Dubai Parks and Resorts announces 45% increase in Q1 visitors

The park posted a full year loss of Dhs1.12bn ($305m) for 2017



Theme park attraction Dubai Parks and Resorts has announced a 45 per cent increase in visitors during the first quarter of the year compared to the same period in 2017.

Operator DXB Entertainments said it welcomed 851,000 people in the first three months of the year, up from 796,000 in the fourth quarter of 2017.

Occupancy at the Lapita Hotel attached to the park rose to 62 per cent from 22 per cent in the first quarter of 2017 and 48 per cent in the fourth quarter.

The rising footfall will be a relief for the company’s management after its stock traded at record lows in recent months, down from an August 2017 high of Dhs1.77.

In late March, the firm reached a deal with creditors to restructure $1.14bn of debt after visitors numbers fell short of expectations.

Last year Dubai Parks, which comprises Bollywood, Hollywood and Legoland theme parks, targeted 6.7 million visitors but only drew in 2.3 million. It posted a full year loss of Dhs1.12bn ($305m) for 2017.

Read: Dubai theme park operator in talks to restructure $1.15bn of loans – report

“Visitor numbers are steadily increasing as we continue to focus on our core markets of GCC residents, annual pass holders and international visitation,” said DXB Entertainments CEO Mohamed Almulla.

Read: Dubai Parks to open new attractions, cuts ticket prices for UAE residents

“It is important to note that in a normal annual cycle the fourth quarter should deliver the highest visitor numbers as it is the peak tourist season for the city of Dubai and therefore quarter-on-quarter improvement is a further sign of our continued growth.”

He said the park expected to deliver year-on-year growth moving forward but warned “theme parks are seasonal in nature” .

“We anticipate the warmer second quarter to deliver lower visitation than the cooler months of the first quarter.”

Rival theme park IMG Worlds of Adventure was also said to be in talks to restructure a Dhs1.2bn ($326.7m) syndicated loan in February after it too was rumoured to be suffering from low footfall.

Read: Dubai theme park operator IMG in talks to restructure $326.7m loan

The two parks are relative pioneers in a regional industry that is becoming ever more competitive as a Warner Bros themed attraction prepares to open in Abu Dhabi this summer and Saudi Arabia embarks on its own theme park plans as part of an entertainment drive.

Read: World’s first Warner Bros theme park set to open this summer in Abu Dhabi

Read: Saudi’s PIF signs theme park deal with Six Flags