Tireless efforts create amazing results
When we first adopted ‘Experience Amazing’ as our slogan, our thinking was directed to what would be on offer when Dubai Parks and Resorts opens its gates later this year to our guests. We are creating a unique destination that will feature the best from East to West, with three theme parks, a water park, a hotel, and a retail and dining district, all within comfortable walking distance of each other. Now, with only months to go to the planned opening in 2016, the slogan has taken on an entirely new dimension.
We have ‘experienced amazing’ since work on the project began – and even more so during 2015, when we made rapid progress in every aspect of turning the concept into reality.
Everyone has worked together tirelessly to take us to this stage – our own management and staff, consultants, contractors, and intellectual property partners, underlining the truth of this report’s cover headline: ‘Our People,
‘Experience Amazing’ has become part of our daily lives as we see the destination come to life, with our first rollercoaster track installed at LEGOLAND® Dubai, the Rajmahal Theatre at Bollywood Parks™ Dubai looking breathtaking, and significant progress made across all the other elements, including the planting of trees and shrubs across the resort as part of our strategy to make our destination both respectful of the environment and pleasant for our visitors.
Together with 41 of the best-known names in construction and more than 13,500 workers on site, construction is progressing rapidly to achieve The One Thing goal: to open on time and on budget.
We are progressing well against our construction milestones with all of the design works now complete. Ride system production is 89 percent complete and overall facilities structure works are 88 percent complete. Work is progressing on the installation of the rides and, as at the end of 2015, 16 complete rides had been delivered to Dubai from various theme park ride vendors.
In terms of overall infrastructure, which is 70 percent complete, our substation was handed over to DEWA in December and the district cooling is expected to be finished in the first quarter of 2016.
Cumulative project expenditure was AED 5.8 billion at year-end. The development is funded through a combination of equity provided by Meraas, our major shareholder and sponsor, and by investors who participated in our listing in December 2014. We began the drawdown on our banking facility in the third quarter of 2015, and as at the end of the year we had drawn AED 1.5 billion.
Behind the scenes
Much of our work is less visible, but equally important. We have been extremely busy with sales and marketing, recruitment, financial management, technology, and the multi-faceted support systems that are crucial to the successful operation of Dubai Parks and Resorts right from opening day.
By February all of the senior management team was in place, and a concentrated effort began to prepare our mass recruitment plan for 2016. Once the resort is open, we expect to have over 4,000 employees.
Our people are our success, and our diverse staff of over 260 employees come from 38 different countries, bringing the best from East and West not only to our theme parks but also to our corporate culture. This is in addition to over 500 years of collective theme park experience within our management team.
We announced our Emiratisation programme in August to attract up to 1,000 Emirati nationals to Dubai Parks and Resorts, in line with the Dubai Plan 2021 and the 7-Year National Agenda. The campaign includes three programmes: Forsati, Sahim, and Helmi, which aim to attract and empower a new generation of Emirati talent to the growing theme park industry.
Our existing partnership with Etisalat is well on the way to making Dubai Parks and Resorts the region’s first-of-its-kind integrated ‘smart’ theme park. Together, we are leveraging Etisalat’s telecom infrastructure and digital technologies, to create a distinctly interactive guest experience and enhance the UAE’s Internet of Things ecosystem in support of Dubai’s ‘smart city’ vision.
Sales and Marketing
Our sales and marketing philosophy is to build on the eff orts of Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM). We participated in our first trade show in March, attending the Arabian Travel Market in Dubai. This was followed by our participation at the World Travel Market in London in November. Both events signalled the start of our push towards partnerships with global tour operators and ticket distributors in order to reach international consumers.
Our existing partnership with dnata, the Dubai-headquartered operator that is one of the world’s largest travel and tourism specialists, is yielding many benefits. dnata’s network covers key international markets including UK, Europe, Australia, and Africa – with more than 200 direct outlets alone in the Middle East and India – and we are working together to create tailormade visitor packages for each region.
Recently published statistics from the DTCM indicate that despite the global financial unrest, international visitor numbers to Dubai continue to grow, reaching 14.2 million in 2015, a 7.5 percent increase from 2014, led by a more than 20 percent increase in visitors from markets such as China and India. Therefore, our efforts in 2015 were concentrated on working with the DTCM sales trips to key Dubai source markets, as well as bringing overseas tour operators to the destination. We also took the decision to open representative offices in China and India in 2016, demonstrating our marketing efforts in these key markets.
Our leasing eff ort at Riverland™ Dubai has progressed better than anticipated, with 35 lease proposals signed in 2015, accounting for over 50 percent of the leasable space and 100 percent of our projected leasing revenue target for 2017.
As we enter 2016, ‘Experience Amazing’ will become even more intense as we gear up for the grand opening of an exciting variety of more than 100 unforgettable rides and attractions. As the largest entertainment destination in the region, Dubai Parks and Resorts will support the UAE’s tourism vision, as well as serving its economy and infrastructure.
Raed Kajoor Al Nuaimi
Chief Executive Officer