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IAAPA Develops New Institute for Executive Education


Related: Michael Mack joins IAAPA Europe Advisory Board / S&S Worldwide Received Top Honors at 2009 IAAPA Show

Association Partners with San Diego State University to Develop and Host Experience-Based Management Development Program for Attractions Industry Professionals

The International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) will partner with the L. Robert Payne School of Hospitality and Tourism Management at San Diego State University (SDSU) to develop and present the IAAPA Institute for Executive Education Jan. 30 – Feb. 4, 2011. The new program is designed specifically for owners, executives, and senior-level leaders in the worldwide attractions industry. The program will use San Diego-area attractions as classroom settings where participants will help analyze and develop solutions to industry-specific challenges. The coursework will be led by university faculty and leading experts from attractions such as theme parks, waterparks, zoos, and family entertainment centers. The Institute will also give participants the opportunity to network with attractions professionals from around the world.

Executive Skill Building

The Institute for Executive Education is designed to enhance and develop critical skills essential for executive leadership. Covering financial metrics, strategic thinking, and the key components of successful execution, the program will help participants in leadership positions refine their skills and further their careers. Participants will also learn how to develop their management teams by providing feedback and creating a culture that is open to and embraces change. Through self reflection and colleague feedback, participants will gain insight into their personal approaches to problem-solving, strategic thinking, and leadership.

Content Tailored for the Attractions Industry

The topics covered during the institute will include those unique to the attractions industry: sense-of-urgency marketing; the importance of compelling branding; public relations; balancing capacity and guest satisfaction; working with a young work force; government relations and working with regulators; risk management; revenue management; working with financial partners; and managing an asset-intensive organization. The program will cover these topics in the context of the important issues and trends affecting the industry today, including consolidation and changing capital markets.

Institute Combines Classroom Learning and Attractions Industry Field Experience

The Institute for Executive Education will combine classroom lectures from SDSU faculty and attractions industry leaders, with site visits to some of San Diego’s world-renowned attractions such as SeaWorld and the San Diego Zoo. The curriculum will include group projects and pre- and post-program work utilizing the latest in online learning technology. Participants will receive credit that can be applied toward IAAPA’s new certification program for attractions industry executives.

“This is exactly the type of executive education program our industry needs, ” said Chip Cleary, senior vice president of Palace Entertainment/Parques Reunidos and chairman of IAAPA. “It provides the appropriate academic experience in the specific context of our industry. I’m confident those who participate will get a great deal out of the Institute and contribute at a higher level to their organization when they get back home.”

"No other association can provide an executive-level training course for the attractions industry that creates a collaborative network and a genuine hands-on experience with world-class brands, " said Ted Molter, director of marketing for the world-famous San Diego Zoo and chairman of the IAAPA Education Committee. "As a global association, IAAPA education programs are designed to enhance training and promote the value and benefits of safe, family-friendly experiences while reinforcing the global influence and responsibility of the attractions industry."

The cost of the program is $3, 500 per participant and includes tuition, education materials, access to the San Diego attractions involved in the program, five nights’ accommodations, most meals, and ground transportation. Enrollment is limited to 30 people, and space will be available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Those interested in learning more or participating in IAAPA’s Institute of Executive Education should contact John Henderson, IAAPA’s vice president of education, professional development, and training services, at or +1 703/836-4800.

About San Diego State University

San Diego State University is the oldest and largest higher education institution in the San Diego region. Since it was founded in 1897, the university has grown to offer bachelor’s degrees in 84 areas, master’s degrees in 76 areas, and doctorates in 16 areas. SDSU’s approximately 30, 000 students participate in an academic curriculum distinguished by direct contact with faculty and an increasing international emphasis that prepares them for a global future. For more information, visit


IAAPA is the premier trade association for the attractions industry worldwide. Founded more than 90 years ago, IAAPA is the largest international trade association for permanently situated amusement facilities and attractions worldwide and is dedicated to the preservation and prosperity of the amusement industry. IAAPA represents more than 4, 000 facility, supplier, and individual members from more than 90 countries. Member facilities include amusement/theme parks, waterparks, attractions, family entertainment centers, arcades, zoos, aquariums, museums, science centers, resorts, and casinos. IAAPA is a nonprofit organization. Funds generated for the association by its involvement in trade shows and other activities are returned to the association to fund services for its members and the industry. IAAPA maintains regional offices in Europe and Latin America and will open an office in Asia in late 2010. The association’s global headquarters is in the United States.

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