Published On: Sun, Jun 5th, 2016

Bollywood Or Hollywood: Who Will Win The Theme Parks Battle In Dubai?



DUBAI: Domes inspired by the royal palaces of India rise from a new Bollywood theme park under construction in Dubai, part of a drive to lure millions more tourists to the emirate.

It already boasts opulent shopping malls and numerous luxury resorts, but the Gulf city-state has even grander ambitions and the film industry is centre stage.

Bollywood Parks is part of Dubai Parks and Resorts (DPR) which is being developed as the region’s “largest integrated theme park resort”.

Spread over 25 million square feet (2.3 million square metres), it will feature three theme parks and a water park.

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The resort is located near the region’s busiest port and close to where Dubai is expanding its second airport to make it the world’s largest.

The Bollywood theme park, a first of its kind inspired by the Indian popular movie industry, aims with its centrepiece Rajmahal Theatre, cinemas, rides and simulators to increase Dubai’s appeal to tourists from South Asia.

“We are trying to target a wide geographic area, but of course the majority will be from India and countries in close proximity to India … and (are) big lovers of Bollywood,” said its general manager, Thomas Jellum.

Around 14,000 construction workers are toiling round the clock to keep DPR on track for its October opening.

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More than 14.2 million people visited Dubai in 2015, but the target is 20 million by 2020 when the Gulf emirate hosts the global trade fair Expo 2020.

Dubai has invested billions of dollars over more than a decade to put itself on the map as a regional business and tourism hub.

It has built a modern infrastructure unmatched by its regional peers.

And as turmoil hits traditional tourism destinations in the Middle East and North Africa, Dubai has capitalised on its reputation as a safe haven for tourism and business.

Tourism authorities have said hotel capacity was to reach 100,000 rooms in May, boasting that Dubai aims to “position itself as a top 10 global destination in terms of available hotel supply”.

Hotel occupancy stood at 85 percent in the first quarter of 2016, with average nightly revenue of $142 per available room.

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To increase tourist numbers, Dubai is looking for visitors far from beyond its Gulf neighbourhood.

“The benefits would be limited if we rely on markets that we are used to. We need to expand our marketing to new places,” said Dubai Tourism chief Issam Kazim.

About the Author

Syed Ammar Alavi

- is Lahore (Pakistan) based journalist & writer with 25-year experience in print, wire and broadcast forms of journalism. His major fields of interest are politics, film,tv,sports, climate change and technology