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Exciting Trend: $350bln leisure, entertainment projects in Middle East

November 9, 2020
finance & economytourism

The region’s theme parks are currently getting busier with a growing number of visitors, following the gradual re-opening of most of the parks

The Middle East region has seen the development of leisure entertainment and attractions projects worth more than $350 billion mainly in the theme parks and family amusement park sectors, said a report released ahead of the 4th Leisure Entertainment and Amusement Conference and 3rd edition of the Awards which opens on November 10.

The theme park and attraction operators in the region are heavily investing in technology to create fully immersive and connected guest experiences they cannot get anywhere else.

The various experience upgrades being planned include the deployment in digital ticketing, cloud-base solutions, digital payment, augmented and virtual reality and experiential attractions, stated the report by Middle East and North Africa Leisure Attractions Council (Menalac), which represents the region’s dynamic leisure attractions sector.

Currently the Middle East’s leisure entertainment and amusement industry, which is undergoing digital transformation, will be the fastest in the world to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic early next year, thanks to the increasingly deployment of Artificial Intelligence (AI), Virtual Reality (VR) technologies – including VR-based rides, said Menalac, also the organiser of the upcoming event.

With a clear indication that 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, it added.

According to Menalac, the digital and contactless technology is expected to play a dominating role in transforming the $80.58 billion leisure attractions industry in the Mena region as the sector recovers from Covid-19.

The region’s 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, it added.

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.

'Entertainment is always trendy and developing all the time. Therefore, I do recommend studying the market well before you choose which type of entertainment you will go with. All the fields in entertainment are attractive especially sport, e-sport, and family entertainment centers,' remarked Mishal Al Hokair, the Deputy CEO of Al Hokair Group, one of the founding members of Menalac.

'Training and development in all aspects is crucial and the owner should always educate him/herself. Don’t forget to plan for a good budget on IT and online products,' stated Al Hokair.

Al Hokair Entertainment is one of the largest operators in Saudi Arabia’s family entertainment industry with 64 leisure centres around the kingdom in addition to operations across the Middle East. It is also the diamond sponsor for the Menalac awards 2020 .

As gold sponsors, Menalac Awards has some big players involved including Cheer Amusement, a renowned indoor playground equipment manufacturer and Abdullah Al Othaim Leisure and Tourism Company, a key player in setting up family entertainment destinations across many cities in Saudi Arabia and the Middle East.

Play Enterprises, a reputed family entertainment centre operator based in Kuwait, supports the event - as the tittle sponsor of the Menalac Conference and silver sponsor for the Awards Ceremony

Bob Space Racers, an inndustry veteran with over four decades of experience providing games and management services for the arcade, park, and trailer industries throughout the world, is a silver sponsor for the Awards Ceremony.

Embed, the technology partner for the event, is a worldwide leader of cashless business management solutions with Mobile Wallet, Kiosks, Card Readers, Game Cards, POS Systems.

On the upcoming event, Rosa Tahmaseb, Secretary General of Menalac, said: 'We will bring together top industry experts and stakeholders at the Virtual Leisure Entertainment and Amusement (LEA) Conference and Awards Ceremony to discuss the key issues, challenges and trends in the industry as well as hold panel discussions aimed at highlighting the industry’s achievement and future growth.'

Sheikha Monira Al Sabah, CEO of Play Enterprises and Co-Founder of Trampo Extreme, says, “The modern-day family entertainment industry incorporates with it a sizeable factor of technology now more than ever. Whether it is arcade games, virtual reality games and rides, augmented reality games, touch screen or even laser tag style games among others.