The past year witnessed the Grand Opening of Dubai Parks and Resorts (DPR), a new leisure and entertainment destination comprising three branded theme parks, one water park and a retail and hospitality destination, as well as a family-oriented hotel. It not only marks a new era in the theme park industry in the region, but also a key milestone in the history of DXB Entertainments, as the Company moved from construction into operations.
Constructing an AED 10.5 billion development across 25 million square feet of land has been an enormous task and demanded extraordinary attention to detail, including the hand-picking of IP partners to suit expected visitor profiles and designing rides for all visitor demographics.
Our project management team has coordinated over 40 contractors and 18,000 workers on site, together with complex delivery schedules and offsite vendors and contractors shipping rides and attractions to Dubai from all around the world. We have built supporting infrastructure costing about AED 2.5 billion and spent a total of 85 million man hours since we started.
We are very proud to have created a new industry that will be a source of pride for the UAE, and a multifaceted theme park destination that mirrors the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed, Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, of Dubai as a year-round destination for families. We were honoured to receive His Highness Sheikh Mohammed and key members of the Dubai government on visits to Dubai Parks and Resorts in 2016, and for His Highness to lend his support to us by officially inaugurating the destination at the Grand Opening on 18th December.
We believe we have created something that is unique to the country, while simultaneously supporting Dubai’s aim to give something to the world.
The few months leading up to our first theme park opening, LEGOLAND® Dubai, were challenging. As a company we were gearing up to shift focus towards operations, hiring over 3,000 people with the right skills to create memorable experiences for our guests, while managing complex delivery schedules and shifting timelines. We opted for a staggered opening schedule to allow for a smoother operational experience, and to leverage off the lessons learnt from one opening to the next.
Receiving our first guests at the parks has been a key highlight for everyone at DXB Entertainments. I am proud to be surrounded by some of the most experienced people in the leisure and entertainments industry, as well as young individuals who are innovating how technology and entertainment interact. We set out for our guests to Experience Amazing, and the overarching focus for the team in the coming months is to ensure that we deliver on this.
During the year we also had some key corporate developments, such as the decision by the Board of Directors and our shareholders to raise AED 1.68 billion through a rights issue to primarily finance DPR’s fourth theme park, Six Flags Dubai. We also changed the Company’s name from Dubai Parks and Resorts PJSC to DXB Entertainments PJSC, reflecting our ambition to evolve into a global leisure and entertainments company.
We are committed to creating shareholder value, and this past year we identified ways of capitalising on the extensive experience gained from conceptualising, developing and now operating DPR, to generate new revenue streams for the Company. In 2016 we signed a MoU with Meraas, our major shareholder, to provide project management services on some of their projects, including the Dubai Arena.
We are in the entertainment business for the long term and will continue to look at means to expand the Company into businesses and services, such as providing operational experience to third party assets; moving into other vertical sectors such as media and show production; and project management.
Looking ahead, I want DPR to become one of the top five most visited attractions in Dubai, which supports DXB Entertainments in generating healthy profits for its shareholders.
The DXB Entertainments brand – Dreams without Boundaries – gives us the flexibility to compete internationally, and to develop an entertainment phenomenon that cements Dubai’s reputation as an international family-friendly destination. With the continued support of His Highness, the UAE Government and the Dubai authorities, we remain confident that the Company can grow profitably and sustainably.
Raed Kajoor Al Nuaimi
Chief Executive Officer