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Arabian Gulf malls look to ‘mini theme parks’ and virtual reality to drive footfalls and momentum

Arabian Gulf malls look to ‘mini theme parks’ and virtual reality to drive footfalls and momentum
March 31, 2018

With family entertainment centres established as a key part of shopping mall operations in Arabian Gulf nations, a new report suggests that future growth will see their expansion into ‘mini theme parks’ and the addition of augmented and virtual reality (VR) technologies.

According to International Expo Consults (IEC), the organisers of the DEAL (Dubai Entertainment Amusement and Leisure) 2018 show, innovative products and new technology is set to play a huge role for FECs in the near future – particularly in the Emirate of Dubai.

IEC define FECs as attractions with features including rides, soft-play equipment such as the plastic maze of tubes, slides and ball pits, children’s play areas, video arcades, redemption and carnival games.

Popularly located in shopping malls, where they are seamlessly integrated with the retail sector. Malls and FECs complement each other as they provide avenues for people of all ages, thereby increasing footfall.

According to Yuhanis Nawasreh, Sales & Development Manager at Dubai-based Warehouse of Games Ltd “the FEC market in the MENA region is calm at the moment as compared to before. But the need for new games and new projects is still there.

“All the big operators are continuously looking for opportunities to invest and renovate their locations by adding new games.

“Utilising trade shows such as DEAL Middle East is a viable option to showcase our new games and products to the market. This year we would be launching  games with license names and famous cartoon characters, such as the Rabbids, DC Her , Winter X Games, Despicable Me and Spongebob with wide variety of redemption games, video games, kiddie rides, photo machines and novelty games.”

Industry experts argue that since the rise in popularity of online marketplaces, retail has been slow to pull in the numbers of past years and it is the FECs that are increasing the footfall at the malls.

Another DEAL exhibitor, Switzerland-based Kyona is upbeat about VR technology and its applications in FECs.

Kyona’s Michel Baud-Bovy advises “for DEAL 2018, we would be showcasing the World Premier for Koliseum Soccer VR - a soccer table using virtual reality technology. VR is the latest trend for the industry and according to reports augmented and virtual reality revenue is forecasted to hit US$150 billion by 2020. At DEAL we hope to find distributors and new customers for our products.”

IEC Chief Executive Sharif Rahman adds “as the Expo 2020 mega event looms closer the shopping malls and attractions construction in Dubai have witnessed resurgence.

“The fact that the world expo is likely to attract more than 25 million visitors, 70% of whom are expected to come from nearly 200 countries from around the world has ignited the construction industry. This boom would positively influence the FEC industry to create more entertainment and leisure avenues for the visitors of the Expo and into the foreseeable future.”

The DEAL show has shaped the region’s entertainment industry for the past two decades and it has brought together great minds and their world class innovations all under one umbrella.

DEAL 2018 is to be held from 9th to 11th April 2018 at Halls 1 & Za’abeel Halls 1, 2, 3 at the  Dubai World Trade Centre. 

Click here to view details on the Dubai Entertainment Amusement and Leisure (DEAL) Show in the Australasian Leisure Management industry Calendar. 

Images: FECs and other leisure concepts are starting to drive the retail sector in the UAE.

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13th October 2016 - AUTHORITIES PLAN TO REUSE MORE THAN 80% OF DUBAI EXPO 2020 SITE

6th September 2016 - WORLD’S LARGEST INDOOR THEME PARK OPENS IN DUBAI 

14th July 2016 - CREATIVE CONCEPTS TO DRIVE MILLIONS OF GUESTS TO UAE THEME PARKS

20th November 2015 - IAAPA RECOGNISES ASIAN ATTRACTIONS FOR EXCELLENCE IN HUMAN RESOURCES, ENTERTAINMENT AND MARKETING 


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