Attractions industry news

11 Oct 2017

Blackpool Pleasure Beach MD Amanda Thompson to lead IAAPA in 2020

Amanda Thompson OBE will become only the third woman to chair IAAPA in its 100-year history, after the global attractions body announced the Blackpool Pleasure Beach managing director would take over in 2020.

Thompson was elected second vice chair of IAAPA at a meeting on 25 September, a position she will hold through 2018, before becoming first vice chair in 2019 and then chair in 2020.

The Thompson family has been involved with Blackpool Pleasure Beach for more than a century, with the attraction first established by her great-grandfather, WG Bean, in 1896. Her grandfather, Leonard Thompson, assumed leadership in 1931, and her father Geoffrey oversaw the business from 1976 until 2004.

Amanda has led the park as managing director since then, with her brother Nicholas Thompson serving as the attraction’s deputy managing director.

In addition to becoming only the third woman in a century to chair the global trade association, the appointment represents a series of firsts for IAAPA. British-born Thompson will become the first woman from Europe to chair IAAPA and it will be the first time a second member of the same family has chaired the association – following on from her father Geoffrey who led IAAPA in 1996.

On top of her work at Blackpool Pleasure Beach, in 1982 Thompson founded Stageworks Worldwide Productions, an entertainment company that produces shows around the world. She has also been involved with IAAPA for a number of decades, having served two terms on the IAAPA Board of Directors, while currently chairing the IAAPA Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) Regional Advisory Committee. In 2012 she was awarded an Order of the British Empire honor for her services to tourism.

"Thanks to my grandfather, Blackpool Pleasure Beach became the first IAAPA member outside the US when he joined the association in 1935," said Thompson.

"Today, I'm excited for this opportunity to give back to this industry I love. It's been a part of our family and our family business for many decades. I want to ensure that IAAPA is the global association of our industry and that we support and serve our members in all regions. I hope to serve as a role model for the increasing number of young women leaders in the attractions industry."

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