Sunday, September 18, 2016

Get ready for Hollywood fun

Motiongate Dubai will be a good addition to the region's growing theme park industry and is on track for schedule opening on October 31, its senior official says.

John Hallenbeck, general manager at Motiongate Dubai, said the theme park industry is still growing in the Middle East with a huge potential to benefit the economy. There are three billion people that live within a four-hour flight of the UAE, and there is a significant gap in this market for a world-class family leisure and entertainment destination.

"Work is in full swing to launch Motiongate Dubai on October 31st this year. We are anticipating 3.1 million ticketed visits in first full year of operations in 2017," Hallenbeck told Khaleej Times during an interview.

He said Motiongate Dubai is inspired by the leadership's vision of positioning Dubai as a recognised global tourist destination. Under the guidelines of His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and Vision 2020, the strategic plan is to double the number of visitors to Dubai to 20 million by 2020 and increase the economic contribution of the tourism sector.

"One of the key components of this vision is to encourage more families to the region, and we aim to do just that by taking the lead in the development of the theme park sector in the UAE and the Middle East at large.

"Three billion people live within a four-hour flight of Dubai and the park's East meets West design will appeal to people from across the globe of all ages," he said.

Future expansion

Hallenbeck said Motiongate Dubai is part of a mega theme park project and will occupy 1.9 million square feet land. He further said Dubai Parks and Resorts is a large-scale Dh13.2 billion development spread across 30.6 million square feet of land.

"Once complete, Motiongate Dubai will occupy 1.9 million square feet of a total four million sqft for planned expansion, so in the future, guests can expect more of their favourite Hollywood films being brought to life as rides, attractions, live entertainment and dining experiences. These plans will be revealed in due time," he said. To a question about competition from other theme parks in Dubai, he said the theme park and leisure industry in Dubai and in the wider region is growing overall.

"As the population continues to grow and tourism booms there is increasing demand for world-class, international-standard entertainment destinations such as Dubai Parks and Resorts. The number of operators planning to open here in Dubai and the Gulf over the next few years is a testament to the significant growth here in the region, and as the region's largest integrated theme park destination, we are positioned to meet this demand," he said. About his role at Motiongate Dubai, he said: "It's straightforward - to deliver a world-class, immersive theme park experience for our guests."

To a question about the preparations, he said primary focus is to inaugurate the park on scheduled date next month. "We're now very much focused on our opening date - October 31, when we will premiere a significant portion of the park. Work on some of the attractions will be ongoing for a couple of months to create the very best experience for guests and we'll have an update on that very soon," he said. About the ticket price, he said Motiongate Dubai has launched its annual pass for Dh865, which includes unlimited access to the park, 365 days a year -- plus other benefits including discounts on dining, merchandise and up to two bonus months free.

"Daily tickets will go on sale very soon. Motiongate Dubai and Dubai Parks and Resorts opens on October 31st," he said. "Motiongate Dubai will be a truly unique and immersive experience unlike anything seen before in this region - and worldwide," Hallenbeck concluded.