Dubai’s $1bn indoor theme park will break even in first year

April 24, 2016 11:33 pm

Roller Coaster Loops. (Image: Alamy)

A $1 billion Dubai indoor theme park built by a local family conglomerate will break even in its first year of operation, the company said on Sunday, dismissing concerns that the city is headed for a glut of entertainment attractions.


IMG Worlds of Adventure, which owners Ilyas and Mustafa Galadari Group (IMG Group) predict will be the world’s largest destination of its kind, will open on Aug. 15, two years behind schedule.


The attraction will have four adventure zones that include brands from Cartoon Network and Walt Disney Co’s Marvel Entertainment and a dinosaur area. Rides will feature characters such as Hulk and the Powerpuff Girls.


“We expect to break even in year one,” said Mohamed Adnaan, IMG Group chief financial officer. “We see a lot of efficiencies in the way we designed this park from a costing standpoint, that’s the reason we think we’ll make money in year one.”


The park is aiming to attract 4.5 million visitors in its first year of operation and will generate revenue of 1.5 billion dirhams ($408 million) to 1.7 billion dirhams ($463 million), Adnaan said. Visitor numbers are expected to increase by 6.5 percent in the second year, he said.


Billed as the first mega themed entertainment park in Dubai, the 140,000 square-meter (1.5 million square feet) complex, now 96 percent complete, had been scheduled to open in 2014 but was delayed mostly because of stricter building regulations introduced mid-construction, Adnaan said.


It is part of the larger IMG-owned City of Arabia, a multi-billion-dollar retail, residential, commercial and entertainment complex, first announced in 2003 although construction of many of the projects has yet to start in earnest.


“Three, five, seven to 10 years you will see that coming out of the ground as well,” said Adnaan.


By the end of 2016, Worlds of Adventure will be joined by rival Dubai Parks and Resorts, the 10.5-billion-dirham Dubai government-backed park, while another family group, Al Ahli Holding, last year said it would open a Fox-branded theme park in 2020.


IMG executives dismissed concerns of an oversupply of attractions, saying that multiple parks would help Dubai realize its ambition of becoming a family tourism destination.


“Dubai is moving into an Orlando 2.0 model where the market is untapped,” said Lennard Francois Otto, chief executive of IMG Worlds of Adventures, referring to an improved and more advanced version of the original theme park concept seen in the U.S. city which is home to more than a dozen such complexes. “Orlando has multiple parks flourishing in the same location.”


By Reuters
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