Saturday 4 July 2020

Summer heat driving footfall at family entertainment centres

DUBAI, August 12, 2018

Family entertainment centres (FECs) have become an integral part of the Middle East retail entertainment business as rising temperatures drive residents and tourists more towards indoor theme parks and play areas.

Over the years, retailers have witnessed a significant change in the consumer behaviour with regards to their preferences. The mall operators along with the retailers are evolving themselves to fulfil the growing needs of immersive and convenient experiences. Family entertainment centres or FECs have become so immensely popular that their presence in shopping malls and retail centres is considered a mandatory feature.

According to International Expo Consults (IEC), organisers of Deal - Mena’s largest entertainment industry exhibition - the kids entertainment and soft play area manufacturers are currently going strong and are expected to witness continuous growth in the region in the near future as well.

Sharif Rahman, CEO, IEC, said: “Family entertainment is a big industry in the Middle East since it provides a big pull for the many tourists that visit here. Tourism and entertainment dollars are set to replace the dependency on oil as we can see with the reforms taking place in the region. Weather is another factor that helps in the migration of footfalls into the malls. Therefore during the summer break, many of the edutainment venues hold summer camps indoors that are looking after the kids while their parents are away at work.”

“It’s not just the edutainment centres that are benefitting from the heat. Many shopping malls have soft play areas that are designed to keep the children happy while the parents enjoyed a bit of retail therapy. Now you see people bring their children specifically to the mall so that they can spend a few hours playing since it’s too hot to play outside, at least for the very little ones,” added Rahman.

The edutainment space has witnessed considerable growth over the years, in fact, there are several players in the market, both big and small, and many new entrants are arriving each year. Dubai, in particular, has a lot of edutainment options that have been operational for a few years now, including Kidzania, The Playmania, OliOli and Cheeky Monkeys, among others. Emaar Entertainment recently launched its latest entry into the edutainment market with Dig It, a play space constructed around a realistic construction site which teaches children how to work together, building, creating and digging.

“While one end of the spectrum of the entertainment industry includes immersive experiences utilising the latest virtual reality technology, the other end is low tech but just as essential soft play area market. They are an integral part of most edutainment zones and can be found in almost all malls and FECs in the region. With the increased adoption of such areas in the Middle East, their demand has been rising as a result. We have had a good presence of products catering to the section as part of the Deal show in the past. We believe soft play areas will play an integral part of our upcoming show and the demand for such concepts will be visible during DEAL 2019 as well," added Rahman.

The Silver jubilee edition of Deal 2019 aims to be larger as compared to the previous 24 editions as many new exhibitors have joined the show. Last year, the show welcomed over 300 exhibitors from across 33 countries and attracted thousands of trade visitors from around the globe.

Deal 2019 will run from March 25–27, 2019 at Halls 1, 2, 3 and 4 of the World Trade Centre in Dubai. - TradeArabia News Service

Tags: Middle East | tourism | family |

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