Dubai to emerge as a ‘theme park destination’ similar to Orlando

Two new massive theme park complexes are scheduled to open this year in the emirate



With Dubai geared to see the opening of two new massive theme park complexes this year – IMG World of Adventure and Dubai Parks and Resorts – the emirate is prepping itself to emerge as a favoured destination for theme park enthusiasts.

That’s according to the recently appointed chief executive officer of IMG World of Adventure Lennard Otto.

In an exclusive interview with Gulf Business, Otto confirmed that the theme park is 80 per cent complete and on track to open in early 2016. He refused to divulge further details about the launch.

Spread across 1.5 million square feet, IMG will become the world’s largest multi-brand indoor theme park when it opens. It will feature four zones including The Lost Valley–Dinosaur Adventure zone; Marvel and Cartoon Network zones; and IMG Boulevard.

Along with rides and attractions, it will also feature 25 retail shops and 28 food and beverage outlets. A 12-screen Novo Cinemas complex is also coming up outside the main area.

Otto confirmed that the park is targeting a 50-50 mix of tourists and residents. He was also confident that tourist numbers would increase as other leisure destinations become operational in the emirate.

“The future goal is for Dubai to become a theme park destination similar to Orlando especially because this region is untapped at present – there is nothing out there at this scale within a four-hour radius. People actually have to travel to the Far West or the Far East to visit such parks,” he said.

Despite the recent drop in tourists from markets such as Russia, Otto believed Dubai has remained dynamic in attracting new tourism segments from places like North Africa.

“America was also one of the fastest growing tourism markets in 2015 to the UAE and they already come from a culture of theme parks which makes it easier for us,” he explained.

“Looking ahead I think we will attract tourists specifically for the theme park industry. It will be a growing market because people are looking for entertainment and leisure options in the market today,” he added.