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Leisure tourism recovering and undergoing digital transformation in Middle East


The leisure tourism sector is showing signs of recovery and undergoing a digital transformation in the Middle East, with forecast investment of more than $350 billion in theme parks and attractions.

This was revealed in a report by the Middle East North Africa Leisure Attractions Council (Menalac) ahead of the LEA Conference and Annual Awards Ceremony on November 10.

The entertainment and amusement industry in the Middle East will be the fastest in the world to recover from the coronavirus crisis, said Menalac (via Al Bawaba).

Theme park operators in the region are investing in technology to create immersive guest experiences, including experiential attractions, AI, AR and VR.

They are also planning digital ticketing, cloud-based solutions, and digital payment, according Menalac, who expect the industry to become future-ready by adopting technology.

Menalac said digital and contactless technology is expected to play a big part in transforming the leisure attractions industry in the region as the sector recovers from COVID-19.

Middle East investing in AI, AR and VR

“Entertainment is always trendy and developing all the time,” said Mishal Al Hokair, Deputy CEO of Al Hokair Group, one of the founding members of Menalac.

“Therefore, I do recommend studying the market well before you choose which type of entertainment you will go with. All the fields in entertainment are attractive especially sport, e-sport, and family entertainment centers.”

“Training and development in all aspects is crucial and the owner should always educate him/herself. Don’t forget to plan for a good budget on IT and online products,” added Al Hokair.

“The modern-day family entertainment industry incorporates with it a sizeable factor of technology now more than ever,” said Sheikha Monira Al Sabah, CEO of Play Enterprises.

“Whether it is arcade games, virtual reality games and rides, augmented reality games, touchscreen or even laser tag-style games among others.”

Image: Creative Commons

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Bea Mitchell

Bea is a journalist specialising in entertainment, attractions and tech with 10 years' experience. She has written and edited for publications including CNET, BuzzFeed, Digital Spy, Evening Standard and BBC. Bea graduated from King's College London and has an MA in journalism.

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