UAE 'tourist hotspot for leisure and entertainment'
The UAE has become a hub for leisure and entertainment for tourists and residents alike, according to a new report from international audit firm PwC.
By 2021, the company expects the number of people heading to the country to experience its leisure and entertainment facilities to almost double, taking the figure to an enormous 45 million per year.
A large majority of the visitors - around 30 million - are expected to come from overseas, while residents, their friends and family will account for 15 million. PwC also predicts that by 2021, the UAE's theme parks will attract 18 million visitors.
The report - entitled The UAE’s Transformation into a World-Class Leisure and Entertainment Destination - predicts that the country will be home to five additional theme parks by 2018, three of which will open in Dubai.
Dubai Parks and Resorts is currently getting ready for the opening of a three park complex next year, which will be home to Hollywood-inspired Motiongate, Legoland and Bollywood Park. The compound will also have a grand entrance plaza, complete with shops and eateries for visitors to enjoy.
PwC's report notes that the UAE has the potential to become a global leisure and entertainment destination, one that could stand toe-to-toe with behemoths like Orlando, Hong Kong and Singapore.
To achieve this, the firm suggests the country takes a 'holistic approach' to exploit its geographical location, warm weather, high-quality attractions and the billions of dollars being invested in its infrastructure.
The company also said that the new theme parks will need to be able to deal with the diversity of culture visitors will bring with them and overcome climate-related challenges to become a successful leisure and entertainment hotspot.
In a statement, Philip Shepherd, partner at PwC Middle East Hospitality and Leisure, said: "The key to a consistently successful destination is enabling visitors to enjoy multiple attractions. Offering multi-park tickets, all inclusive packages and coordinated visitor management from booking through inbound and local transportation, hotels and attractions will be crucial.”