Business | Retail

Theme park companies in talks over mega entertainment projects in Dubai

Companies take careful approach but say projects more realistic now

  • By Deena Kamel Yousef, Staff Reporter
  • Published: 18:18 April 23, 2013
  • Gulf News

Dubai: Everyone from ride makers to arcade providers is lining up to clinch deals for Dubai’s recently announced theme parks and entertainment projects.

Amusement companies are in talks with various developers of theme parks, fun cities and entertainment zones in Dubai’s recently announced mega projects.

“We are in communication with some major developers that works with the government. Dubai Adventure Studios, developed by Meraas Holding, approached us through their consultants. We hope to provide a major section of the ride mix,” Yasser Goneid, general manager of Zamperla Middle East, told Gulf News during the Dubai Entertainment Amusement and Leisure (Deal) show on Tuesday.

A rush of entertainment projects was announced at the end of 2012 aimed at attracting leisure tourism to Dubai. Among them is the Mohammad bin Rashid City that will comprise a Universal Studios theme park and a Dh10 billion development of five theme parks that will include Dubai Adventure Studious fun park.

“We are trying to hit key projects that are happening now… we have a feeling that now projects are on a realistic scale, funding is more secure and there are serious plans to execute,” Goneid said.

Companies are taking a careful approach now after some of Dubai’s grandiose projects announced during the heyday of the boom were stalled.

“We have history to reflect on, we are more careful on contracts and how to deliver,” Goneid said.

Theme park companies said that entertainment projects are required to attract more families and encourage transit passengers passing through Dubai to stop over.

“Definitely these projects are needed. Dubai so far is a mix of adult entertainment and shopping entertainment but there is not much family entertainment and there’s a market for that in the GCC,” Goneid said.

Amusement Services International (ASI), a major player in the industry, is also in talks with developers for some of the projects announced but would not specify the deals.

However, it is expecting 12 to 15 per cent growth in business in 2013 and similar growth in 2014 as orders from Dubai and the GCC come in, said Prakash Vivekanand, managing director of ASI.

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