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Mit diesem Editorial leitet der/die Herausgeber/in oder die Chefredaktion der Zeitschrift Kirmes & Park Revue English Edition - epaper die aktuelle Ausgabe 11/2018 ein. Hier erfahren Sie, welche Artikel besonders lesenswert sind oder woher die Anregungen dazu kamen.


As we come closer to the end of many of our industry’s parks and attractions’ operating seasons, and quarterly reports are released, I have to say that I continue to feel uneasy over the performance of many of the recently opened Middle Eastern parks. I ask myself, are these parks generating the returns that the “mega investments” original ly fore cast? In most cases the answer is no. In fact, not even close. When parks that were built were costing anywhere from $700 million to $1 billion, and were planned and designed to accommodate 40 thousand+ plus guests a day, and are only generating 500, 1000, 2500 per day (the exception being holiday periods), one must ask what is happening in the Middle Eastern market? The Middle East has been touted as one of the world’s fastest growing markets for tourists. We have seen, when totaled, over $350 billion in theme parks and attractions are planned to be invested by the early 2020’s. This is the number published for all of the Middle Eastern attractions. MENA, the Middle East and North Africa region, is forecasted to be the fastest-growing region, with approximate ly $320 billion of the $350 billion projected capital investment spending being done there. Dubai, of course, has spent billions of dollars already. Motiongate, IMG Worlds of Adventure, Bollywood, and Legoland all opened in 2016. Have they hit the feasibility forecasts? No. Ferrari World and Yas Water World in Abu Dhabi opened in 2010 and 2013, respectively. While Yas Water World has done reason - ably well, Ferrari World has long lagged well behind its original projections. Recently the new Warner Bros. World Park opened in Abu Dhabi, on July 25th, 2018. After being marketed well in advance, it drew 2500 people on opening day.

It is a tremendous park, maybe the best theme park of all the new additions opened so far and of the ones being planned . It is reported that Warner Bros. World, an indoor park, cost over $1 billion and is over 1 million square feet in size. Parks an nounced to come on line in the Middle East are 20th Century Fox, which was being planned but was recently put on hold due to existing park performance and market over-supply. Sea World also announced a park project that would carry their name and were getting bids as recent ly as April of this year. Will it continue? We shall see. Six Flags also announced a park to open in late 2019. It is proposed to be an outdoor theme park in the overly-saturated Dubai market. Six Flags also announced a park to be built in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia in 2021-2022. Rumor has it that Saudi Arabia is seeing a slowdown in the mega attraction park / tourist zone which they have announced. When is enough enough and when is too fast too fast? In my opinion, the Middle Eastern market and count - ries are running a losing race. In addition to the Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Saudi Arabian projects opened and recently announced, Qatar, Oman, Jordan, Iran, Sharjah, and Egypt are all planning parks! The real questions that have to be asked are (1) where is the supporting infrastructure for these projects (utilities, roads, hotels , retail, service stations, etc.), and (2) where are the people com ing from?

Dubai Parks and Resorts were anticipating 6.7 million people in the full year. They announced they attracted 2.3 million. So, is my worry justified? I say yes. Nature and business have to take their own courses of action. To be successful in our industry, you have to build on the proper assumptions germane to our business model. You must have a good base pop - ulation, you must have a viable tourist market, you must have support - ive infrastructure, you must have a locat ion that has excellent topo - graphy, ingress and egress, you must have a strong concept, and you must be properly capitalized and not over-capitalize your initial investment. There are companies who are participating in, and have partic - ipated in, the management IP feeding frenzy. They have collected upfront fees for their name association, their design and operational guidance, and industry know-how. There is nothing wrong with this type of participation if someone is willing to pay. However, if the companies know the projects are questionable, then they have a fiduciary responsibility to acknowledge this at the fore front of the project plann - ing. Can there be enough of a good thing?

Yes, there can. It has taken Orlando, originally a swamp land and orchard area, 48 years to reach the level of tourism and attractions success it enjoys today. It has built all of the supporting necessities mentioned earlier on a rather wellplanned timetable through these last 5 decades. It was not “plunked down” and expected to materialize overnight. It was planned and grown in a reasonable process. Let’s watch carefully what happens over the next several years in the Middle East leisure markets. Is this a “plan for the worst, hope for the best” scenario? Hopefully not. We want our industry to thrive and survive wherever it roots. Let’s first make sure that the advice given to these emerging new markets / developers is based on experience, knowledge, and history, and not just fees.

70 exhibitors spread over an area of a total 15,00 m² – and this is also – why should it be different – an all-time high. The fact that the EAS offers much more than a normal exhibition is widely known. Even the supporting programmes as well as learning opportunities and continuing education were also extended.

Dennis Speigel
Mit diesem Editorial leitet der/die Herausgeber/in oder die Chefredaktion der Zeitschrift Kirmes & Park Revue English Edition - epaper die aktuelle Ausgabe 11/2018 ein. Hier erfahren Sie, welche Artikel besonders lesenswert sind oder woher die Anregungen dazu kamen. …
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