Theme parks could be the next major growth industry in GCC region

Dubai's theme parks are scaling up to meet a predicted boom.
Dubai's theme parks are scaling up to meet a predicted boom.
Theme parks could be the next big business to boom in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region as park builders adopt the latest technologies and tourism is projected to boom in coming years.

Dubai's theme parks are scaling up to meet that prediction, intending to make the destinations far more innovative and creative, Abdul Rahman Falaknaz, chairman of International Expo Consults, said.

Theme parks are expected to bring more than $1.3 billion into Dubai’s economy by 2020, which is good news for amusement operators as they gear up to take the region’s theme park industry to the next level.

Lennard Otto, IMG Worlds of Adventure general manager, said Dubai presents a clear opportunity to theme park developers and operators.

“One third of the world’s population is within four hours flying time, and two thirds within eight hours,” Otto said. “The theme park industry is the next piece of the puzzle for delivering an all-round experience for residents and tourists alike. We are the first movers in this space, pioneering the indoor entertainment concept, which allows us to make the most of an untapped market.”

Otto said the latest amusement developments in the region are encouraging, boosting confidence for such projects among developers and operators -- especially indoor theme parks that can be climate controlled and are thus less seasonal attractions. As GCC is expecting to witness a tourism boom, new projects and developments are being planned and executed to draw in more tourists than ever before.

One example is Saudi Arabia’s KidzMondo Theme Park. The first branch is set to open in Riyadh in early 2017 before spreading out to other major cities of the kingdom.

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