Theme Parks in the MENA region

How the Middle East is changing amusement parks for the better

  Even though there are still large regional variations, we are seeing a significant global growth within the attractions market. The markets in North America and Europe are already quite mature and are only seeing an organic growth, while in the Middle East and Asia are seeing a lot of new developments. That’s the reason why in the long-term, the attractions market in these countries will grow and prosper. IP-oriented brand attractions always had a certain pull factor, which has intensified in recent years. Take the examples of LEGOLAND at Dubai Parks and Resorts, Marvel at IMG Worlds of Adventure (the largest indoor theme park in the world) or Ferrari World Abu Dhabi. All these parks have gained recognition in the last few years, showing that the Middle East is really trying to grow in this industry and it may have found the perfect combo to do so. According to IAAPA’s Global Theme and Amusement Park Outlook Report 2015-2019, the Middle East wants to become a major destination for tourists, with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) as the main driver. New parks, attractions, and hotels are currently under construction in the UAE, mostly in Dubai. According to the Report, the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region is expected to be the fastest growing over the next five years. The theme parks in the UAE are dialing up the "smart" visitor experience to ensure the country remains one of the world’s fastest-growing markets, industry experts announced today, ahead of the Dubai Entertainment, Amusement, and Leisure Show. According to a report by the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA), theme parks are growing faster in the MENA region than any other part of the world, and the UAS is the dominant market there. The visitor spending at the UAE theme park is set to grow from US$105 million in 2016 to $637 million by 2020, the report stated. As a matter of fact, a London-based market research firm, PricewaterhouseCoopers, predicts that the UAE’s theme park visitors could account for nearly two-thirds of the UAE’s projected 30 million visitors by 2021. Experts agreed the theme parks in the MENA region are serving as ideal case studies for the advanced technology that will fuel the premier mega-event of Expo 2020 Dubai. Dubai is a rapidly growing center for the Middle East’s attractions industry. A gateway to many emerging markets, and the perfect destination to have hosted the IAAPA Leadership Conference in February 2019.

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