Dubai Resorts and Parks: Raising the stakes in the Middle East’s leisure sector

May 8, 2017 in Tourism & Leisure

Within the Middle East, competition for tourists has intensified significantly in recent years. In Dubai, the ante has very much been upped, with the recent launch of Dubai Parks and Resorts (DFM: DUBAIPARKS).

Dubai Parks and Resorts is fully primed to become the Middle East’s largest multi-themed leisure and entertainment destination comprising of 3 separate theme parks and one water park:  motiongate™ Dubai, a Hollywood movie inspired theme park concept; LEGOLAND® Dubai, the first LEGOLAND® theme park in the Middle East; LEGOLAND® Water Park; and Bollywood Parks™ Dubai, a first-of-its-kind entertainment destination that will showcase the authentic Bollywood movie experience.

The large-scale AED 10.5 billion project is spread across 25 million square feet of land strategically located on Sheikh Zayed Road close to the Palm Jebel Ali between Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

Having opened at the end of 2016, the £2.8 billion Dubai Parks and Resorts development is the latest attraction in Dubai’s bid to establish itself as the tourism capital of the Middle East. It is the biggest theme park in the region, with more than 100 rides and attractions across three theme parks and a water park.

The park is located halfway between Dubai International airport and Abu Dhabi International airport – and close to Dubai’s new Al Maktoum International Airport, set to be the biggest in the world.

And, like Orlando, Dubai is becoming a hub for international theme parks. Dubai Parks and Resorts has already broken ground on work for a Six Flags Dubai to open in 2019, with 27 rides and attractions.

Momentum continues to build within the UAE, with Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, Dubai’s ruler, having set the emirate’s tourism industry a target of 20 million annual visitors by 2020 – up from 15 million in 2016 and 10 million in 2012.

In its first full year, Dubai Parks and Resorts expects 6.7 million visitors, with the majority anticipated to come from local markets.

In March, MOTIONGATE Dubai, the action-packed Hollywood-inspired theme park and official home of The Smurfs in the UAE, hosted the Middle East premiere of The Smurf’s latest movie: “Smurfs: The Lost Village”.

The theme park, which is part of Dubai Parks and Resorts, rolled out the blue carpet for Papa Smurf, Smurfette, Brainy and Vanity who were joined by television personality, Raya Abirached, the Arabic voice of Smurf Willow in the new movie.

The premiere was held at the theme park’s very own 1000 seat Hollywood Theatre and was followed by Raya joining her blue friends for a tour of their mushroom capped homes in the Smurf’s Village, one of five theme zones at MOTIONGATE Dubai.

“MOTIONGATE Dubai combines the best of Hollywood cinema, theme parks and live entertainment to create an amazing experience for our guests. Therefore it was only fitting that the first premiere for one of our most well-known and loved characters The Smurfs, was hosted at our very own Hollywood Theatre. We encourage all the Smurfy fans in the region to come visit their favourite blue friends in their official home at the park”, said Brian Machamer, General Manager of MOTIONGATE Dubai.

Opened in December 2016, the Smurfs Village Zone is the first Smurfs-inspired theme park zone in the region, and the largest of its kind in the world. Parents and kids can go beyond the screen and step into the fantastical world of The Smurfs with its larger-than-life mushroom capped houses and lush forested surroundings.

Another high profile brand was brought to Dubai Parks and Resorts in May 2016, when the company retained The Producers Group with the express aim of bringing Bollywood action film DABANGG to life at Bollywood Parks™ Dubai.

The popular DABANGG movie franchise from Arbaaz Khan Productions features hero Chulbul Pandey, a bold, athletic police officer.  The Producers Group will provide show production and equipment for a live stunt show based on the Bollywood hit action film.

“Bringing the elaborate Dabangg movie stunts to a live show is a challenge requiring precise choreography of live actors with high-end gear, special effects and complex technical integration, ” explains Dubai Parks & Resorts Chief Technology Officer Matthew Priddy. “We selected The Producers Group because they have the technical skillset as well as the experience of keeping this kind of unique project moving with an international team on a tight schedule.”

Of course child interaction forms an important element of Dubai Parks and Resorts’ strategy and also in March, the group launched a programme of child-focused, highly experiential classes and field studies aimed at making learning fun, accessible and enjoyable for both students and teachers outside of the classroom.

The programme will take place within the theme parks: Motiongate Dubai, Bollywood Parks Dubai and Legoland Dubai.

The collection of guided field studies and immersion spans the fields of arts, entertainment and science and are designed to reinforce lessons learnt in the classroom. Students of all ages will engage in teamwork, critical thinking and problem-solving skills within the parks. There are a mix of five or seven day packages being offered to school students, attending in groups of 10 or more.

Also in March, the company took delivery of the Middle East’s first three Genie Z-60/37DC articulated booms, all-electric aerial work platforms (AWPs) which were ordered by quipment provider, Al Masaood Trucks and Equipment, and supplied by Genie’s authorised Dubai distributor, Al Mahroos.

The Genie Z-60/37DC boasts a working height of 20.16m, horizontal outreach of 11.15m, and 7.4m up-and-over clearance.

The units have been supporting maintenance activities at the three-theme park resort since November 2016.

Nishad Abdulla, assistant fleet manager at DPR, said: “Our company prides itself on complying with the highest European worksite health and safety standards. With this in mind, we are always looking for new solutions that suit our needs in terms of productivity and the quality of worksite conditions.

“Thanks to its excellent range of motion, versatility, quietness, clean performance, and four-wheel drive abilities, this new Genie model is an excellent and cost-effective alternative to separate diesel and electric powered units. For us, the Z-60/37DC boom definitely ticks the right boxes.”

“Since part of the resort is already open to the public, low noise levels and emissions-free operation are an absolute must have. [These characteristics] allow us to operate the machines all day long without disturbing our visitors,” he added.