Dubai Parks and Resorts, which officially opened last month, aims to become one of the top five most visited theme park destinations in the world, according to the CEO of operator DXB Entertainments.
Set across 30.6 million sq ft, the Dhs13.2bn Dubai Parks and Resorts features three main theme parks – Hollywood themed Motiongate, Legoland Dubai and Bollywood Parks. The complex also includes a Legoland Water Park, a retail-dining district called Riverland and a Polynesian themed four-star hotel part of the Marriott Autograph Collection called Lapita.
The venue hopes to see 6.7 million ticketed visits in its first full year of operations.
Work has also begun on building the fourth theme park within the complex – Six Flags Dubai.
The new theme park is expected to include around 27 rides and attractions, including – reportedly – the world’s biggest roller coaster.
The first Six Flags theme park in the Middle East, it is scheduled to open in Q4 2019.
Speaking to Gulf Business, Raed Kajoor Al Nuaimi, CEO of DXB Entertainments confessed that it had been a “bumpy” ride to reach the opening in the last three years.
“It was a bumpy roller coaster but also a journey that was amazing – we have learned a lot. We brought a new industry to the UAE as part of the country’s vision to diversify away from oil.”
The drop in oil prices in 2014 and the consequent slowdown in the economy was a challenge, Al Nuami admitted.
“We were lucky that we had signed more than 75 per cent of the contracts [before the oil prices slump hit Dubai]. And as for the rest – because there were not too many other projects coming on as well on that mega size, contractors came with competitive prices. So that helped us a lot as well,” he explained.
“We had to build this in record time – which has never been done anywhere in the theme park industry worldwide. People used to design a project fully and then used to tender it but we designed and constructed it at the same time. Everything is do-able,” he added.
In July, the listed company also changed its name from Dubai Parks and Resorts to DXB Entertainments, reflecting its plans to expand beyond the theme park complex.
“We have created new brands that we can take elsewhere such as Motiongate and Bollywood Parks. We can also take bits and pieces of each park elsewhere such as Raj Mahal [from Bollywood Parks].”
But the company also plans to expand beyond being a theme park operator.
“We want to be in consultancy since we have the best team in the business and we have also already signed contracts.”
While that’s in the future, Al Nuami stresses that the immediate goal is very clear.
“I want Dubai Parks and Resorts to be one of the top five visited parks in the world.”