerations and challenges involved in building and operating a theme park in China. Participants attended seminars led by industry leaders, including: Mimi Fu, director of learning and development at Ocean Park Hong Kong; Tom Mehrmann, ICAE, president and general manager of Universal Beijing Theme Park and Resort; Joe Schott, senior vice president of operations at Shanghai Disney Resort; Guangyuan Tan, senior director of the Biological Conservation Center at Haichang Ocean Park; Mara Wang, vice president of Carnival Group International; and Yuan Wang, chief assistant president and executive president of Wanda CTI.

In addition to hearing from these speakers, attendees took part in networking events at the Wanda Yacht Club and Tsingtao Beer Museum, where they met with new and familiar colleagues. IAAPA Asia-Pacific Summit 2018 also embarked on a series of guided tours to Haichang Polar Ocean World, Qingdao Rio Carnival Theme Park, Qingdao Wanda Theme Park, and Tsingtao Beer Museum.

To learn more about upcoming IAAPA events in the Asia-Pacific region, visit


Making Connections and Memories at Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk

At a seaside amusement park filled with classic rides surrounded by iconic architecture, more than 60 participants mixed and mingled with attractions industry colleagues and IAAPA members, committee members, and team members during the IAAPA North America Networking Event in October. California’s Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk hosted attendees who came from across Canada and the United States, including Arizona, Florida, Maryland, New Mexico, Utah, and Wisconsin. 

David Rosenberg, ICAE, 2019 IAAPA Chairman of the Board, welcomed the group, and Karl Rice, president of the Santa Cruz Seaside Company, spoke about Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk’s history. The event also featured three speakers: John Hallenbeck, vice president of IAAPA North America; Ken Whiting, ICAE, president of Whiting’s Foods at Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk and IAAPA second vice chair; and Bob Williams, ICAE, general manager of Calaway Park and chair of the IAAPA North America Regional Advisory Committee.

Following the speakers’ presentations, the boardwalk team offered a tour of the facility and plenty of opportunities for members from the amusement park, family entertainment center, manufacturer and supplier, and zoo and aquarium communities to get to know one another. A tour highlight was Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk’s 1911 hand-carved “Looff Carousel,” a National Historic Landmark. Additionally, participants enjoyed rides on the “Giant Dipper” wooden roller coaster and competed for prizes at two boardwalk games.

To learn more about upcoming IAAPA events in North America, visit


IAAPA Operators Forum 2018 Spotlights Accessibility

IAAPA Operators Forum 2018 welcomed 45 attendees from across Canada and the United States to Six Flags Great Escape & Splashwater Kingdom in Lake George, New York, in October. The three-day event focused on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and what it means to attractions through classroom sessions and hands-on training led by experienced facilitators and park operators. Attendees participated in an interactive tour of Great Escape to observe how the park operates its accessibility program.