Exclusive: Dubai primed for attractions boom, says Worlds of Adventure CEO
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Exclusive: Dubai primed for attractions boom, says Worlds of Adventure CEO

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New IMG Worlds of Adventure CEO, Lennard Otto, has said that Dubai is the perfect location for the under-development theme park, praising an up-and-coming economy which he believes is primed for the attractions market.

Covering 1.5 million sq ft (139,354sq m), Worlds of Adventure will be the world’s largest indoor theme park when it opens in Dubai in early 2016. The themed entertainment destination will feature zones based on Cartoon Network, Marvel and Lost Valley – Dinosaur Adventure, all interconnected via the IMG Boulevard. The park has the capacity to welcome more than 20,000 guests a day.

“The whole park was conceptualised by our owners, the Ilyas & Mustafa Galadari,” said Otto speaking exclusively to Attractions Management.

“This was their entire vision and the structure of what they wanted to build. They managed to acquire two strong brands in Marvel and Cartoon Network, and they always wanted to build a dinosaur component of their own.

“They had a really strong vision of what they wanted to build and realised that, at the moment, this market is void of a quality entertainment destination of this scale. This is an untapped market today and they’ve seen that gap in the market. This will be an iconic addition.”

Greg Lombardo, the man heading up the Fox theme park coming to the region in 2018, recently told Attractions Management that Dubai was becoming an alternate to Orlando, an opinion echoed by Otto.

“Dubai is such a central hub within the Middle East itself,” said Otto. "As a location on the global map it’s four hours from one third of the world’s population. In that market and in that radius you don’t have anything available on this scale for the global attractions base.

“The current trend seems to be Dubai becoming ‘Orlando 2.0’. The competitive landscape is shaping up quite nicely. There are a lot of attractions coming in which will eventually turn it into the Orlando-based model where theme parks will be one of the key attractions to drive people here. There’s no reason why it can’t become that. Dubai has more hotel rooms available than Orlando and the airport is twice as busy.”

With hotel occupancy booming and Dubai on target to attract 20 million tourists annually by 2020, parks such as IMG will be crucial in keeping visitors coming back to the emirate, with Otto declaring the park would be key in maintaining that figure after the 2020 World Expo.

“This will be one of the iconic attractions to keep the momentum moving forward for Dubai, especially as a year-round option, it will support the country quite heavily during the down season over the summer season,” he said.

“We’re looking to see if we can increase visitation in that period in the country itself, something the tourism authority is very excited about. 20 million for 2020 is the goal for Dubai. It’s on target for that and we are here to support that vision.”

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New IMG Worlds of Adventure CEO, Lennard Otto, has said that Dubai is the perfect location for the under-development theme park, praising an up-and-coming economy which he believes is primed for the attractions market.
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