Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 6 December 2019

DXB Entertainments reports drop in Q1 visitors but looks to hospitality for growth

Dubai Parks and Resorts recorded 760,000 visitors, and plans new promotions to lure visitors this year

Dubai Parks and Resorts includes Motiongate Dubai, Legoland Dubai and Bollywood Parks Dubai. Courtesy Dubai Parks and Resorts 
Dubai Parks and Resorts includes Motiongate Dubai, Legoland Dubai and Bollywood Parks Dubai. Courtesy Dubai Parks and Resorts 

DXB Entertainments, the operator of the Dubai Parks and Resorts theme parks, recorded an 11 per cent year-on-year decrease in visitor numbers to its parks in the first quarter of 2019, but is looking to hospitality to boost growth, it said on Thursday.

“A decline, during the second full-year of operations, is not unusual for a destination such as Dubai Parks and Resorts which benefited from high penetration of its resident market in 2018, boosted by the introduction of the destination’s first annual pass and competitive resident pricing,” the company said in a statement posted on the Dubai stock exchange, where its shares are traded.

Total visitors to the park stood at 760,000, down from 851,000 in the same period of 2018.

However, Dubai Parks and Resorts’ first hotel, the Lapita Hotel, reported a healthy increase in average occupancy to 72 per cent in the first quarter of 2019, up from 62 per cent in the same quarter of last year, DXB Entertainments added.

By 2020, the park is scheduled to have a total of 1,300 hotel rooms, following the planned opening of the Rove hotel in 2019 and Legoland in 2020. “The Lapita hotel’s 72 per cent occupancy rate for the quarter shows that people are responding well to our existing hotel offering,” said Mohamed Almulla, chief executive and managing director of DXB Entertainments.

“Our newly appointed chief commercial officer, Paul Parker, will lead our efforts to grow international visitation, which will in turn drive growth through a higher yielding visitor [demographic], spending more time at both our parks and our hotels.”

Having established a domestic customer base in the past year, DXB Entertainments plans to “re-ignite interest” through a series of promotions in 2019, some of which kick off on April 19, the chief executive added.

DXB Entertainments, in which Dubai real estate developer Meraas Holding holds a 52.3 per cent stake, has been working to pay down losses incurred in the past few years.

The company operates Dubai Parks and Resorts, which holds the franchises for Legoland and Motiongate and runs the Bollywood theme park.

Last year, it restructured Dh4.2 billion of bank debt and received new funding from Meraas. In the third quarter of 2018, DXB Entertainments narrowed its losses by 4.5 per cent to Dh271.4 million from the year-earlier period, having previously narrowed second-quarter losses by 11 per cent year-on-year to Dh255m.

Updated: April 11, 2019 01:56 PM