Meraas has taken over management of Dubai Safari park from Dubai Municipality following orders from Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid.
Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, Crown Prince of Dubai, oversaw the signing of the agreement between the two entities on behalf of the Vice President and Ruler of Dubai on Monday.
Following the exchange in management, Parques Reunidos - a leisure park operator based in Spain that manages more than 60 theme parks, zoos and marine life parks worldwide - will now oversee the day-today running of Dubai Safari.
The new management will be tasked with contributing towards Dubai's Tourism Vision 2020 that seeks to attract 20 million visitors to the emirate annually.
Dawood Al Hajri, director general of Dubai Municipality, said the agreement is the first between the municipality and a private sector company.
"Given Meraas’s successful track record in managing ventures in diverse sectors, we are confident that this partnership will result in tangible outcomes, elevate the standards of operating tourism and leisure projects, and add value to the overall Dubai Safari experience,” he said.
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Meraas, a property developer that manages destinations such as La Mer, Dubai Parks and Resorts, Last Exit and The Beach, will be responsible for the supervision and management of Dubai Safari and must develop plans, to be implemented over the next two years, aimed at boosting visitor figures to two million per year.
"The agreement also aims to support wildlife conservation efforts, through developing the skills of the local community in relevant fields, including veterinary medicine, animal care and breeding,” said Abdulla Al Habbai, Group Chairman of Meraas.
Parques Reunidos will be responsible for operating the park according to international standards for animal welfare and increasing collaborations with schools to organise educational programmes.
The operator will also conduct studies of Dubai’s nature reserves, and provide consultation on the conservation and breeding of local endangered animal species including the Oryx and the Arabian Leopard.