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Mon 6 Jan 2020 02:23 PM

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Dubai Safari set to re-open this year after disappointing start

Outgoing director Tim Husband says that 'a whole change in management' will be needed

Dubai Safari set to re-open this year after disappointing start

Dubai Safari will require “a whole change in management” before re-opening to the public after a disappointing start, according to outgoing director Tim Husband.

The 1.19 million square park first opened its gates to the public in December 2017, but closed five months later for what was billed as ‘park improvements’. It has yet to re-open.

In an interview with the Abu Dhabi-based National newspaper, Husband – who is leaving his post to take a position in nearby Saudi Arabia – said that significant changes will be required before the park can make Dubai “proud”.

“”If it is to get back to where it was supposed to be and what Dubai can be proud of, there needs [to be] a whole change in management,” he said. “Those making decisions need to understand what they are talking about.”

As an example, Husband pointed to marketing failures that saw “no information given to the public” about the facility.

“That has been mind blowing for other zoos around the world,” he said. “With no communication, rumours started about hundreds of animals dying. That just wasn’t the case. In fact, we have had to slow down the breeding as there has been so many.”

Speaking to Gulf News, Husband said that while his biggest regret is opening the zoo, many of the thousands of initial visitors had “no respect for the park.”

“They killed so many plants. The restaurants were not ready. People littered things and trampled the gardens,” he said.

Husband added that the zoo’s staff “are making it better”, although he wouldn’t comment on a specific timeline for when it might re-open, other than it will “for sure” open this year.

“Maybe within months,” he added. “People will be surprised.”

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