UAE can rival Orlando for theme park tourism, says expert

New report says UAE theme park revenues will increase by 78% to $837m in 2019 amid construction boom
motiongate Dubai which is part of the Dubai Parks and Resorts project.
By Staff writer
Sat 12 Sep 2015 12:58 AM

UAE theme park revenues will increase by 78 percent from $470 million in 2015 to $837 million in 2019 and Dubai could quickly become a serious rival to Orlando, Florida, experts have said.

According to a report by Euromonitor International, the UAE is set to see revenues soar over the next four years as five theme parks under development take shape in the country.

These include three parks within the Dubai Parks and Resorts project - motiongate Dubai, Bollywood Parks Dubai and Legoland Dubai (2016); IMG Worlds of Adventure (2016); and Warner Bros (2018) on Abu Dhabi’s Yas Island.

No Middle East venue appeared in Aecom’s 2013 Theme Park Index which ranked the top 25 amusement parks in the world, but experts predict that this trend is set to change.

PwC Middle East will discuss UAE’s transformation into a world-class leisure and entertainment destination at the Vision Conference, part of the The Leisure Show 2015.

Philip Shepherd, Middle East hospitality and leisure leader at PwC said: “Globally, theme parks in Europe, the Far East and the US, Orlando in particular, dominate the market.

"However, theme parks in the UAE have the potential to see over 18 million visits by 2021, versus Hong Kong’s 15m, where venues including Ocean Park and Hong Kong Disneyland and have previously dominated top theme parks in the world lists.

"With its central global location, and excellent hospitality facilities, we predict the UAE has the potential to become a serious rival to theme park world leader Orlando by 2021.”

PwC said theme park success in the UAE will depend on collaborative working between the Emirates, hotels and attractions to provide a "complimentary and complete offering for tourists". 

Phil Taylor, managing director of Dubai-based Team Leisure, will discuss “Dubai theme parks: boom or bust?” at the Vision Conference.

He said: “The region is also experiencing the construction of three major museums and two safari parks alongside the record-breaking Meydan One mega-project in Dubai reported to be constructing the world’s longest indoor ski slope, and a host of other world-class attractions by 2020.

"This is arguably the most leisure development currently underway in one location in the world and is a huge undertaking. But if anywhere in the world has the resources, vision and power to pull it off, I believe it is the UAE.”

The Vision Conference takes place on September 28-30 at the Dubai World Trade Centre, part of The Hotel Show and The Leisure Show.

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