The UAE already rivals Orlando in the scale of transport links, hospitality and food & beverage sectors, report finds
The UAE can expect to welcome 18 million visitors to its theme parks by 2021, according to a new report by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).
The country’s total leisure and entertainment market potential is set to almost double to 45 million visitors by 2021, with international tourists accounting for 30 million, while residents and their friends and families make up the remainder.
“The UAE has come a long way to realise its global ambition of becoming a leisure and entertainment hub,” said Philip Shepherd, PwC Middle East hospitality and leisure leader.
“The country has recognised that it needs to continue investment and focus on the quality of attractions, as well as appealing to a diverse visitor base from across the world,” he added, pointing out that coordination between the Emirates will also be essential for the UAE’s success in achieving its targets.
Theme parks are set to form a crucial part of the UAE’s leisure offering, and the country will add a further five full-scale parks in the next three years. But successfully leveraging their potential means enabling visitors to enjoy multiple attractions, Shepherd said.
“Offering multi-park tickets, all inclusive packages and coordinated visitor management from booking through inbound and local transportation, hotels and attractions will be crucial.”
New projects underway include the $2.9 billion Dubai Parks and Resorts project, which will include the Motiongate, Legoland and Bollywood theme parks. The development is currently under construction near Jebel Ali in Dubai.
Existing attractions include the Yas Waterworld in Abu Dhabi and the Wild Wadi Water Park in Dubai.
Theme parks will also need to cater to the cultures of visitors from the Middle East, Asia and Europe, in addition to overcoming climate challenges, so as to be able to compete with other major entertainment destinations such as Singapore, Hong Kong and current market leader Orlando, home to the world-famous Walt Disney World, the report found.
The UAE already rivals Orlando in the scale of transport links, lodging and food & beverage sectors as well as its global location, the PwC report found. For instance, Dubai International Airport was the world’s busiest last year with 70 million international passengers annually, while the Orlando airport sees 36 million per year. Moreover, the UAE’s supply of hotel rooms was 100,000 rooms in 2014, while Orlando’s was 120,000.