Developer behind Global Village and Ain Dubai to enhance assets amid tourism rebound

Company also working on new technology and platforms to improve customer experience, chief executive says

Bollywood Parks Dubai, part of Dubai Parks and Resorts, closed down last month. Photo: Dubai Parks and Resort
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Dubai Holding Entertainment, which owns attractions such as Global Village and Ain Dubai, will focus more on “enhancing” its existing portfolio of assets as the emirate seeks to return to pre-pandemic tourist numbers this year, according to its chief executive.

The company is “open” to acquisitions if there are any good opportunities, Fernando Eiroa told The National earlier this month.

“The number of attractions we have here are second to none in terms of quality and size, so I believe that we have a lot of room for improvement,” said Mr Eiroa.

Currently, the company's portfolio includes Coca-Cola Arena, Dubai Parks and Resorts, The Green Planet and Roxy Cinemas.

Its Dubai Parks and Resorts theme park complex permanently closed down Bollywood Parks Dubai last month after seven years.

The closing of the attraction is part of the company's “master plan” for Dubai Parks and Resorts for the next few years, Mr Eiroa said.

“We talk a lot with our customers [about] what they want to have [and] the experience they want us to offer them and we came to the conclusion that we need to change some of the attractions,” said Mr Eiroa.

The Dubai Holding Entertainment chief said all of the company’s venues were performing “much better” than pre-pandemic levels in terms of revenue, without disclosing actual figures.

“[In] Global Village, we broke the record this season. We crossed nine million visitors, which was an amazing achievement,” said Mr Eiroa.

The tourism sector, an important pillar of Dubai's economy, has strongly rebounded from the coronavirus-induced slowdown.

Dubai International Airport remained the world's busiest international hub for passengers last year for the ninth year in a row, as long-haul travel demand surged, rankings by the Airports Council International showed in April.

The emirate recorded 14.36 million international visitors in 2022, inching closer to the 16.73 million tourists welcomed in 2019, according to data from the Department of Economy and Tourism.

It now aims to exceed the pre-pandemic annual number of international visitors this year, after the emirate recorded a 17 per cent increase in the tourist numbers in the first quarter of 2023, Issam Kazim, chief executive of the Dubai Department for Tourism and Commerce Marketing, told The National earlier this month.

Dubai Holding Entertainment has not yet seen an impact from high inflation levels, which can affect consumer spending.

“We understand that some families out there could be suffering from inflation and possibly a recession, so our aim is to offer affordable entertainment to our customers,” said Mr Eiroa.

Inflationary pressure in the UAE, which bucked the global trend last year, is expected to decline further in 2023, as the Arab world's second-largest economy maintains its robust growth momentum, the UAE Central Bank recently said.

The company is also working on new technology and platforms to improve customer experience, Mr Eiroa said.

“I'm a firm believer that if you don't talk to your customers, you will fail, so we are developing new websites, customer relationship management platforms and apps to enhance the experience for all our guests,” he said.

Updated: May 17, 2023, 3:00 AM