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Rising GCC temperatures 'to trigger indoor theme park footfall'

DUBAI, June 4, 2018

Indoor theme parks and family entertainment centres (FEC) have witnessed an increase in popularity in the GCC given the region's extreme temperatures which do not allow for year-long operations of outdoor theme parks, said an expert ahead of a major industry event, 'Deal 2019’ in Dubai, UAE.

The largest entertainment and leisure exhibition in the region, The 'Deal 2019’ will run from March 25  to 27, 2019 at the World Trade Centre, Dubai.

Opening its doors for the 25th time next year, the expo will represent the largest gathering of entertainment and leisure industry’s key players and visitors from the Middle East, Africa, US, Mediterranean and Asian countries.

According to the International Expo Consults (IEC), the organisers of Deal 2019, this region has seen the number of FECs in the region multiply as rising temperatures in GCC drive the residents and tourists more towards such establishments.

“The entertainment sector in the GCC, in general, is unlike that around the world. Climatic conditions such as extreme temperatures do not allow year-long operations. Hence the local industry needs to get creative and build for attractions in which the visitor’s exposure to the extreme conditions is kept to a minimal or almost no time period," stated Sharif Rahman, the chief executive of IEC.

"Since the FECs and the indoor parks are immune to the seasonality aspect, they can afford to keep the park functional throughout the year. This is one of the major reasons for their benefit and popularity in the Middle East,” he added.

The recent ‘Quality of Life Program 2020’ announcement by Saudi Arabia which detailed an investment of $35 billion in entertainment and culture could prove to be yet another game changer for the industry.

After the recent spate of social reforms, which included the revoking of a 35-year old ban on cinemas, the Saudis are aggressively trying to explore opportunities in the entertainment segment. With the new announcements, entertainment business in Saudi Arabia is bound to generate growth and its effect will be witnessed in the rest of the GCC countries as well.

The amusement and entertainment industry in the region is showing considerable growth, primarily because of the increased spending capacity of the residents, the increased number of tourists visiting the country and the corresponding availability of top attractions which keep getting updated and refreshed with the latest technology.

Dubai, for example, has been named the most visited city in the Middle East region. The city welcomed a total of 15.79 million tourists in 2017 as compared to 14.9 million the year before.

Even at this stage, the industry isn’t just sitting at its achievements and continuously expanding. End of July marks the launch of a Warner Bros theme park in Abu Dhabi. Earlier this year the region witnessed the launch of a fully-fledged Virtual Reality (VR) park in Dubai with multiple fully-immersive experiences that would transport the user to an alternate reality.

Similarly, other brands such as Ferrari World and IMG World of adventures are investing heavily in upgrading and extending their parks. IMG Worlds, already the largest indoor theme park in the world, is pushing for 2020 for the launch of its second park – IMG World of Legends. Meanwhile, construction of a new Six Flags theme park is underway at the Dubai Parks and Resorts.

The growth of theme parks industry is not just limited to the increase in their numbers but in their performance as well. DXB Entertainments, the owner of Dubai Parks and Resorts, earned $47 million in revenue for the first quarter of 2018, an increase of $3.5 million compared to the same period last year. In terms of FECs as well, there are new venues and attractions being launched in regular intervals. Recently a Dubai-based VR firm-Nuat installed its VR cube at Fun City’s Bawadi Mall location in Al-Ain, UAE.

Deal has shaped the region’s entertainment industry for the last two and a half decades and it has brought together opinion leaders and high-tech innovations all on one platform. Deal 2019 is scheduled to be held from March 25-27, 2019 at Halls 1,2.3 and 4 at the World Trade Centre, Dubai. - TradeArabia News Service

Tags: GCC | Park | High | Theme | Indoor | Temperature |

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