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Mon 4 Aug 2008 04:00 AM

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Huge stretch for industry to support development, says theme park specialist

Boutique industry will struggle to manage simultaneous park projects in region, says president of Jack Rouse Associates.

Developing multiple theme parks in the GCC will put significant pressure on the outdoor design and construction industry, a leading theme park specialist has said.

In an interview with Commercial Outdoor Design, Keith James, president of Jack Rouse Associates, said that the size of the industry meant it would struggle to manage the fast-paced development of planned theme parks in the region.

“If everything that is talked about gets built, it will be a huge stretch for our industry to support it, because it is a boutique industry that has never been pushed to this level,” he said.

“Getting enough qualified people is a challenge. But the real challenge is on the operating side. There’s a tremendous amount of good product between the proposed parks. In the event that everything gets done, it will be sensational, but it is going to be a while before there are enough people to support everything.”

More than US$3 trillion is being invested on leisure and tourism projects in the region over the next 20 years. Projects under way include the development of parks based on Legoland and Freej animation series, as well as parks under the Universal Studios and Six Flags brands.

James is not the only industry professional to have expressed reservations over the industry’s ability to respond to the speed of theme park development in the region.

Bill Coan, president of theme park designers ITEC, earlier this year also commented that the industry supply of talent and materials would be “really taxed” to support demand.Jack Rouse Associates provides a range of services including masterplanning of theme park attractions, project management and graphic design.

To read the full interview with Keith James, see the August issue of Commercial Outdoor Design.

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