PwC report suggests UAE to become serious theme park competitor to Orlando by 2021
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PwC report suggests UAE to become serious theme park competitor to Orlando by 2021

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New research from Pricewaterhousecoopers’ (PwC) Middle East division has suggested that the UAE is starting to challenge for the capital of global entertainment and leisure crown as theme park revenues have been forecast to shoot up 78 per cent by 2019, with the region becoming a serious competitor to Orlando by 2021.

Increasing from AED1.7bn (US$470m, €420m, £306m) in 2015 to a predicted AED3bn (US$837m, €748m, £545m) in 2019, UAE’s transformation into a world-class leisure and entertainment destination, which was released as part of the ‘Mega Trends’ panel at September’s Vision Conference held in Dubai, cited five major theme parks currently under development, three of which are part of the AED10bn (US$2.7bn, €2.4bn, £1.8bn) Motiongate Dubai mega-resort, as a reason for the significant increase in the coming years.

As recently as Aecom’s 2013 Theme Park Index, no Middle East attractions appeared among the top 25 theme parks worldwide, though this is predicted to change at a rapid pace with the establishment of the UAE as an ‘Orlando 2.0’.

“Globally, theme parks in Europe, the Far East and the US, Orlando in particular, dominate the market," said Philip Shepherd, Middle East Hospitality and Leisure leader at PwC speaking at the trends panel.

“However, theme parks in the UAE have the potential to see over 18 million visits by 2021, versus Hong Kong’s 15 million, where venues including Ocean Park and Hong Kong Disneyland and have previously dominated top theme parks in the world lists. With its central global location and excellent hospitality facilities, we predict the UAE has the potential to become a serious rival to theme park world leader Orlando by 2021.”

The theme parks currently under development by Dubai Parks and Resorts, including Legoland Dubai, Motiongate Dubai and Bollywood Parks Dubai, are expected to generate Dh2.4bn (US$653m, €584m, £423m) in revenue in their first year of operations and create 5,000 new jobs. At the Dubai Entertainment, Amusement and Leisure (DEAL) show in June, organisers of the conference said that Dubai’s theme parks would be generating US$5bn (€4.5bn, £3.1bn) annually by 2020, the year of the Dubai Expo.

The PwC report says that ultimate success in the theme park realm will be dependent on successful collaboration between the region’s Emirates, hotels and other visitor attractions to provide a complementary and complete offering to tourists. The UAE’s government is currently in the process of attempting to double the number of tourist arrivals over the next six years to more than 30 million visitors a year. The report also cited good inbound and internal transportation links, a wide selection of hotels, plenty of retail and restaurant outlets, plus existing theme park and leisure attractions as key enablers for the predicted boom.

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New research from Pricewaterhousecoopers’ (PwC) Middle East division has suggested that the UAE is starting to challenge for the capital of global entertainment and leisure crown as theme park revenues have been forecast to shoot up 78 per cent by 2019, with the region becoming a serious competitor to Orlando by 2021.
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