IAAPA Institute for Attractions Professionals

January 20 - 22, 2024

Event Type: Education
Region: Europe, Middle East, Africa
Event Time:
Venue: In-Person
Ferrari World
Yas Island
Abu Dhabi
United Arab Emirates
Member Price: € 899 | Nonmember Price: € 1499
Credit Hour(s): 45

IAAPA Institute for Attractions Professionals is sold out. Registration is not available anymore.

The IAAPA Institute for Attractions Professionals is the global attractions industry’s premier professional development program for individuals with five or fewer years’ working within attractions. These include museums, science centers, aquariums, attractions, LBEs, amusement parks, and zoos.

The IAAPA Institute for Attractions Professionals (IAP) is a hybrid program that uses adult learning methodologies.

Course Format:

  • 2 full days of in-person learning
  • Attraction site visit (EDUTour)
  • 3-month access to curated online coursework

Participants should be highly motivated learners with an interest in cross-departmental industry functions. Participants will gain a global attractions perspective, learn more about all areas of operation, and will share best practices across member types. The intensive two-day in-person program is designed with a blend of classroom instruction led by industry experts and small group activities. Participants will dive deeper into topics during their 3-month access to self-paced online coursework specially curated for IAP. By combining in-person and online learning, participants will gain a solid understanding of the key disciplines and processes required to manage a successful attraction.

Registration is closed



Jan Taylor

Jan Taylor

Director of Food & Beverage Operations
Six Flags Qiddiya

Food Service Executive with over 35 years of experience in high volume food and beverage operations. Expertise in Design/Build, HR Recruitment,Training and Team Building, Fiscal Capital and Operating Budgeting and building highly successful and profitable food service operations

Career Experience 

  • Theme Parks: Sea World of Florida, Universal Studios Florida, Universal Studios Dubailand, Universal Studios Hollywood,  Six Flags Qiddiya. 
  •  Sports & Entertainment Catering and Concessions: NASCAR, National Football League, National Basketball Association, National Hockey League, Major League Baseball, National College Athletics Association, The University of Notre Dame, and multiple Arena and Stadium Concerts and Special Events. 
  •  Current Role – Director of Food & Beverage Operations for Six Flags Qiddiya and Wahat Water Park, the two flagship theme parks to open in 2024 as part of the Qiddiya Giga Project near Riyadh, KSA 


Javier Arévalo Benítez

Javier Arévalo Benítez

Chief Information Officer
Parques Reunidos

Goal-oriented IT Executive with demonstrated experience in planning, developing and implementing cutting edge information solutions to address business opportunities. Develop strategic plans for successful implementation and operation of technology tools, product support, quality assurance and training. Initiate and enforce strict budget controls, addressing company needs and promotion of growth.

Jeroen van der Werff

Jeroen van der Werff

Associate Director

Neil Dwyer, ICAE Director, Carnaval

Neil Dwyer - ICAE

Director of Park Operations
Six Flags Qiddiya

Neil Dwyer has spent the last 16 years in theme parks and has extensive experience in many areas of attractions (both revenue and non-revenue generating). 

Born and educated in the UK, Neil begun his career working with some of the UK’s most famous theme parks. Neil held prior roles as the Director of Carnaval Entertainments with Global Village, and the Director of Operations at IMG Worlds of Adventure, the world’s largest indoor theme park. He also held the Park Operations Manager position at Blackpool Pleasure Beach, UK’s largest amusement park. Neil also spent time in various other theme parks in the UK including managing the operations of Camelot Theme Park and being instrumental in the development of Spooky World - a multi-million-pound Halloween attraction in Cheshire, UK.

Neil is also a Committee Member for the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) where he sits on the Amusement Parks and Attractions Constituency Committee. He is also recognized by IAAPA who conferred their highest level of accreditation, IAAPA Certified Attractions Executive (ICAE).

In addition to his Bachelor’s degree and various management qualifications, Neil holds a Master of Science degree from the University of Central Lancashire, UK in International Tourism, specializing in Visitor Attraction Management. He is currently working towards a Doctorate in Business Administration.

Massimiliano Freddi, ICAE

Massimiliano Freddi - ICAE


After being in charge of marketing and press for the Italian market of Disneyland Paris, he joined Leolandia, the most popular Italian amusement park for children under 10. As general manager and vice president of strategic development, he oversaw the park's 300 percent expansion.

Since 2016, he has been a member of the coaching staff for Seth Godin's AltMBA and a professor of Marketing and Experience Design at IULM University in Milan. He teaches consumer experience, marketing, and soft skills as an adjunct professor at the same university where the first Italian course in Theme Parks and Attractions Management was introduced.

He founded Wonderwood, an adventure park for all ages, in 2018 and currently serves as the park's CEO.
Since 2023, he serves as the Second Vice Chair on the IAAPA board of directors.


Maya Mattar

Executive Director
Lasting Impressions

French Lebanese born and raised, Maya Mattar is a people-development professional, educator, and speaker. In her 20 years of working in the service industry, with international experience across the Middle East and Southeast Asia, she has helped more than 10,000 individuals develop their skills. Maya has a master’s degree in Coaching Psychology and is passionate about helping individuals and organizations “change their doing by changing the viewing”. Maya was part of the award-winning Emirates Airline service training team and has led the core opening teams responsible in setting up, opening and operating different businesses in the leisure and entertainment sector for worldwide franchises and local organizations. Maya is the author of Amazon best seller book "Lasting Impressions - The Framework for Consistent Service Delivery". This book is a must-read for those in the service industry who are looking for practical tips and techniques on delivering excellence.

Nyck Murphy

Nyck Murphy

Head of Entertainment
IMG Worlds of Adventure

Olivia Wyrick

Olivia Wyrick

Senior Director Water Theme Park Operations and Aquatics
Six Flags Qiddiya



10 a.m. | Check-in


10:30 a.m. | Welcome and Introduction


11 a.m. | Food & Beverage


12 p.m. | Break


12:15 p.m. | Human Resources 1


13:15 p.m. | Lunch


14:15 p.m. | Human Resources 1


15:30 p.m. | Break


15:45 | Facility Operations 1


17:00 p.m. | Break


17:15 p.m. | Facility Operations 2


18:30 p.m. | End of Day 1


9 a.m. | Check-in


9:30 a.m. | Games and Merchandise


10:30 a.m. | Finance


11:45 p.m. | Break


12 p.m. | Entertainment 1


13:00 p.m. | Lunch


14:00 p.m. | Information Technology (IT)


15:00 p.m. | Marketing


16:00 p.m. | Break


16:15 p.m. | Entertainment 2


17:30 p.m. | End of Day 2


10 a.m. | Online Learning Portal Overview and Program Conclusion


10:30 a.m. | EDUTour Ferrari World Abu Dhabi


11:30 a.m. | Lunch and Networking Reception


12:30 p.m. | End of Institute for Attractions Professionals


Course Learning Objectives:

During the program, participants will:

  • Identify industry trends
  • Identify challenges and opportunities for different entertainment show types
  • Explore best practices to predict, meet, and exceed guests’ expectations
  • Conduct a risk assessment for your facility and proactively prevent hazards
  • Interpret food and beverage metrics and data Food & Beverage Includes a lunch buffet daily, coffee breaks and Networking reception at Ferrari World.


  • Please note: Individuals who previously completed the Institute for Attractions Managers course should not register.
  • Attendance on two classroom days and the self-paced content is required. Registration covers the complete course program.
  • Agenda subject to change




Maximize your Abu Dhabi journey! Following the IAAPA Institute for Attractions Professionals, extend your visit to connect with prominent local stakeholders and explore the latest industry trends at the IAAPA Middle East Trade Summit 2024. Secure your place now for this exclusive event, taking place from January 22 – 24, 2024.

For more details regarding IAAPA Institute for Attractions Professionals, please contact Tom Van Liefferinge at [email protected]