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Amusement parks: Enough Vision, Let’s see the Theme parks!


The amusement park, amusements and attractions industry in the Middle East needs to focus on the execution and delivery of the massive developments planned for the area, according to global industry experts.


Darrell Metzger, vice chair of IAAPA and CEO of Ruwaad Destinations – which is  creating the first Paramount Pictures theme park  says "That’s the problem right now, we need things built, we need things operating and we need people living on the parks being built and operating them."

At a recent panel discussion in the UAE. Metzger spoke alongside Keith James (right), president of Jack Rouse Associates and Bob Masterson, chair of Ripley’s Entertainment and chair of IAAPA.

"We’ve got enough vision in this place to last us for decades and decades, what we need is execution."  Many projects with incredible plans and vision are slow out of the blocks, with one issue being that the infrastructure in some cases just isn’t there.

JRA designed Restless Planet, the dinosaur theme park and Keith revealed that though going well, the park had been due to open a year ago.

I know of a couple of high profile amusement park projects in the UAE, announced with enormous fanfares, that now lie stagnant, sites boarded up and silent. With many the amusement park side of the deal is an add-on to the meat of the project – the real estate. If the latter stumbles then the former doesn’t even get going. This can of course become a frustrating experience for supplier companies.

Resources are a big issue too, the amusement parks need skilled manpower to run and design and, vitally, to operate these theme parks. On a more basic level they also need the infrastructure in place. As James says,   "The attractions and experiences are all far out ahead of the infrastructure. The parks might be built – but you can’t get to them, you can’t flush the toilet, you can’t get water."

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Rachel Reed

Rachel Read

Rachel is Finance Director. She has a degree in engineering from Cambridge University and qualified as a Chartered Accountant at Deloittes in London. She worked in finance in industry for twenty years. She oversees our news and also manages our events.

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