The UAE is taking the world’s most popular landmarks and attractions in Las Vegas, Orlando, London, Paris, New York and Ibiza to the next level for 2020.
“Dubai is now considered an international city on the same stage as New York, London, Paris and Tokyo, and is leading the development of the UAE leisure market together with Abu Dhabi,” said Phil Taylor, director of Team Leisure LLC, previously chief executive of Ski-Dubai and executive director of the London Eye.
“The next five years will see a transformation of the UAE’s leisure and entertainment offering. Unique concepts include the world’s first Bollywood theme park, part of the Dubai Parks and Resorts development, and the new Warner Bros resort on Yas Island, while some of the best attractions and tourist destinations in the world are being re-imagined. Dream Island, the ‘new Ibiza’, the new Louvre and Guggenheim museums in Abu Dhabi, which are architecturally outstanding, the Dubai Eye, set to become the largest Ferris wheel in the world, almost 100 million bigger than the London Eye, and more.”
Taylor added: “I admire the UAE as a place renowned for taking risks. It would not be enough simply to imitate, and that is not what is being done here. Not a lot of people recognise that Downtown Dubai is modelled after the Kuala Lumpur City development, designed to be a city within a city. The Dubai Eye will be operated by Merlin, who also operate the London Eye, and this gives me confidence in its success.”
Taylor is a speaker on the challenges of new theme parks at the forthcoming Vision Conference during The Leisure Show and The Hotel Show Dubai, to be held from September 28 to 30, 2015.
According to recent report by PwC, the UAE leisure and entertainment market has the potential to increase by a massive 70 per cent on 2015 figures to encompass 45 million people by 2021. International tourists will account for 31 million, while residents, their relatives and friends, a further 14 million.
Philip Shepherd, partner, PwC Middle East Hospitality & Leisure Leader, said: “The UAE has recognised the need for investment and focus on the quality of attractions to appeal to its increasing, culturally diverse visitor base.”
PwC forecasts theme parks in the UAE pipeline will attract 18 million visits by 2021 versus Singapore’s 6.7 million and Hong Kong’s 15 million.