Exclusive: Dubai Parks & Resorts to boost region's tourism aspirations ahead of 2020 Expo

Matthew Priddy, chief technical officer for the US$2.9bn (€2.6bn, £2bn) Dubai Parks & Resorts development opening later this year, has said that the mega-resort’s launch will kickstart a tourism influx in the emirate as Dubai gears up for the 2020 Expo.

With hotel occupancy booming and Dubai on target to attract 20 million tourists annually by 2020, the Dubai Tourism Authority sees under-development theme parks including Dubai Parks & Resorts, IMG Worlds of Adventure and Fox World Dubai as crucial in maintaining visitor numbers after the 2020 World Expo.

“This I think is kicking off that whole 2020 frame of mind here in Dubai, said Priddy speaking exclusively to Attractions Management. “For our first year we’re predicting 5.5 million visitors. As Dubai’s place on the map grows, by the time we get to 2020 we think we’ll be exceeding those numbers.”

Priddy – who has worked for more than 35 years in the theme park industry, spending 21 years with Walt Disney Imagineering – will have worked on 10 theme park projects from the ground up when the resort opens, with Legoland Dubai, Motiongate and Bollywood Parks being parks 8,9 and 10. The industry veteran is heading up a team of 40 who have more than 500 years of theme park experience between them.

“It’s important that any country in this region diversifies their economy,” said Priddy. “Dubai is more widely known for its real estate, to some extent its oil, and now it's going to be known as a tourist entertainment destination. We think it’s very sustainable.

“There were a couple of factors in selecting Dubai for the resort. The infrastructure was one of them. We have the hotels, we’ve got great airline services and the ability for us to absorb that many guests is essentially already there. In addition there really aren’t any multi-day mega resorts like this in the region. The closest would be EuroDisney but in terms of the Orlando-like effect there’s nothing like it within a 6-10 hour radius by air. That makes the destination.”

In recent weeks, the heads of the UAE’s leading theme park developments have hailed the potential of Dubai emulating Orlando and becoming an international theme park hub.

“There are numerous parks and developments currently in the region and we don’t consider them competition, we consider them complementary” said Priddy.

“Just like Orlando, which is a destination city for theme parks, that’s what is going to end up happening here in Dubai. I can think of half-a-dozen theme park projects under development in the area, not to mention the 2020 Expo. We look at those projects as complementary as they make people looking for that destination stay maybe a week as opposed to a couple of days. When that critical mass is in play then you’re going to have a regionally beneficial development from a both tourist and economical standpoint.”

The resort will be the largest in the Gulf region, using world class ride developers for its parks, including Mack, Gerstlauer, ETF, Zamperla, S&M, Dynamic Attractions, Holovis and Simworx. Harnessing the experience of these industry experts, the three under-development parks will use a tried-and-tested method rather than an experimental approach.

“On the ride side of things, one of the things we did at Disney was invent on the critical path,” continued Priddy. “Here we’ve chosen not to do that. We’ve chosen to go with state-of-the-art systems that we know have been installed elsewhere and have been operated effectively but still bring you that world-class experience.

“We have roughly 85 shows, rides and attractions across the three parks. All the rides are purchased – we have 10 of them being installed as we speak. We are on budget and we are on track with all three parks for our opening date of October 2016.”

Dubai Parks & Resorts  Dubai  Middle East  Motiongate  Bollywood Parks  Legoland Dubai  Legoland  UAE  United Arab Emirates 
Related stories
07 Jan 2016

Exclusive: Dubai primed for attractions boom, says Worlds of Adventure CEO

11 Dec 2015

Exclusive: Dubai's theme park boom offers new gateway to Europe, says Fox executive

05 Nov 2015

Dubai's theme park sector continues to heat up with 2018 addition of 20th Century Fox World

05 Nov 2015

Lionsgate uses Hunger Games to feed theme park ambitions

15 Sep 2015

Dubai Parks and Resorts teams with Orlando University to train Emirati students in theme park management

17 Jun 2015

IMG Worlds of Adventure masterplanner Falcon's Creative unveils Avengers ride

01 Apr 2015

Hunger Games confirmed for Motiongate Dubai as part of Lionsgate Zone

09 Sep 2014

HOK-Arup Consortium to design Dubai Expo 2020

Matthew Priddy, chief technical officer for the US$2.9bn (€2.6bn, £2bn) Dubai Parks & Resorts development opening later this year, has said that the mega-resort’s launch will kickstart a tourism influx in the emirate as Dubai gears up for the 2020 Expo. With hotel occupancy booming and Dubai on target to attract 20 million tourists annually by 2020, the Dubai Tourism Authority sees under-development theme parks including Dubai Parks & Resorts,
The theme park is currently under development with an opening date set for October 2016 / Dubai Parks & Resorts
More news
News stories: 1 - 30 of 7785     
News stories: 1 - 30 of 7785     
featured supplier
Featured Supplier: CSI Design Expo Americas 2024 announces new Attractions & Entertainment Technology Zone
Cruise Ship Interiors (CSI) invites cruise lines, shipyards, design studios, outfitters, and suppliers to take part in CSI Design Expo Americas in Miami, Florida, the region’s only event dedicated to cruise ship interior design.
company profile
Company profile: Painting With Light
Painting with Light is a team of professional lighting and multimedia experts who design and produce visual experiences that dazzle & shine.
Try cladmag for free!
Sign up with CLAD to receive our regular ezine, instant news alerts, free digital subscriptions to CLADweek, CLADmag and CLADbook and to request a free sample of the next issue of CLADmag.
sign up
The 2,000sq m Ayurah Wellness Centre fuses spiritual and medical care, with a range of medical 
and spa facilities
Kenzo Takada fashion designer
"Kenzo has created an unparalleled private island"

Designing interiors for a new Cambodian wellness retreat

The Kolumba Museum showcases a wide range of exhibits, from religious icons and statues to contemporary art installations
Peter Zumthor studied in Basel, Switzerland and New York. He launched his practice in Haldenstein in 1979
"I like to take my time"

The Pritzker Prize-winner on those LACMA renderings

Summit members learning caligraphy
"People very much believe in the community of Summit and so investing in continuing and empowering that community was the logical next step"

In Utah, a bunch of hip entrepreneurs are creating a crowdfunded ski resort with art and creativity at its heart

Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
To advertise in our catalogue gallery: call +44(0)1462 431385
CLAD people: Kanye West
West announced the donation to the Roden Crater after a recent visit
"We will all live in Turrell spaces one day"

Musician Kanye West to help fund the still unfinished Roden Crater, designed by American artist James Turrell

The Modern Art Center
Daniel Libeskind has designed a number of public spaces that deal with difficult or painful historical events
"Architecture can only thrive in a democratic environment"

The Polish-American architect on how his buildings explore memory and identity

WOHA, the firm responsible for the design of the School of the Arts
"Because of the demand, they kept raising the hotel’s room rate, and people kept coming, so they raised it more"

The architects behind some of Singapore’s greenest buildings explain how urban density and nature can go hand in hand

After working for Christian Liaigre in Paris, Mahdavi launched her practice in 1999
"I never thought it was a talent. I just did it very naturally, without thinking"

The ‘queen of colour’ on her nomadic childhood, being fearless and choosing the exact right shade of pink for the Sketch Gallery restaurant

Adria Lake and her partner Marc Gerritsen, photographed at their home in Colorado for Well Home. September 2018
"We’re not built for constant comfort. When we live in spaces that connect us to our surroundings, we feel better, stronger and happier – and that is the very definition of being well"

Early-onset MS inspired Adria Lake to explore resilience as both a healing modality and an approach to design in the creation of her new home and company headquarters in Colorado

cladkit product news
Alberto Apostoli and Newform collaborate to launch the A.Zeta showerhead
The showerhead offers two modes; rainfall or waterfall
Megan Whitby
Italian architect Alberto Apostoli has renewed his partnership with Newform – an Italian wellness company – and designed A.Zeta. A.Zeta ...
Siminetti unveils iridescent decorative panelling range inspired by plants
The Clematis design
Megan Whitby
The Botanicals is Siminetti’s newest Mother of Pearl decorative panelling collection, inspired by the distinctive patterns found in botany and ...
Codelocks develops new glass door smart lock
The new lock model allows facilities and building managers to create and manage access via an app or online portal
Megan Whitby
Codelocks has launched its first glass door smart lock to bring intelligent access control to modern spa, leisure, fitness and ...
cladkit product news
Alberto Apostoli designs tech-forward Wellness Therapy furniture collection for Varaschin
The furniture collection draws on absolute geometries, pure lines, neutral colours and strong references to nature
Megan Whitby
Furniture manufacturer Varaschin has unveiled the new Wellness Therapy range, designed by Italian spa and wellness architect and designer Alberto ...
Mather & Co and ITV unite to create Coronation Street Experience
Mather & Co has transformed the visitor centre into the ultimate haven for ardent Coronation Street viewers
Magali Robathan
Experience designers, Mather & Co, have orchestrated a remarkable collaboration with ITV to unveil the new Coronation Street Experience, a ...
Eco Resort Network conference to convene in Mauritius this May
The event will be hosted in the Mauritius in 2024
Megan Whitby
Hospitality industry event Eco Resort Network is set to take place at the Ravenala Attitude Hotel, Turtle Bay, Mauritius, from ...
cladkit product news
Eden project uses drones to spell out climate change warning
Magali Robathan
Almost 300 drones were used to signal an environmental message above the Eden Project’s biomes, during the UN Climate Change ...
Koto Design introduces wood-fired hot tub
Koto is known for crafting modular, energy-neutral cabins and homes
Katie Barnes
A striking wood-fired hot tub has been unveiled by Koto, an architecture and design studio which has a passion for ...
Jaffe Holden helps bring Academy Museum of Motion Pictures alive
Jaffe Holden provided architectural acoustics for the Academy Museum
Magali Robathan
Acoustical consulting firm Jaffe Holden provided architectural acoustics and audio/video design services for the recently opened Academy Museum of Motion ...
Sign up with CLAD for regular news updates