'Riding' the Wave of Mid-East Leisure Industry Opportunity
The roller-coaster cart of opportunity for regional theme parks is rapidly climbing to its peak, and a recent market research study provided a "wake up call" for regional leisure and entertainment industries.
The International Leisure Centers Association reported from their study that that the leisure and entertainment industries in the Middle East region and in the Arab Gulf states in particular, boast tremendous competitive advantages. In the UAE, experts believe that vast resources and opportunities have not yet been fully explored and that the local leisure and entertainment industries must tap into these advantages.
To date, the value of total investments in the local leisure and entertainment industry totaled $2 billion, Al-Bayan Newspaper reported. The International Leisure Centers Association estimated the value of the entertainment industry in the Middle East region at $10 billion. The association predicted a substantial future boost in the local entertainment industry in the wake of a flowering demand for entertainment services such as theme parks in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt ad Kuwait.
Deputy Chairman of the Board for the International Expo Consults, Mr. Mohammed Filknaz, remarked that there is a, "...revolution in the entertainment and amusement parks industry in the Middle East." The entertainment industry in the UAE is estimated at $2 billion, constituting about 20% of the total entertainment industry in the Middle East.
But certain regional industry moguls do appear to be moving toward practicing "all work and all play" - the Sharjah Cooperation Centre, in conjunction with the 'Foton Audio-tainment' Company announced a large expansion plan aimed at creating 9 new amusement parks across the Mid-East by the end of 2002. Total cost for these 9 parks is estimated at Dh 170 million. Thrill-seekers in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, al-Ain, Fujairah, and Ras Al-Khaimah can anticipate parks in their respective areas. In addition, two parks in Saudi Arabia and another 2 parks in Egypt are in the works. Dubai is planning the construction of a type of "Disneyworld" theme park.
Mr. Jalal Saeed, Deputy Chariman of Foton, announced that the new amusement park in Ras Al-Khaimah Emirate would open its gates to the public in September 2001. Costing nearly Dh 11 million to construct, the theme park would be built in the image of the desert and the mountain terrain.
A series of large deals were signed at the recent Seventh International Entertainment 2000 Exhibition, held in the UAE. Perhaps the largest was that for Dh 120,000 signed between the British Eldridge Cartoon and Film Company and several entertainment and shopping centers in the region. Further, the French Ride River Chon signed a Dh 400,000 deal to supply 50 electrical vehicles to different entertainment centers in the UAE and Saudi Arabia. (albawaba.com news agency)
© 2000 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)
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