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Dubai Parks and Resorts leases nearly two thirds of Riverland part of theme park

Dubai Parks and Resorts has let almost two-thirds of the available space at the Riverland element of its multi-theme park site.

The company — a spin-off from Meraas Holding which raised Dh2.5 billion via a flotation on the Dubai Financial Market in December 2014 — said that it exceeded its own letting targets for last year, with more than 50 per cent of the 220,000 sq ft of dining and retail space already taken. New tenants announced include UK family dining chain Giraffe, Taste of Italy, Tom’s Deli and Parle, while retail units have been taken by pharmacy chain Boots and souvenir shop Mr Camel Memories.

In total, Dubai Parks and Resorts said it had signed 34 lease proposals at Riverland ahead of the site’s scheduled opening in October. Previously-announced deals include a second Irish Village location, as well as 800 Degrees Pizza, Starbucks, Shake Shack, Mr Greek and Turkish restaurant Simit Sarayi, among others.

Raed Kajoor Al Nuaimi, chief executive of Dubai Parks and Resorts said: “In just eight months, the management team has done roughan excellent job in securing a number of high-profile and exciting tenants for two-thirds of the 50-plus outlets available at Riverland Dubai.”

Dubai Parks & Resorts is a Dh10.5bn project that will include a Legoland Dubai, motiongate and a Bollywood Parks Dubai theme park.

It will also house a Legoland Water Park and a Polynesian-themed hotel, Lapita, which will be operated by Marriott Group. It is being built on a 25 million sq ft site in Jebel Ali.

Dubai Parks and Resorts has predicted that there will be 6.7 million ticketed visits in its first full year of operation.

Vinit Shah, the company’s chief destination officer, said that it had received “a great response” from a mix of local, regional and international brands, and added that he was confident that it will meet its visitor targets.

He said Dubai’s Department of Tourism, Commerce and Marketing department numbers showed a big increase in year-on-year visitors. He also argued that competition from other parks, such as the soon-to-open IMG Worlds of Adventure or Al Ahli Group’s 20th Century Fox theme park in Dubai would be welcome additions to the market, rather than competitors.

“We welcome additions to the theme park industry in the UAE,” said Mr Shah. “We believe with the increase in the variety of choices, there will be more theme park visitors to the UAE and a higher possibility of tourists increasing their stay to experience as many attractions as possible.”

Euromonitor research analyst Diana Jarmalaite said that the turnover of UAE theme parks grew by about 11 per cent last year. She added that the UAE has far more attractions than other countries in the region through the likes of Ferrari World and Aquaventure, but that much more investment in this sector is expected.

“As part of the country’s positioning as a family holiday destination, the government is keen to invest in developing and maintaining state-of-the-art infrastructure and expand the number of sightseeing places, especially tourist attractions.” said Ms Jarmalaite. “According to Euromonitor International, over the next five years, theme park sales are expected to more than double their size, up to Dh 2bn-3bn.”

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