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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 23 June 2018

Dubai Parks & Resorts presses ahead with Six Flags theme park

Dubai Parks & Resorts has approved plans for a share issue to fund a Six Flags theme park next to the three parks it plans to open near the Sheikh Zayed Road on the outskirts of the city.
Above, visitors ride the Full Throttle roller coaster at Six Flags Magic Mountain in California. Patrick Fallon / Bloomberg
Above, visitors ride the Full Throttle roller coaster at Six Flags Magic Mountain in California. Patrick Fallon / Bloomberg

Dubai Parks & Resorts is pressing ahead with a second phase of its vast Florida-style theme park complex in Dubai.

The Dubai listed operator has approved plans for a share issue to fund a Six Flags theme park next to the three parks it plans to open near the Sheikh Zayed Road on the outskirts of the city.

In a bourse filing yesterday DP&R, the theme park company which was spun off from Meraas, the private property company owned by the Dubai Ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid in 2014, said that its board of directors had approved plans to increase the company’s share capital to fund the project.

DP&R declined to say how much cash it hoped to raise through the share placement or how much the new theme park would cost to build.

DP&R is currently building out three theme parks next to the Abu Dhabi-Dubai highway – Legoland Dubai, Motiongate Dubai and Bollywood Parks Dubai – all of which it plans to open in October 2016.

But the company has always made it clear that these parks form only the first phase of even more ambitious plans which are a key part of Dubai’s target of attracting 20 million tourists by the year 2020.

Two years ago Meraas struck a deal with Texas-based Six Flags Entertainment to build a theme park at its 25-million-square-foot Jebel Ali complex.

The original plans for a Dh10 billion park announced in November 2012 included five linked theme parks on the site.

“From the master plan documents released by Dubai Parks & Resorts it has always been clear that there is ample room on the site for future expansion,” said Phil Taylor, managing director of the leisure consulting business Team Leisure.

“Six Flags parks tend to focus on big, bad and beautiful roller coasters,” he said. “This has definitely been a gap in the current Dubai Parks line-up.”

He added that with 78 million passengers passing through Dubai International Airport last year, Dubai is becoming a more viable place for theme park businesses to operate.

“We need to see this move as not uniquely about theme parks, but about Dubai’s tourism strategy and the plan to diversify the economy away from oil revenues,” Mr Taylor said. “And this sort of development is key to encouraging more families to come to Dubai.”

lbarnard@thenational.ae

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