15 - 17 April, 2019
The Meydan Hotel, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Conference Day One: Tuesday, 16th April 2019

8:00 am - 9:00 am Registration and networking

9:00 am - 9:20 am IQPC welcome address

9:20 am - 9:30 am Chairperson’s opening remarks

Creating cities of entertainment: Strategic investment opportunities for theme parks, water parks and entertainment development in the Middle Eastiddle East


Gillian Hamburger - Senior Vice President, Commercial, Expo 2020
Creating a lasting destination legacy with world-class attractions, mega event and 25 million visits by 2020
We have seen a new era for the UAE over the past few years with the opening of Warner Bros, IMG World, Dubai Parks and Resorts and other mega attractions joining the likes of Ferrari World, Aquaventure and Yas Waterworld. This keynote presentation will demonstrate how the UAE has a unique opportunity to position itself as a major leisure destination on a global scale and enjoy the success of in other markets such as Orlando, Tokyo and Singapore.

In this session, we will examine:

  • Reviewing the first World Expo to be hosted in the MEASA (Mid East, Africa & South Asia) region in 165 years, the importance of the project to the UAE
  • How theme park, waterpark and attraction development can contribute to the UAE economy and the vision to become a global tourism hub?
  • Developing entertainment clusters containing theme parks and waterparks to make the UAE a top amusement destination
  • Recognising the importance of entertainment destination positioning to take full advantage of benefits they can bring and ensure maximum ROI

Gillian Hamburger

Senior Vice President, Commercial
Expo 2020

9:50 am - 10:00 am Regional Trailblazer: Saudi Arabia’s Strategic $64 Billion Entertainment Investment To Encourage Local Spending And Attract International Visitors

Ramzi Solh - CEO, Commercial Development, King Abdullah Economic City
Saudi Arabia has announced plans to spend billions to diversify the Saudi economy from in slump in energy prices and establish the entertainment sector as a source of growth. Saudi is currently splurging billions on entertainment in neighboring countries such as Dubai and Bahrain. This session will demonstrate how their $64 billion investment in entertainment will drive the economy and contribute to the ‘don’t travel’ initiative.

In this session, we will examine:

  • Examine how the Qiddiya Entertainment City ‘giga project’ will strive to attract 17 million annual visitors by 2030
  • Outlining strategic investment plans to capture the two-thirds of Saudi’s population of 32 million under the age of 35
  • Driving entertainment development to recapture the $30 billion currently spent outside Saudi on tourism and entertainment



Ramzi Solh

CEO, Commercial Development
King Abdullah Economic City

10:10 am - 10:30 am Reserved For Lead Sponsor

10:30 am - 11:00 am EXECUTIVE THINK TANK: DESTINATION EXPERIENCES: Moving away from stand alone attractions through the creation of all inclusive destinations to attract millions of visitors a year

Ali AlSuwaidi - Chief Operating Officer, Global Village Family, Leisure & Entertainment Destination
Khaled Altareri - Vice Director General, Ministry of Commerce & Investment, Saudi Arabia
Matthew Priddy - Executive Director, Qiddiya Investment Company
Over 40 million annual guests go through the gates at Walt Disney Resort per year. Why? Because theme parks and waterparks are no longer a stand alone attraction, they are an experience and a destination in their own right. This exclusive panel discussion will discuss how to unite stand alone attractions under one brand that captures the mind of families all over the world.

Key Question: What are the key considerations to developing a world class mega entertainment resort in the Middle East

In this session, we will examine:

  • Understanding why hotels are a key component of the World’s leading theme park complexes such as Walt Disney World
  • Partnering with airlines, retail outlets and restaurants to create an all inclusive experience
  • Uncovering how to drive visitor attraction by offering a diverse range of entertainment options that ensures they never want to leave the resort
  • Unifying and aligning brands and experience to magical heights


Ali AlSuwaidi

Chief Operating Officer
Global Village Family, Leisure & Entertainment Destination


Khaled Altareri

Vice Director General
Ministry of Commerce & Investment, Saudi Arabia


Matthew Priddy

Executive Director
Qiddiya Investment Company

11:00 am - 11:20 am REGIONAL TRAILBLAZER: Exclusive Abu Dhabi Case Study: Uncovering the billion dollar entertainment project making Abu Dhabi one of the ‘World’s Greatest Places’ to experience in 2018

Abu Dhabi is spending billions of dollars on theme park and entertainment development demonstrating the UAE’s strategic development plans to achieve global leadership as a family entertainment and leisure destination.

In this session, we will examine:

  • Why entertainment development is a ‘new chapter’ for Abu Dhabi’s journey and the emirates status as a leading global family entertainment destination
  • Analysing Abu Dhabi’s strategy of creating entertainment clusters to attract people of all ages as well as international visitors from across the globe
  • Highlighting how immersive theme parks and entertainment attractions in Abu Dhabi compliment each other and how they can capitalise from one and other
  • Uncovering innovative immersive strategies that provide visitors with a unique and exciting leisure experience in Abu Dhabi

11:20 am - 12:00 pm Speed networking and coffee break

Swap business-cards and break the ice with your fellow participants to start making those valuable connections

Becoming The Number One Entertainment Destination: How To Differentiate Your Attraction To Achieve Millions Of Visitors Per Year

In the era of smart living, entertainment attractions must provide a seamless, frictionless experience. In the modern world consumers organise their lives in a digital, mobile manner and when they enter parks they expect the same. Key question: How can entertainment destinations create a single, integrated and unified experience across multiple parks, retail outlets, dining and attractions to increase ROI and visitor experience?

Senior leadership should therefore acknowledge:

  • Visitor convenience: How do park operators provide a connected eco system from booking tickets to finding rides with lower waiting times and deciding the right cuisine?
  • How to deliver a seamless and engaging visitor experience through mobile applications, wristbands, smart kiosks and digital signage
  • Does the future of a successful convenient entertainment resorts look cashless and paperless?

Shane Dallas

Social Media Specialist, Keynote Speaker & Trainer,
The Travel Camel


Jim Greene

Director – Location Strategy
Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, Orlando, Florida


Lennard Francois Otto

Chief Executive Officer
IMG World Worlds of Adventure


Abdullah Barakat

Senior Manager - Ticketing System/POS
Dubai Parks and Resorts

Alaa AlShroogi

Director Visitor Enhancement, Visitor Experience
EXPO 2022

12:40 pm - 1:10 pm INTERNATIONAL TRAILBLAZER: Universal Parks & Resorts, Orlando share key insights on how to revamp your engagement strategy to attract, engage and retain the new generation of consumer

Paul Osterhout - Vice President, Universal Parks and Resorts, Orlando, Florida
Today we see a different kind of audience: people who grew up on video games, steaming content, the instant exchange of information from the Internet and social media.
The new generation doesn’t want to be told to sit back and passively receive something, but rather they are programmed to actively engage with their entertainment, making them not just observers, but members of an activated community. Keeping audience attention is more important and more difficult than grabbing audience attention.
Join Paul Osterhout for his exclusive insights and interactive session on audience engagement and what it really means to tell a story in a theme park environment.

In this session, we will examine:

  • Strategic tactics to attract and engage Millennials and Gen Z to increase loyalty and park footfall
  • What does storytelling in a theme park actually entail? Uncovering success factors in storytelling to deliver the ultimate park experience
  • How storytelling, attractions and technology need to work seamlessly together to elevate park experience
  • Exclusive case study examples


Paul Osterhout

Vice President
Universal Parks and Resorts, Orlando, Florida

1:10 pm - 1:30 pm REGIONAL TRAILBLAZER: Park Wars: Ensuring your entertainment destination stays top of the leader board in a fast changing industry

Senior Representative - ., Farah Experiences
The amusement park capitals of the world Orlando, Tokyo and Singapore all have multiple entertainment offerings such as theme parks, water parks, animal parks, family entertainment centres and with a number of projects in the pipeline the UAE is not far behind. Whilst the growing number of projects fosters synergy and creates more choice for consumers it also means more competition for the operators.

Key question: How can entertainment destinations ensure visitors return and find new ways to create lasting memories year after year?

In this session, we will examine:

  • Strategic ideas to ensure customers stay longer and spend more money at your destination rather than other facilities
  • Keeping up with trends and ensuring a project pipelines to ensure visitors can return and enjoy something new
  • The advantage of IPs and themed entertainment in driving visitors who have confidence in the brand
  • Establishing unique loyalty programmes and family packages to drive footfall


Senior Representative

Farah Experiences

1:30 pm - 2:30 pm Networking lunch break

Driving New Revenue Streams: Strategic Partnerships And Retail Strategy’s To Drive Secondary Revenue

2:30 pm - 3:00 pm EXCLUSIVE INSIGHTS: ‘The happiest place on Earth’ Discover how Walt Disney Parks and Resorts are making magic through an effective retail strategy to sky rocket your parks sales!

Jim Greene - Director – Location Strategy, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, Orlando, Florida
There is no doubt about it that Walt Disney Parks and Resorts have solidified themselves as the undisputed leader in theme park attendance and have mastered exceptional customer experience. Making billions of dollars annually from its parks and resorts around the globe and attracting over 150 million guests, it has become known as one of ‘happiest places on earth’ for entertainment lovers.

But Walt Disney is not just a theme park attraction; it’s a resort with a successful retail strategy where guests can shop for relevant products and services. So how does Walt Disney Parks and Resorts use its ‘magic’ to drive retail revenues? This exclusive presentation will discuss how to increase sales through an effective retail strategy

In this session, we will examine:

  • How to improve the commercial viability of your theme park with the right retail strategy
  • Uncover Disney’s effective retail location strategy to encourage patrons to keep shopping
  • Identify how you can boost customer experience and revenue with right retail strategy

Jim Greene

Director – Location Strategy
Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, Orlando, Florida

3:00 pm - 3:20 pm Reserved For Sponsor

3:20 pm - 3:40 pm REGIONAL TRAILBLAZER: Differentiation is key: IMG’s competitive and intensive growth strategies to ensure leadership as a leading Middle East attraction

Lennard Francois Otto - Chief Executive Officer, IMG World Worlds of Adventure
As the region’s first international mega-themed leisure and entertainment destination, the opening of IMG Worlds of Adventure as the world’s largest indoor theme park was a major milestone for the UAE’s tourism industry. Featuring adrenaline pumping rides and attractions based on global brands Cartoon Network and Marvel has attraction millions of visitors both regionally and internationally.
With Theme Parks and entertainment development on the rise, this session will discuss how IMG aim to differentiate their park to remain one of the Middle East tourism hotspots.

In this session, we will examine:

  • IMG success stories and expansion plans for the future
  • Discovering how IMG are using innovation and technology to drive international and regional visitor attendance
  • How IMG Worlds offer unbeatable entertainment 365 days a year, appealing to audiences of all ages
  • Beyond attractions: How IMG host live events and celebrate special occasions with in-house festivities to increase park footfall

Lennard Francois Otto

Chief Executive Officer
IMG World Worlds of Adventure

3:40 pm - 4:00 pm Reserved For Sponsor

DXB Entertainments model for success: The importance of acquisition and deployment of strategic partners for the success of any leisure and entertainment resort
Generation of revenue lines through the integration of regional and international partners for theme Parks along with conceptualisation and deployment of a successful commercial framework to create alternate revenue.
This exclusive presentation by DXB Entertainments demonstrates how they have developed a number of strategic partnership deals where partners such as First Abu Dhabi Bank, Etisalat, Pepsi, McDonald’s, Baskin Robbins etc. have invested millions of dirhams commercially and provided them with marketing support to promote and sale offerings.

  • Determining how the right partners can successfully enhance the your entertainment attractions overall profits
  • How partners can compliment the attractions markets and communications to deliver a worldwide audience
  • The right match: Examining the factors that must be considered when choosing the right partners for your attraction

Manu Singh

Associate Director, Strategic Partnerships and Commercial Projects
DXB Entertainments



4:20 pm - 5:00 pm Preventing a rollercoaster nightmare: Ensuring world-class safety management and standards for your theme park and attractions


4:20 pm - 5:00 pm Pushing the boundaries with theming and storytelling


4:20 pm - 5:00 pm How can technology provide a seamless, connected experience providing personalization for every visitor


4:20 pm - 5:00 pm Transforming operational efficiency of theme parks through innovation and technology to offer the ultimate customer experience

5:00 pm - 5:15 pm Wrap Up & Closing Remarks

5:15 pm - 6:30 pm Networking Party & Awards

6:30 pm - 6:30 pm We Want To Recognise The Most Innovative And Creative Leaders That Stand Out From The Crowd. Put Your Work Forward And Attain Fame And Glory As An Industry Innovator!

Are you pushing the boundaries in theme park and entertainment in the region?

  • Best New Attraction of the Year 
  • Water park of the Year 
  • Best Partnership Award 
  • CEO of the Year 
  • Best Customer Experience Award
  • Theme Park of the Year
  • Indoor Entertainment Centre of the Year
  • Innovation Award