UAE theme parks forecast to bring in 19m visitors a year by 2020

The UAE’s existing and new generation theme parks will attract more than 19 million admissions a year by 2020 if current trends continue, according to data released by Colliers International.

The report said that the new parks will also create a distinct economic boost for hoteliers following a difficult 24 months for the hospitality industry regionally.

The forecast is made using existing admissions and arrivals data for Yas Island’s Ferrari World and Waterworld and Dubai’s Aquaventure and Wild Wadi as well as a sample of new and upcoming parks.

All four parks have experienced a strong correlation between the rising number of visitors to the UAE and its admissions, with their combined admissions predicted to reach 19 million visitors annually, said Colliers in the research published ahead of Arabian Travel Market 2017.

It added that similar patterns are expected to be seen for IMG Worlds of Adventure and Dubai Parks and Resorts, which opened this year in Dubai. Both parks have ambitions to draw in millions of visitors in their first year of operations, with IMG expecting to attract 4.5 million people and Dubai Parks and Resorts predicting 6.7 million ticketed visitors. 

Simon Press, senior exhibition director, Arabian Travel Market, said: “Dubai has a unique chance to replicate the success we have seen in other markets such as Orlando, Singapore and Tokyo, attracting new arrivals while also capturing a share of both the stop over and direct tourism markets.

"Theme parks are a new addition to the tourism landscape here in the GCC and it’s important that destinations are positioned to take full advantage of the benefits they can bring.”

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The growing importance and impact of theme parks to the regional tourism landscape will be explored as part of the programme on the ATM Global Stage, he added. 

The report said that typically, a theme park can expect to attract a visitor mix that is approximately 70 percent domestic, up to 20 percent regional and around 10 percent international.

It added that the new parks will also create a distinct economic boost for hoteliers following a difficult 24 months for the hospitality industry regionally. Hotels and airlines have seen business disrupted by events in key source markets including sharp fluctuations in the value of the Ruble, Euro and Sterling.

Colliers said that the closer a hotel is to a theme park, the stronger its performance will be. 

Press added: “This is the UAE’s chance to position itself as a major leisure destination on a global scale and there are many businesses in the tourism and leisure industries which should position themselves to take advantage of this. With more attractions than ever before the UAE, and particularly Dubai, are making clear progress towards achieving their tourist arrival targets.”

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