Dubai theme parks ‘to generate $5bn by 2020’

Trade events also a key driver of visitors to Dubai, and can further boost the leisure and entertainment industry, says trade-show organiser

PHOTO: Dubai has an ambitious aim to welcome 20 million visitors a year by 2020. Credit: Shutterstock

Theme parks in Dubai will generate close to $5 billion by 2020 as the country seeks to welcome 20 million visitors a year by that time, according to estimates.

With millions of tourists expected, amusement operators would do well to innovate and take the industry to the next level, according to a statement by the organisers of the Dubai Entertainment, Amusement and Leisure Show (DEAL), quoted by UAE news agency WAM.

“The theme-park industry is scaling the growth trajectory in the UAE. Entertainment and leisure projects within the UAE and across GCC have boosted the confidence of the amusement and leisure industry manifold,” said Abdul Rahman Falaknaz, Chairman, IEC and organiser of the DEAL Show.

Theme-park projects underway include the $2.9 billion Dubai Parks and Resorts project, which will include the Motiongate, Legoland and Bollywood attractions. The development is currently under construction near Jebel Ali in Dubai.

The UAE can expect to welcome 18 million visitors to its theme parks by 2021, according to a separate report by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).

Apart from existing and upcoming theme park developments, another key factor driving growth in visitors to Dubai is the MICE (meetings, incentives, conferencing, exhibitions) sector, Falaknaz pointed out.

“This also brings in considerable amount of footfall as families merge business with leisure activities and that further propels the theme park industry,” he said.

The wider Gulf region can also expect a boom in tourism as new amusement developments are being planned and executed. One such project is Oman’s biggest indoor theme park, Majarat Oman, which will be able to accommodate 2,500 to 3,000 visitors a day.

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