The global growth of the entertainment industry will be driven by emerging markets such as the Middle East, report PricewaterhouseCoopers' advisory services senior manager Kate Simpson and senior consultant Amit Caspi following their latest study.
Over the next five years, global spending on entertainment and media is projected to rise at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.6%, from US $1.6 trillion in 2007 to $2.2 trillion in 2012, with emerging markets acting as the engine of global growth according to PricewaterhouseCoopers Global and Media Outlook 2008-12.
The forecast for the global theme park and amusement park sector remains good, with spending expected to grow at a 5% CAGR during the period from 2008 to 2012 - increasing from $24.1 billion in 2007 to $30.7 billion in 2012.
The current emergence of the UAE as a major tourist destination is the main driver for theme park sector growth in Europe, Middle East and Africa.
While the United States remains the largest market in this sector by size, Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) is expected to be the fastest growing market over this period at 6.7% CAGR - with an increase in spending from $4.9 billion in 2007 to $6.8 billion in 2012.
The theme park market in the EMEA region is currently dominated by European destinations. However, the emergence of the UAE as a major tourist destination is the main driver for growth in EMEA.
With many major entertainment companies having announced plans to build theme parks in the area, the UAE - and in particular Dubai - is now becoming one of the world's fastest-growing tourist destinations with such projects expected to bring up to 15 million tourists to the emirates annually by 2015.
The current scale of anticipated developments positions the UAE as a significant emerging player in the theme and amusement park arena.
With companies such as Six Flags, Merlin Entertainments Group and Busch Entertainment Corporation entering the region, revenues are projected to reach $550 million by 2012.In Dubai, Dubailand is expecting to house the largest collection of amusement parks in the world.
To date, there are currently 23 different projects being planned for Dubailand, including projects such as Tigerwoods Dubai, the first golf course designed by Tiger Woods, and Universal City Dubai, a partnership between Tatweer and Universal Parks.
Elsewhere in Dubai, the opening of Atlantis, The Palm next month will include the largest water-themed attraction in the Middle East - Aquaventure.
Abu Dhabi also has ambitious plans for this sector, with Warner Brothers Studios and Aldar Properties announcing plans for a theme park, hotel, and multiplex cinema in the city by 2011.
Another highly-anticipated major attraction is the Ferrari and Aldar Properties Ferrari theme park expected to be complete by 2009.
The park will house 24 attractions including roller coasters and thrill rides as well as a Formula One race track, which will host the Formula One Grand Prix for the first time in 2009.
A key strength for UAE theme park developments will be the positioning of the themed attractions as part of larger 'destinations', adding hotels, shopping areas, residential and commercial facilities adjacent to the parks to increase attendance with multi-day stays and encourage people to make return visits.
Consequently, with correct positioning and successful delivery of the pipeline of parks envisaged over the coming years, the UAE is expected to become an increasingly dominant player in the theme park and amusement park sector globally.For all the latest travel news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.
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