Dubai theme-park operator DXB Entertainments sees drop in visitors

DXB Entertainments said its attractions saw 760,000 visitors in the first quarter of 2019, an 11% decline on the year-ago period. (Supplied)
Updated 14 May 2019
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Dubai theme-park operator DXB Entertainments sees drop in visitors

LONDON: Dubai theme-park operator DXB Entertainments saw an 11 percent drop in visitors in the first quarter of 2019 — but says it is looking for growth in international guests as it aims to break even next year.
The the first phase of the company’s main asset — where attractions include Bollywood Parks and Legoland — opened in 2016.
DXB Entertainments said in a statement Tuesday that its attractions saw 760,000 visitors in the first quarter of 2019, an 11 percent decline on the year-ago period. 
Revenues for the quarter stood at 142 million dirhams ($38.7 million), an 18 percent decline on last year, while the company’s net loss grew by 3 percent to 216 million dirhams. 

 

Despite the drop in top-line figures, the company said its average hotel occupancy rose to 72 percent from 62 percent, while a growth in international guests means that the latter group now represents 45 percent of visitors.
“Not unexpectedly we have seen a reduction in this quarter’s visitor numbers compared to last year, a typical pattern for a theme park in its second year as the domestic target market consolidates to a core of repeat visitors. Our job now is to maximize the revenue potential of our established domestic base whilst growing our international visitor numbers,” said Mohamed Almulla, CEO and managing director of DXB Entertainments.
“Building our international visitation, which delivers higher yields, will play an important role in delivering our target of EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization) breakeven during the second half of 2020. Our target is to achieve upwards of 60 percent international visitation.”
This will be achieved through the group’s hotel strategy, strategic partnerships and the expansion of its Motiongate Dubai and Bollywood Parks, Almulla added.

FASTFACTS

60%

Proportion of international visitors targeted by DXB Entertainments


More than 100 Saudi groups at Dubai’s GITEX week

Updated 22 September 2019

More than 100 Saudi groups at Dubai’s GITEX week

  • GITEX is an international platform

DUBAI: More than 100 Saudi organizations, including government entities, private companies and startups, are participating at the upcoming GITEX Technology Week in Dubai, from Oct. 6 to 10, indicating an increase in Saudi participation from last year at the annual technology gathering.

Bringing in one of the biggest contingents at the event, at 114, Saudi Arabia is also an official partner of GITEX this year, which is expecting to host more than 100,000 visitors over four days at the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC).

“There’s a lot of collaboration and integration in this region — there’s a lot of learning and sharing. GITEX is an international platform. This is where the Saudi contingent comes — from the big enterprise sector to the startup ecosystem — to interact with hundreds and thousands of visitors from over 140 countries,” Trixie LohMirmand, senior vice president of events management at DWTC, told reporters on Sunday.

LohMirmand also noted a spike in Saudi participation at the GITEX Future Stars, a concurrent event that focuses on the region’s startup community.

“We have a big Saudi Innovation Day. In fact, Saudis are again bringing a big contingent of startups. It’s led by the deputy minister of communications from Saudi Arabia to explore partnerships and discuss the opportunities in the region, particularly for startups,” she said, referring to the three special sessions that will focus on the Kingdom’s technology drive.

This increase in participation, LohMirmand said, is a reflection of a bigger “impetus on innovation and the getting the startup community going” in the region.

“We see a lot of new tech coming out, so there’s a lot of interest to give these companies an opportunity to connect to the rest of the world. When you come to GITEX, we connect you to the rest of the world — we host over 500 investors from all around the world, including from Silicon Valley,” she added.

Firat Aktas, DWTC’s director of brand innovation and communication, stressed: “You can see what’s happening around the world — the Saudis are showing their ambition very clearly in various industries.”

Earlier this year, the Saudi Telecom Company signed a deal with Swedish telecommunications company Ericsson to launch commercial 5G services in the Kingdom. “The roll-out continues. It’s a huge deployment in different parts of Saudi Arabia,” Wojciech Bajda, head of Gulf Council countries and global customer unit zain, told Arab News. “The focus for our customers currently is to understand how to monetize 5G, how to make sure there’s an industrial application of 5G in Saudi Arabia.”

Bajda also said they are looking at introducing 5G to different sectors in the Kingdom such as mining, and oil and gas. “We have engagements with different industries in trying to prototype together, and see if there’s something relevant for Saudi Arabia, and for our customers like the Saudi Telecom Company to pick up and do a full implementation,” he added. 

What to expect at GITEX this year 

This year’s GITEX, which has the theme “Synergizing the Mind and Technology Economy,” will highlight the region’s 5G adoption, as well as other futuristic concepts such as artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, and immersive technology.

LohMirmand said the dwelling time for GITEX visitors has increased over the years, owing to the gathering’s massive content offering.

“We are measuring more in terms of dwelling time. You can have 100,000 people come one day and do, but now the trend for us is we’re seeing them staying longer. Because there’s so much content, there’s so much knowledge, and so many companies with new technology, dwelling time is much longer, averaging 3.5 to 4 days,” she explained.

“Visitors and exhibitors are having deeper and more meaningful interactions at the show.”

The halls of DWTC will be divided into six sectors: 5G, AI, Future mobility, GITEX lifestyle tech, and Smart cities. It opens Oct. 6.