The International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) has announced that Merlin Entertainments CEO Nick Varney will deliver the keynote address during the GM and Owners’ Breakfast at IAAPA Attractions Expo 2017.

The largest international conference and trade show for the $39 billion global attractions industry will take place on November 13-17 at the Orange County Convention Centre in Orlando, Florida.

The GM and Owners’ Breakfast is the premier networking event for senior-level attractions industry executives from around the world, including owners, CEOs, presidents, vice presidents, and directors.

It takes place Wednesday, November 15 at 8:15 a.m. in the IAAPA Theatre at the convention centre.

Varney has more than 25 years of experience in the attractions industry, and has led UK-based Merlin Entertainments since the company was formed in 1999.

He leisure industry veteran started his career marketing fast-moving consumer goods, and went on to hold senior positions within the Tussauds Group, including marketing director of Alton Towers and head of group marketing, before he became managing director of Vardon Attractions.

In 1999, Varney led the management buyout of Vardon Attractions to form Merlin Entertainments and after a period of investment under the ownership of Blackstone, he initiated the process which led to the flotation of Merlin on the London Stock Exchange, where it has now grown to become a FTSE100 constituent.

Merlin Entertainments is a global leader in location-based family entertainment, operating more than 100 attractions in 24 countries across four continents, including amusement parks, water parks, family entertainment centres, zoos, aquariums, observation wheels and towers, hotels, and holiday villages.

The company entertains more than 60 million guests annually worldwide and employs approximately 27,000 people.

“Nick leads a company with a diverse portfolio, and we can all learn from his unique perspective on the opportunities and challenges ahead for the global attractions industry,” said IAAPA president and CEO, Paul Noland.