EXCLUSIVE: Al Ahli Group CEO Mohammed Khammas says UAE has enough theme parks for time being
Ambitious plans for a 20th Century Fox World theme park in Dubai are on hold due to concerns about oversupply, according to Mohammed Khammas, CEO of Al Ahli Group.
Al Ahli Group signed a global licensing deal with Twentieth Century Fox Consumer Products in 2015, allowing it to build four Fox parks anywhere outside the US.
The first one was to be a four million square feet property in Dubai adjacent to Outlet Mall, with attractions based on Fox products, such as The Simpsons, Ice Age, Night at the Museum, Planet of the Apes and Titanic.
It was due to be completed by 2020, but work has yet to begin.
“We've realised that there’s now a serious supply of theme parks in Dubai,” Khammas told Arabian Business, in an exclusive interview.
“The developers have done an amazing job, and the existing offering is perfect, but right now people should stay away from developing another one, at least for the foreseeable future.”
In recent years, Dubai Parks and Resorts has built Bollywood, Legoland, MotionGate, and Riverland, IMG World has launched next to Global Village, and Six Flags is expected to open in late 2019. Abu Dhabi has Ferrari World, with Warner Bros. Abu Dhabi opening this summer.
In the extended interview, Khammas also warned against the oversupply of identikit malls in Dubai.
“Within the same stretch of highway near here [Outlet Mall] I run into seven malls, but I can only shop in one of them," he said.
"So the distribution of the populace is going to have to be taken as a factor. I understand that developers gravitate towards what seems to make the most money, but it needs to be a sustainable business over the long run.”
Outlet Mall, which Khammas said is unique in the market for its discount prices, will more than double in size from its current 1.5 million sq ft by the end of 2019.
“We could have done it years ago but preferred to wait and judge the market on results,” he said.