To Infinity & Beyond

Young Talent in the Attractions & Theme Park Management Symposium.

Breda University of Applied Sciences is celebrating the fifth anniversary of the first international study track of ‘Attractions & Theme Parks Management’ (ATPM) with a symposium on developments in the attractions industry.

On Wednesday 26 June, various speakers will offer their views on creating meaningful experiences in attractions and theme parks. These speakers are Dr. Carissa Baker (UCF’s Rosen College of Hospitality Management, Orlando), Wim Strijbosch (BUas PhD candidate), Olaf Vugts (Creative Director at De Efteling) and several BUas alumni who are currently working in the field of theme parks, water parks and zoos.

Symposium: To Infinity & Beyond

The title of the symposium is ‘To Infinity & Beyond’, which accurately reflects the ambition level of the ATPM study track. Coordinator Bart Stadhouders points out: “We have built up a good reputation in the market of theme parks. We are working closely together with major brands. All of our projects are real-life cases that we develop together with theme parks or tourist attractions. Moreover, our alumni are working across the entire spectrum of the industry, both nationally and internationally. We see a healthy future for our study track and its graduates.” Several alumni will also return to BUas on 26 June. Meanwhile, a substantial community has sprung up around the study track, consisting of lecturers, industry partners, students and alumni. The ambition for the next five years is to continue developing the programme and ensure, together with all partners concerned, a smooth transition of graduates into the world of work.  

A stage for young talent   

At the symposium, the stage will be given to various young talents from the theme parks industry. Dr. Carissa Baker of Rosen College from Orlando will talk about the future developments in the theme parks industry and the role of young talent in this industry. PhD student (and alumnus) Wim Strijbosch will discuss the topic of ‘The Neuroscience of Themed Entertainment’. On behalf of De Efteling, Olaf Vugts will shed light on, among other things, the collaboration between education and industry within the context of the tenth anniversary of the Efteling Academy. The afternoon will conclude with a panel consisting of former students who are all working in the industry of attractions, zoos and water parks. Led by moderator Reinoud van Assendelft de Coningh, they will talk about their young careers and their vision for the future of the industry.

Unique theme park management education

ATPM is a follow-up to the earlier specialisation area of Theme Park Management. In the ATPM study track, students are prepared for managerial positions in the international attractions market. This English-taught study track is unique in Europe and has been designed to meet the growing demand of the worldwide attractions industry for highly qualified and commercially oriented managers. These future managers are expected to be able to create and operate meaningful experiences, both at strategic and at operational level. In this study track, BUas has teamed up with IAAPA, the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions, IAAPA Foundation, and with several prominent market operators, such as De Efteling, Europa-park and Walt Disney World Resort Orlando.

Growing market has specific needs

“The international tourist attractions market is experiencing tremendous growth. In recent years, there has been an average growth of between four and five percent per year”, says Goof Lukken, one of the lecturers involved in the development of the new study track. “Many of these attractions and zoos are considering to add accommodation facilities or other forms of leisure experiences to their range of services. More and more often, they are turning into multi-day resort destinations. It has become a serious business, which increasingly requires specialist managers with a broad range of skills. These new managers have to be capable of creating and operating meaningful experiences. Aspects such as hospitality, storytelling, ethics and productivity are also becoming increasingly important.” 

Symposium Programme

Symposium Programme

12.30 Welcome with coffee/tea and a small treat

13.15 Official welcome by Elisabeth Minnemann, Chair of the Executive Board at Breda University of Applied Sciences

13.25 Word of welcome by Bart Stadhouders, Coordinator of the Attractions & Theme Parks Management Programme

13.30 Lecture by Dr. Carissa Baker on Future Developments in the Themed Entertainment Industry, UCF’s Rosen College of Hospitality Management, Orlando, USA

14.00 Lecture by Wim Strijbosch, PhD candidate on The Neuroscience of Themed Entertainment, Breda University of Applied Sciences, the Netherlands

14.30 Coffee break

15.15 Lecture by Olaf Vugts, Creative Director at the Efteling theme park, the Netherlands

15.45 Alumni forum moderated by Mr. Reinoud van Assendelft de Coningh with Yannick Dolman of Duinrell, Max Reims of the Leisure Expert Group, Inaki Laucirika del Valle of ProSlide, Koen de Lepper of Plopsa de Panne, and Timo van Boekel of Dierenpark Amersfoort

16.45 Future of ATPM and Academic-Industry Cooperation in partnership with the IAAPA Foundation by Klaus Hoven, Senior Lecturer in the Attractions & Theme Parks Management Programme

17.00 Closing with finger food and drinks

18.30 End of programme


Registration for this symposium is no longer possible.

We are looking forward to meeting you on Wednesday 26 June. Are you traveling to Breda? Come by public transport! Parking spaces will be limited as Breda University of Applied Sciences’ new campus is aiming to be green and sustainable.

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