Dubai Parks and Resorts theme park on track for 2016 opening

Dubai Parks and Resorts expects to turn its first profit in 2018.

The company said that it was on target to open in October next year as its first-quarter loss widened to Dh13 million for the period, up from Dh2.6m during the same period last year. Because the park is under construction, it did not have revenue to report.

It is projected to generate an annual growth in visitor numbers of between 9 and 11 per cent after 2017, said Raed Al Nuaimi, the chief executive of Dubai Parks and Resorts.

In 2017, the theme park complex comprising attractions such as Legoland, Motiongate and Bollywood Parks expects to attract 5.5 million visitors.

Dubai is counting on its entertainment and theme parks sector to help it maintain its rapid growth in tourist arrivals.

“We play a role like others in the vision [of attracting 20 million visitors to Dubai by 2020], but we are not leading it alone,” Mr Al Nuaimi said. “We are a part of a huge organisation that is led by Sheikh Mohammed [bin Rashid] and each one of us is doing its role.”

The Dubai-listed company reported total assets of Dh6.9 billion as the cumulative project expenditure, including land acquired, amounted to Dh3bn, an increase from Dh2.6bn year-on-year.

It has completed 42 per cent of the project infrastructure. Construction on the site off Sheikh Zayed Road started in February last year. It will get its own electrical substation at the site in July and district cooling in September.

Dubai Parks forecasts revenue of Dh2.4bn in its first full year of operation. This includes ticketed entries, merchandise sales and food and beverage sales. It also expects to employ 5,000 people.

“We plan to implement a mass recruitment programme at the end of this year, and peak recruitments will happen by the first quarter of next year so that we have enough time for training,” Mr Al Nuaimi said. Dubai Parks and Resorts now employs 130 people, with a further 330 on site from Samsung and the Philadelphia-based construction management company Hill International.

The park operator said it had reached an agreement with Picsolve International for a photography experience.

“This is our first revenue-producing agreement and is expected to generate over Dh20m annually over a five-year period,” Mr Al Nuaimi said.

It has signed a deal with the Hollywood studio Lionsgate to bring Hunger Games-themed attractions as well as a Step Up-inspired live stage show to Motiongate Dubai. It also has signed a deal with Wizcraft International to bring a Broadway-style Bollywood show to Bollywood Parks.

Among its ride manufacturers are the German designers Mack Rides, the Dutch company ETF Rides Systems, UK-based Simworx, Italy’s Zamperla, Canada’s Dynamic Structures working on a flying theatre, and Gerstlauer from Germany. The ride vendors are managed through Hill International.

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