MAF aims to bring Magic Planet to Abu Dhabi

The company is also in talks to put the play centres in Dubai malls it does not operate.

Majid Al Futtaim has 17 Magic Planets across the Arabian Gulf, attracting 6 million visitors last year. Jeffrey E Biteng / The National
Powered by automated translation

The Dubai retail and leisure group Majid Al Futtaim expects to introduce its children’s entertainment centre Magic Planet to the capital as it looks to diversify its customer base by attracting more tourists.

Yas Island is among the locations the company is looking at to spread the brand.

"We are expanding in the UAE. We have a couple of malls and we are looking to bring more Magic Planets to Abu Dhabi and Qatar," said Omar El Banna, the marketing and sales director at MAF's leisure and entertainment division, at the Arabian Travel Market in Dubai yesterday.

“And we are adding attractions such as iFly to Magic Planet to attract more tourists,” he said.

About 85 per cent of the visitors to Magic Planet outlets are residents of the countries in which they are located, whereas at Ski Dubai, MAF's indoor ski attraction in Mall of the Emirates, the figure is about 65 per cent

MAF has 17 Magic Planets across the Arabian Gulf. Together they attracted 6 million visitors last year, a 5 per cent increase over the previous year.

The company is also in talks to put the play centres in Dubai malls it does not operate, Mr El Banna said. That includes malls near Dubai World Central and the site of Expo 2020, which is expected to attract 20 million tourists. The area is expected to have 25 hotels from three to five stars.

MAF is also one of the largest Gulf investors in Egypt. It received the green light in March for its five-year, Dh8.7 billion investment plan from the Egyptian prime minister.

Ski Egypt, near the pyramids of Giza, is scheduled for opening in early 2016. The attraction is expected to anchor its Mall of Egypt, spread over 160,000 square metres. The company began construction of the 4.9bn Egyptian pound (Dh2.56bn) mall last year, and it is also expected to be completed by 2016.

“We are focusing more on the snow park and the attractions [there] so that it will cater to family and tourist markets, and the slope will be shorter than the one in Dubai,” Mr El Banna said.

MAF last year reported revenues of US$6bn and earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation of $900m. The company expects to double the business by 2018 through malls in Saudi Arabia and Egypt, residential projects in Lebanon, hypermarkets, cinemas, family entertainment centres and snow parks.

The brands it operates include City Centre Malls, Vox Cinemas, Carrefour and Najm Credit Cards.

Follow us on Twitter @Ind_Insights