IAAPA EMEA Spring Summit 2024

April 24 - 25, 2024

Event Type: Connections
Region: Europe, Middle East, Africa
Event Time:
Venue: In-Person
Member Price: €995 (VAT incl.) | Nonmember Price: €1650 (VAT incl.)
Credit Hour(s): 4.5
IAAPA EMEA Spring Summit 2024

IAAPA is back in Türkiye – for the first time in nearly a decade!

Join us for a two-day Summit in beautiful Antalya, Türkiye. Discover and experience novelties of The Land of Legends – a unique park which combines adventure and Aqua Land water park. Learn about the Turkish attraction landscape, dynamics shaping the industry, and technological opportunities for attractions. Enjoy the luxurious all-inclusive stay package from the moment of landing at Antalya Airport to your departure!

The Land of Legends

Opened in 2016 and located in Antalya, Türkiye, The Land of Legends combines a theme park and water park – both accessible with one ticket; a shopping centre; and a hotel. It is operated by the Rixos Hotel Group.

Adventure Land

The theme park is divided into Adventure Land and Masha and Bear Land of Laughter, offering something for both families and roller coaster enthusiasts.

Aqua Land

A sizeable water park with multiple slides, including Turtle Coaster, one of the world’s longest four person Rocket Blast, opened in 2023. Aqua Land also offers Tropic Lagoon, the Wild River, Tower Falls, a four-metre underwater walkway, and more.


12:00 – 12:45


Location: IAAPA desk at Rixos Premium Belek
12:45 – 13:40

Lunch at the Hotel

Location: Turquoise Restaurant at Rixos Premium Belek
13:40 – 14:00

Opening Ceremony by The Land of Legends

Location: Conference Room at Rixos Premium Belek
14:00 – 14:10

Opening Remarks by IAAPA

Location: Conference Room at Rixos Premium Belek
14:10 – 14:30

The Crossroads of Turkey's Thriving Tourism and Attractions Market

Location: Conference Room at Rixos Premium Belek
Turkey's performance in the leisure market and attractions industry is multifaceted, reflecting its unique blend of historical, cultural, and natural resources. The country is a significant player in the global tourism sector, thanks to its rich historical heritage, diverse landscapes, and strategic location bridging Europe and Asia. Attractions range from ancient ruins to natural wonders. Its coastal resorts along the The Turkish government and private sector have invested heavily in infrastructure, marketing, and development to enhance the visitor experience and increase international tourism. The development of theme parks and water parks in Turkey reflects the country's commitment to expanding its tourism sector beyond the traditional cultural and historical attractions. These parks not only attract families and younger tourists but also contribute significantly to local economies by creating jobs and stimulating spending in related sectors such as hospitality and retail. Learning objectives: 1. Understand the role of Turkey's unique geographical and cultural attributes in its global tourism appeal. 2. Recognize the impact of governmental and private sector investments on enhancing Turkey's tourism infrastructure and visitor experiences. 3. Identify the significance of diversifying tourism attractions, such as theme and water parks, in stimulating Turkey's local economies and broadening its tourism market. Speaker: • Şöhret Pakiş, Vice President of the Board of Directors, TEPEA (Turkish Amusement Park Association)
14:30 – 15:00

Global Trends with CEO Insights from PwC

Location: Conference Room at Rixos Premium Belek
This IAAPA summit session offers a focused examination of the latest trends and perspectives from global leaders, as revealed in PwC's most recent Global CEO Survey, with a particular lens on the entertainment and attractions industry. The presentation, led by the Country Manager from PwC Turkey, will provide an in-depth analysis of how CEOs worldwide are navigating current challenges and preparing for future uncertainties. Attendees will gain insights into the strategic thinking, risk management, and innovation priorities of today's top executives, with contextual understanding from the Turkish and regional business landscape. This factual and analytical discourse aims to equip industry professionals with knowledge and understanding to inform their strategic decisions in an evolving global market. Speaker: • Cenk Ulu , Territory Senior Partner, PwC Turkey
15:00 – 15:20

Sustainable Shifts in the Attractions Industry Get Ready for a Better World

Location: Conference Room at Rixos Premium Belek
In this presentation, we'll explore how to engage with our customers in the next decade, informed by extensive research on the current trends and needs of children and families. KidZania Istanbul, a leading global edutainment center, operates under the vision of "Get ready for a better world," reaching families in 26 cities across 22 countries. The research titled "Future Consumers: Future, Dreams and Realities," a collaboration between KidZania Istanbul and FutureBright, offers crucial insights into the dreams and expectations of the Alpha generation. It gives us important clues about future consumer trends. The presentation will challenge us to question, "The world is changing rapidly, what about us?" urging us to adapt and innovate in response to these changes. Ebru Timur has served as the CEO of KidZania Istanbul since 2016, leading a team of 160 people and collaborating with 40 purpose partners along with various global and local brands. With a background in corporate communications, marketing, and management across different sectors such as insurance, broadcasting, FMCG, and NGOs, Timur brings a wealth of experience to her role in the entertainment industry. She holds an MBA certificate from Bournemouth Business School and an Executive MBA degree from Sheffield University, equipping her with the knowledge and skills to drive KidZania Istanbul towards its vision of preparing children for a better world. from Anadolu University Faculty of Business Administration. Learning objectives: 1. Understand the current trends and needs of children and families to effectively engage future consumers. 2. Explore strategies for adaptation and innovation in response to rapid global changes. 3. Gain insights into the dreams and expectations of the Alpha generation to inform product and service development. Panel Speakers: • Ebru Timur, CEO, Kidzania Istanbul
15:20 – 15:40

Celebrating Turkey’s Centennial with Merlin Entertainments’ Record-Breaking Flag and the Path to Corporate Social Responsibility

Location: Conference Room at Rixos Premium Belek
Last year on 29th of October, Turkey celebrated her first century. Merlin Turkey Legoland Discovery Center Istanbul broke a Guinness World Record by creating the biggest national flag ever seen in such a context. With 350,000 pieces used in the construction, 6,000 people participated, dedicating a total of 760 work hours to the project. This extraordinary event did more than just mark Turkey's centennial in a unique way; it showcased Merlin Entertainments' deep commitment to fostering community engagement, cultural pride, and sustainability. By mobilizing 6,000 participants to collectively build a symbol of national heritage, Merlin Entertainments reinforced a strong sense of community and national unity, aligning with its long-term interest in becoming a central part of family entertainment and education globally. Such initiatives promise to inspire future generations, underlining the importance of community involvement and supporting Merlin Entertainments' long-term business by cultivating a loyal customer base that values social cohesion and environmental stewardship. Learning objectives: 1. Understanding the Role of Corporate Social Responsibility in Community Engagement and Development 2. Exploring the Business Benefits of Socially Responsible Practices 3. Learn about the World Record and the achievement Panel Speakers: • Tankut Tonger, Cluster General Manager Istanbul, Merlin Entertainments
15:40 – 15:55

Coffee Break

Location: Foyer of Conference Room
16:00 – 16:50

AI: Discovering Opportunities Through Interactive Exploration

Location: Conference Room at Rixos Premium Belek
Dive into the world of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in this hands-on workshop designed for executives in the attractions industry. This interactive session will engage participants in a collaborative journey to uncover the vast possibilities and opportunities AI presents for enhancing operations, customer experiences, and playful design. Through the eyes of a game designer, attendees will: • Participate in interactive demonstrations showcasing the strength and weakness of AI technologies, from chatbots enhancing customer service to predictive analytics optimizing operations. • Explore when and how to implement AI solutions to real-world industry challenges, encouraging creative thinking, and practical strategizing. Learning objectives: 1. Gain a clear understanding of AI's practical benefits and challenges within the attractions industry. 2. Collaborate to identify innovative AI applications that can drive operational efficiency, enhance guest experiences, and create new revenue streams. Keynote Speaker: • Thomas Buijtenweg, Coordinator Master Game Technology & Researcher, Breda University of Applied Sciences
16:50 – 17:00

Elevating the Amusement Experience: The Role of AI in Tomorrow's Attractions and DOF Robotics' Integration

Location: Conference Room at Rixos Premium Belek
AI in the Amusement Sector: This section will provide insights into how AI is currently being applied in the amusement industry. It will cover several key areas including Personalized Guest Experiences, Operational Efficiency and Safety, Immersive Attractions and more. DOF Robotics' Innovations in AI: This section will spotlight DOF Robotics' contributions towards integrating AI into the amusement sector. Focus on how our company is leveraging AI to push the boundaries of what's possible in amusement attractions. Key points will cover; Case Studies, Future Visions of DOF Robotics, and more.
17:00 – 17:30

The Art of Attraction: Choreographing Retail Revenue with Entertainment

Location: Conference Room at Rixos Premium Belek
In the ever-changing landscape of retail, The Land of Legends stands at the forefront, pioneering the integration of immersive entertainment into the shopping experience. In this section will explore the transformative role of entertainment in redefining traditional retail spaces into vibrant, engaging hubs that captivate visitors and encourage them to linger. Drawing upon our successful implementation of the Musical Boat Parade and other spectacular attractions at Shopping Avenue, he will highlight how artistic performances and advanced technologies create a magnetic draw, enhancing the overall attractiveness and profitability of retail areas. Keynote Speaker: Volodymyr Kosenko, Director Of Entertainment & Production, The Land of Legends
17:45 – 18:15

Get Involved with IAAPA (Optional Session)

Location: Conference Room at Rixos Premium Belek
Tailored for IAAPA summit attendees, this focused session delves into the opportunities available for deeper involvement within IAAPA. Aimed at those who already understand the value and mission of IAAPA, we'll explore specific roles and pathways through which you can elevate your participation and contribution. Whether your interest lies in volunteering, sharing expertise as a faculty member or subject matter expert, guiding the future as a board member, engaging audiences as a speaker, or shaping initiatives as a committee member, this session is your gateway to making an impact. Following the presentation, we will open the floor for an interactive Q&A session. This is your opportunity to ask detailed questions, express your interests, and receive guidance on how to navigate your journey towards these rewarding roles within IAAPA. This session is specifically designed for IAAPA summit attendees who are eager to expand their involvement and leverage their expertise for the betterment of the global attractions industry. Whether you're a seasoned professional or an emerging leader, there's a path for you to contribute more significantly to our community.
17:45 – 20:00

Free Time or Work Time or Networking Aperitif at the Hotel

Location: Rixos Premium Belek
20:00 – 21:30

Networking Dinner

Location: Turquoise Restaurant at Rixos Premium Belek
21:15 – 21:45

Transfer to The Land of Legends

Location: Rixos Premium Belek Lobby
22:00 – 23:00

Musical Boat Parade Show

Location: The Land of Legends
23:15 – 23:30

Transfer to Rixos Premium Belek

Location: The Land of Legends Kingdom Hotel Lobby
08:45 – 10:00

Morning Operations EDUTour (Optional)

09:30 – 10:00

Buses to The Land of Legends

10:15 – 10:30

Group Photo

10:30 – 11:45

Presentation and Introduction to EDUTour The Land of Legends

11:45 – 13:45

EDUTour The Land of Legends

13:45 – 14:30

Networking Lunch at The Land of Legends

14:30 – 15:00

Waterfront Kingdom Show

15:00 – 18:00

Free Time at The Land of Legends

19:00 – 20:00


20:00 – 22:30

Beach Networking Party

10:00 – 12:00

Canceled Add-On UNESCO Post Tour To Side

Please Note: Agenda is subject to change.

Pricing Details

Pricing Details
IAAPA EMEA Spring Summit with two-night accommodation €995 €1,650
IAAPA EMEA Spring Summit with three-night accommodation €1,345 €1,999

VAT included

IAAPA EMEA Spring Summit ticket includes:

  • Two-night accommodation (check-in Wednesday, 24 April – check-out Friday, 26 April) at luxury all-inclusive resort Rixos Premium Belek. Relevant ticket price applies. 
  • OR Three-night accommodation (check-in Tuesday, 23 April – check-out Friday, 26 April) at luxury all-inclusive resort Rixos Premium Belek. Relevant ticket price applies.
  • All-inclusive package of breakfast, lunch, dinner, open bar.
  • Shuttle from/to hotel and The Land of Legends.
  • Access to all areas of The Land of Legends on Thursday, 25 April.
  • EDUTour, education conference, exclusive The Land of Legends ‘beach’ party.



Sponsorship opportunities are available for the IAAPA EMEA Spring Summit 2024 from 2,000€ excl. VAT.

The Sponsor Package includes the following benefits. More details can be found in the sponsorship agreement


  • Sponsor acknowledgment on the IAAPA event webpage.
  • Sponsor recognition on IAAPA EMEA social media platforms (where applicable).
  • Sponsor acknowledgment in IAAPA EMEA Spring Summit 2024 communications.
  • Sponsor recognition in Connect+ mobile app.



  • One complimentary IAAPA EMEA Spring Summit ticket (valued 995€).. 

  • Sponsor acknowledgement on event signage (where applicable). 

  • Verbal recognition at the beginning of the event (where applicable)

  • Ability to provide materials/giveaways (if possible, produced from eco materials) for distribution at registration/at the event.

  • Two complimentary IAAPA EMEA Spring Summit tickets (each valued 995€) – Premier Sponsor only.

  • Possibility to play a short video – Premier Sponsor only.

    Type Price (excl.VAT)
    Premier Sponsor – exclusive – SOLD OUT €6,000
    Lanyards - exclusive – SOLD OUT €4,000
    Beach Party and Dinner (2nd day) – exclusive €3,500
    Education Conference (1st day) - not exclusive €3,000
    Education Conference (2nd day) – SOLD OUT €2,000

    *For sponsoring contracts, B2B VAT rules are applicable:

    • For Turkish companies: 25% VAT.
    • For EU companies with VAT ID: Reverse-charge procedure applies (tax-exempt on intra-community supply of goods).
    • For non-EU companies: ‘place of supply of service’ rule applies (tax-exempt on outside of EU supply of services).


    All sponsors must be IAAPA members.

    Your participation and sponsorship is only confirmed once IAAPA Europe IVZW has received full payment. Otherwise IAAPA Europe IVZW remains the right to unilaterally terminate the sponsorship contract. Full payment is due immediately and no later than seven business days upon receipt. IAAPA will fulfil the sponsor rights upon receipt of the sponsor fee. The registration of one sponsor representative remains unconfirmed until full payment has been received. IAAPA will send you a payment link via email. Thank you in advance for following the instructions.   

    Contact Annadora Buonocore on +32 494 565 691 or [email protected] for further information and to become a sponsor.


IAAPA hotel will be an all-inclusive resort Rixos Premium Belek. Accommodation and all other event costs, as listed in the pricing section, are included in the event ticket. There are two price ranges to choose from: two-night accommodation stay or three-night accommodation stay. For other accommodation inquiries please contact Lucille at [email protected].



Thomas Buijtenweg

Thomas Buijtenweg

Coordinator Master Game Technology and Researcher
Breda University of Applied Sciences

Thomas Buijtenweg is an accomplished professional with a passion for shaping the future of technology and entertainment. As the Coordinator of Master Game Technology, he has been instrumental in nurturing the next generation of talent, guiding them toward successful careers in research and development. 

Over the last eight years, Thomas has been working in Game User Research, delving into the intricacies of player behavior, investigating how people engage with games. His insights have informed game design decisions, ensuring a more immersive and enjoyable gaming experience. 

Currently exploring AI in Entertainment by being at the forefront of artificial intelligence and creative industries. He envisions a world where AI seamlessly enhances day-to-day user interactions, creating novel forms of entertainment that captivate and delight. 

He places a specific focus on Human-Computer Interaction. With a keen eye for usability and user experience, Thomas bridges the gap between technology and human needs. 

Pakiş Şöhret

Şöhret Pakiş

Vice President of the Board of Directors
TEPEA (Turkish Amusement Parks Association)

Şöhret Pakiş graduated from the Department of Economics at Boğaziçi University. She completed her master's degree in economic history at the same university. Starting her career in Human Resources at Pfizer Turkiye. Şöhret joined the Polin Waterparks team in 2004. She worked as the Brand and Communication Director for a total of 20 companies affiliated with the holding, eight of which are in Turkiye and 12 abroad.

In 2015, Şöhret has served as a member of the European M&S committee of the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA), the world's largest attraction organization. In 2016, she has served at IAAPA EMEA M&S Committee, covering Europe, Africa and the Middle East. In 2022, she was awarded the 'Executive Board Award' by the World Waterpark Association (WWA), based in the United States, recognizing significant contributions to water parks and recreation. She became the first female executive from Europe and Turkiye to receive this award. In 2023, she was listed as a Turkish female executive in the Women of Influence list by Interpark magazine in the UK.

In 2021, Şöhret participated in Prof. Dr. Sinan Canan's "Open Brain Documentaries," and she developed the concept of "neurorecreation," which establishes a connection between neuroscience and recreation and attractions, presenting the first applied quantitative study on the concept. In 2022, Şöhret completed her master's degree in Neuroscience at Uskudar University's Institute of Health Sciences. She contributes to studies on the application of neuroscience in the entertainment and attraction sectors, as well as the relationship between recreation and attractions and happy cities. Her articles "Neurorecreation: A Conceptual Framework Bridging Recreation and Neuroscience" and "Leisure Flow during the COVID-19 Period" have been published in the International Journal of Recreation and Sport Science. Additionally, she contributed with her article "Rhythms in Home-Based Entertainment" to the 3rd chapter of Routledge's Research Book on Leisure Studies.

She currently serves as the Vice President of the Board of Directors and the Brand and Education Committee Chairman at the Turkish Amusement Parks Association (TEPEA). Şöhret has served in IAAPA Hall of Fame Committee in 2023 and has been a keynote speaker and/or moderator at events such as IAAPA Attractions (USA), IAAPA Europe (EAS), WWA Show, Southeast Environment and Recreation Research Conference USA (SERR), China Amusement Conference (CAAE), European Waterpark Association Conference (EWA), Atrax, and Nature Talks. She has also been a guest lecturer on topics such as Brand and Communication, Organizational Marketing, Recreational Studies, and Entrepreneurship at Indiana (USA), Marmara, Boğaziçi, Yeditepe, Istanbul, Istanbul Technical, Uskudar, Sabancı, and Koç Universities. She is a mentor in the global She’s Mercedes platform empowering and inspiring young women entrepreneurs. She is now doing brand consultancy and the brand ambassador for companies in attractions industry.

Çetin Pehlivan

Çetin Pehlivan

Managing Director
The Land of Legends

Ebru Timur

Ebru Timur

Chief Executive Officer
KidZania Istanbul

Since 2016, Timur is the CEO of KidZania Istanbul, a global edutainment centre that provides a fun and educational experience for families with children in a 10,000 square meter city. She leads a team of 160 people and collaborates with 40 purpose partners and various global and local brands, with the vision of "Get ready for a better world".

KidZania operates in 26 cities across 22 countries. In her presentation, she will share her insights on how to engage with our customers in the next decade, based on the research they conducted on the current trends and needs of children and families. She will ask us "The world is changing rapidly, what about us?" and challenge us to adapt and innovate.

Timur has a background in corporate communications, marketing, and management in sectors such as insurance, broadcasting, fmcg and NGO respectively, before joining the entertainment industry. She holds an MBA certificate from Bournemouth Business School and an Emba degree from Sheffield University and she graduated from Anadolu University Faculty of Business Administration.

Tankut Tonger

Tankut Tonger

Cluster General Manager Istanbul
Merlin Entertainments

Tankut Tonger has been serving as the General Manager of Merlin Entertainments Türkiye since 2022. Graduating from the Department of Political Science and International Relations at Boğaziçi University in 2001, Tonger started his career in the advertising sector, holding senior management positions for over 20 years. From 2002 to 2004, he worked as Deputy Manager at MEPAŞ / ZEDPAŞ. Subsequently, he served as Sales Coordinator at Doğan Media Group from 2004 to 2009, as well as General Manager of Sales and Marketing at Ciner Media Group from 2009 to 2011. He then worked as Deputy General Manager of Sales and Marketing at D-Smart from 2011 to 2013. Tonger served as Managing Director at Vialand Theme Park, Turkey's first theme park, from 2018 to 2022, before assuming his current role at Merlin Entertainments Turkey. Responsible for the company's operational projects and investments in Türkiye, Tonger oversees brands such as Madame Tussauds Istanbul, SEA LIFE Istanbul, and Legoland® Discovery Centre Istanbul.

Cenk Ulu

Cenk Ulu

Territory Senior Partner
PwC Türkiye

In 2001 Cenk Ulu joined the PwC Türkiye Istanbul office, and he was admitted to PwC partnership in 2007. He became the Territory Senior Partner of PwC Türkiye in December 2020. He is also a member of the PwC Europe Leadership Team. Before beginning in his role as Territory Senior Partner, in addition to the services he provided to his clients Cenk established the PwC Türkiye Tax Technology team and also served as the Leader of the team. Additionally, he was the Leader of the Client Education Department. He also served as the Leader of PwC Türkiye Indirect Tax Services.

Cenk worked as a customs expert in the Undersecretariat of Customs for five years, from 1996 to 2000. In this role, he worked exclusively on customs procedures and European Union applications.

Cenk specializes in customs and foreign trade applications, value added tax and other indirect taxes, special consumption tax, foreign exchange applications, investment incentives applications, free trade zones, transit trade, European applications and GATT, and he also lectures at the Bahçeşehir and Boğaziçi universities.

Volodymyr Kosenko

Volodymyr Kosenko

Director Of Entertainment & Production
The Land of Legends

Burak Sar

Burak Sar

Chief Commercial Officer
DOF Robotics