DXB Entertainments, in which property developer Meraas holds a 52.3 per cent stake, reported a 45 per cent increase in visitor numbers in the first quarter as the Dubai Parks and Resorts operator seeks to reduce losses this year.
The Dubai-listed Legoland operator received 851,000 visits in the first quarter of the year, an increase of 55,000 visits over the last quarter, it said in a filing on Thursday. The various theme parks attracted close to 796,000 visitors in the last quarter of 2017, it said in the filing.
"Visitor numbers are steadily increasing as we continue to focus on our core markets of GCC residents, annual pass holders and international visitation,” said chief executive Mohamed Almulla.
“It is important to note that in a normal annual cycle the fourth quarter should deliver the highest visitor numbers as it is the peak tourist season for the city of Dubai and therefore quarter-on-quarter improvement is a further sign of our continued growth."
Mr Almulla cautioned that visitor numbers will taper during the warmer second quarter in comparison with the colder half of the year.
DXB Entertainments has yet to disclose its first quarter earnings, but estimates by Bahrain-based Sico Investment Bank suggest the entity made a net loss of Dh337.7m for the first quarter, while Cairo-based EFG Hermes has forecast a loss of Dh241.21m.
DXBE, which began opening its attractions on a staggered basis in 2016, posted a wider-than-forecast loss of Dh1.11 billion for 2017, compared with a loss of Dh485m a year earlier. The company began cutting costs last year as its losses widened and reorganised its business along three lines encompassing theme parks, family entertainment centres, and retail and hospitality.
The theme park operator said last month it had no plans to cut costs further even as the company secured a Dh1.2bn instrument from its major shareholder and restructured its Dh4.2bn debt.
The company completed a restructuring during the third quarter of 2017, reducing staff numbers and marketing spend.
The company said earlier this year that it was targeting India, Saudi Arabia and the UK to bring in tourist numbers to its Dubai theme parks. The park operator said that upcoming quarters would be more indicative of the destination’s appeal to visitors around the world.
In its Thursday filing, DXBE said average occupancy at its Polynesian-themed The Lapita Hotel rose 62 per cent in the first quarter compared with 22 per cent for the same period last year, and 48 per cent for the previous quarter.
DXB has also been working with hotels to promote its parks.