Dubai Parks and Resorts may push back opening of Dhs2.6bn Six Flags theme park

The attraction has seen a surge in visitors this year but is undertaking a review of its expansion plans



Theme park operator DXB Entertainments reported receiving 5 per cent more visitors to its main attraction in the third quarter as it undertakes a strategic review that could see plans for a Dhs2.6bn ($707.8m) Six Flags theme park held back.

DXB unveiled a new strategy for Dubai Parks and Resorts in August 2017 and replaced key executives after visitor numbers fell short of expectations.

Read: Dubai Parks operator shakes up senior management as it unveils new strategy

It said on Tuesday it was currently undertaking a board-mandated review that could see plans for the fourth theme park, adding to existing Bollywood, Hollywood and Legoland attractions, delayed.

Read: Six Flags plans world’s biggest roller coaster in Dubai

Dubai Parks and Resorts welcomed 501,394 visitors in the three months to September 30 compared to 478,987 in the same period last year.

The company’s revenue during the period decreased 11 per cent from Dhs115m to Dhs103 ($28m) while its earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) loss improved by 23 per cent from Dhs105m to Dhs81m ($22m).

Hotel occupancy at the Lapita Hotel at the park also rose from 42 per cent to 66 per cent.

The figures brought the attraction to a 33 per cent increase in visitor numbers in the first nine months of the year, from 1.479 million to 1.964 million.

Read: Dubai Parks and Resorts records almost two million visits between Jan-Sept

Year-to-date revenue decreased 1 per cent from Dhs395m to Dhs392m ($106.7m) while its EBITDA loss improved by 51 per cent from Dhs353m to Dhs173m ($47.09m). Average occupancy for the hotel also increased from 30 per cent to 59 per cent.

DXB Entertainments said it planned to introduce 11 new shows at the Bollywood park by the first half of 2019 under an enhancement plan and had revised ticket prices ahead of the peak winter season.

“Ahead of the new winter season, we have revised our pricing structure to increase our admissions yield. Increasing in-park spend is an additional revenue driver which we are focused on through a review of merchandise and F&B options offered in the parks,” said DXB Entertainments managing director and CEO Mohamed Almulla.

“Operationally we have sought to decentralise our structure to make it more efficient and this has resulted in cost efficiencies as demonstrated by our improving EBITDA losses. Remaining areas of focus are Riverland Dubai, where we need to ensure the optimal strategy to support our tenants and to increase revenue, as well as Bollywood Parks Dubai where we are repositioning the park to provide a more inclusive family experience.”

The company said its strategic review would “determine scope, timeline and potential alternatives” for the Six Flags expansion in “light of existing customer demand”.

The planned Six Flags theme park was expected to feature the world’s biggest rollercoaster among its 27 rides and attractions.

Read: Six Flags plans world’s biggest roller coaster in Dubai

Construction began in July 2016, with expectations of a 2019 opening.

Read: Six Flags Dubai will include at least three world record breaking rides

“The full [review] results will be presented to the board before the end of the year and may have an impact on the target opening date of Six Flags Dubai,” DXB said.