LONDON // Dubai Parks and Resorts has started negotiations with travel operators and expects to sign “dozens” of deals designed to help it meet its targeted sales of 6.7 million tickets in 2017.
The Dubai-listed theme park operator is exhibiting at this week’s World Travel Market exhibition in London, which it says is its launch pad in forming relationships with travel and tour companies ahead of the scheduled opening of its entertainment complex in October next year.
“In the next 60 to 90 days we will be signing agreements with some of the people that we meet here,” said Vinit Shah, chief destination management officer at Dubai Parks and Resorts.
The company is behind an ambitious Dh10.5 billion project that includes Legoland, Motiongate and Bollywood theme park attractions, a hotel and water park. Construction is well under way at the site, which is in southern Dubai off Sheikh Zayed Road and close to the emirate’s new airport.
Mr Shah said the company’s appearance at the London show, which began on Monday and runs through tomorrow, marked its first formal push to sign contracts with operators, which will allow third parties to actively promote the theme parks in, for example, travel agent shops.
The company has not set a target for the number of deals it wants to strike but Mr Shah said he expected “dozens” of agreements with firms operating in the UK and farther afield.
He said no deal had been signed yet, but that there had been “phenomenal” interest among operators and destination management companies, which he declined to name.
“We are expecting 6.7 million ticketed visits in 2017, the [first] full year of opening. That being the case, we will need all of our channels to perform very strongly,” he said.
Demand will be from the biggest existing source markets for Dubai tourism – the other Arabian Gulf countries, India, Britain, China, Russia and Germany, Mr Shah said. “There is a latent and pent-up demand in the region because something like this doesn’t exist,” he said. “The geopolitical uncertainty is a concern. But Dubai and the UAE have a safe record in the past so many years, and we hope that continues.”
Dubai Parks and Resorts, a part of Meraas Holding, is forecasting revenue of Dh2.4bn in its first full year of operation.
It has not yet revealed ticket prices but Mr Shah said rates would be comparable to other UAE attractions such as the Aquaventure Waterpark and Yas Waterworld. Day passes for the latter attraction start at Dh240 for an adult. Mr Shah said day tickets would be sold for access to individual theme parks, as well as multi-day tickets covering multiple attractions.
He said the company did not anticipate any setbacks in the continuing construction of the parks, which involve 34 contractors and 12,000 workers on site.
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