UAE leisure market to attract 45m visitors by 2021

The country’s under development theme parks are also expected to attract about 18 million visitors, a new report shows



The UAE’s leisure and entertainment market has the potential to attract about 45 million visitors by 2021, a new study by financial services firm PwC showed.

The report estimated that the market will attract nearly 30 million visitors in the next six years while residents and their relatives will account for another 15 million.

The theme parks that are currently under development will attract about 18 million visitors, PwC said.

The UAE could also rival other entertainment destinations such as Orlando, Singapore and Hong Kong if it exploits its geographical location, attractions and investment in infrastructure.

The Emirates currently rivals Orlando in terms of scale, transport links, and food and beverage facilities, the report said.

“The UAE has come a long way to realise its global ambition of becoming a leisure and entertainment hub, and rival Orlando, which is the current market leader,” said Philip Shepherd, Partner, PwC Middle East Hospitality & Leisure leader.

“The country has recognised that it needs to continue investment and focus on the quality of attractions, as well as appealing to a diverse visitor base from across the world. Though coordination between the Emirates is essential for success.”

Dubai developers have launched mega leisure and entertainment projects in the emirate to cash in on government plans to attract 20 million visitors by 2020.

Government-owned Meraas Holding is building three large theme parks, the Hollywood themed Motiongate Dubai, Bollywood Parks Dubai and Legoland Dubai in Jebel Ali.

The project, set to open in October 2016, is aiming to net Dhs 2.4bn in revenues and 6.7 million ticketed visits in its first full year of operation.

Another major entertainment project, the IMG Worlds of Adventure theme park is currently under construction within the City of Arabia development.

It will have four zones including Marvel, Cartoon Network, Lost Valley and the IMG Entertainment, Zone with each featuring themed rides, retail outlets and merchandise.

“The key to a consistently successful destination is enabling visitors to enjoy multiple attractions,” said Shepherd.

“Offering multi-park tickets, all inclusive packages and coordinated visitor management from booking through inbound and local transportation, hotels and attractions will be crucial.”