PricewaterhouseCoopers forecasts that the leisure and entertainment industry in the UAE has a market potential that will reach 45 million visitors by 2021.
Of the Middle Easts diverse verticals in tourism, one that stands out for its immense potential is that of theme parks. As per pre-COVID-19 estimates, the Dubai theme parks industry could generate about $5 billion (Dh18.3 billion) as annual revenue by 2020.
The Middle East has seen the development of leisure entertainment and attractions projects with confirmed investment of more than $350 billion dollars in the theme parks and attractions sector, according to reports.
Middle Easts Leisure Entertainment and Amusement Industry that is undergoing digital transformation will be the fastest in the world to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic early next year, according to Middle East and North Africa Leisure Attractions Council, the leisure and entertainment industry council representing the Middle Easts dynamic leisure attractions sector.
As the socio-economic fundamentals of the Middle East where a high proportion of the population are young remains extraordinarily strong, it is expected that this highly tech-savvy young generation will be the drivers of adopting technology across the industry moving forward.
Digital and contactless technology is expected to play a dominating role in transforming the $80.58 billion (Dh295.72 billion) leisure attractions industry in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region as the sector recovers from COVID-19. The regions theme parks are currently getting busier with a growing number of visitors, following the gradual re-opening of most of the parks and especially with the change in the weather.
The Middle East and North Africa Leisure Attractions Council (MENALAC) expects the industry to transform itself to become future-ready with technology adoption, as personalization, safety, security, and wearable gadgets dominate the future trends in the industry.
Middle East theme park and attraction operators are heavily investing in technology to create fully immersive and connected guest experiences they cannot get anywhere else. The various experience upgrades that the industry in the Middle East are investing in include the deployment in digital ticketing, cloud-base solutions, digital payment, augmented and virtual reality and experiential attractions. The Middle Easts Leisure and Attractions industry will increasingly deploy Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Reality (VR) technologies including VR-based rides.
International visitor impact in the Middle East was estimated at US$102 billion (Dh375 billion) in 2019, of which 79 percent is in the leisure industry, according to the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC).
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