Big Bus wheels to go round in more cities as Dubai attractions are added
A British city tour bus operator plans to expand global operations as it announced more attractions on its Dubai circuits.
Big Bus, which is seeking around US$810 million in investments, expects to grow to two to four new cities a year, said Christopher Preston, the chief operating officer of Big Bus. He declined to name the new destinations.
“We have met that [target] for the last three years and we are looking to grow,” he said.
He was in Dubai to announce a new route taking in Dubai Marina, making it the company’s third route in the emirate, from tomorrow. It would include Dubai Marina and Palm Jumeirah attractions as well as Madinat Jumeirah.
“With the tram works finishing, we felt it was the right time to launch with a much freer flow of traffic [around Dubai Marina], and Blue Water Island under construction, now is the time,” he said.
Big Bus expects to handle 500,000 guests across Dubai and Abu Dhabi this year, and the year-on-year growth has been between 10 and 15 per cent. Big Bus entered Dubai in 2002 and Abu Dhabi seven years later. Its Dubai fleet consists of 25 vehicles.
“Dubai was our first overseas investment. It has been hugely successful, and we are invested heavily in Dubai,” Mr Preston said. “In a global business we have competition in every city we operate, and this plan for the new Dubai route started 12 months ago.”
In October, Emirates Group’s travel company dnata and its Spanish partner City Sightseeing Worldwide launched another hop-on, hop-off city tour.
City Sightseeing’s two routes combines 26 locations in Dubai. It started a Sharjah tour last year.
Big Bus would not expand to Sharjah, but the existing circuits will include a free Sharjah jaunt.
Its ticket prices at Dh240 for a 24-hour pass for the hop-on, hop-off ride are expected to remain steady next year. Big Bus currently operates in 16 cities across the world, handling four million passengers every year. It has a fleet of 300 buses globally and entered New York, Istanbul and Vienna early this year.
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Published: December 18, 2014 04:00 AM