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Go Karts Set to be the next hot FEC development trend
Family Entertainment Centres in the Arabian Gulf are introducing go kart tracks to cater for their growing teenage and young adults market segments.
Recent examples of this trend include recently introduced tracks at Adhari Park in Bahrain, Gondolania in Qatar and Stargate in Dubai.
Prakash Vivekanand of Dubai-based Amusement Services International (ASI) believes that 'adrenalin zone' components such as go karts are will widen the market reach of FECs and extend visitor stay and market spend, pointing to the development of a go kart component at the Mirdif Mall in Dubai, complementing its iFly attraction, and the soon-to-be-opened Sky Walk component in the Playnation zone of Mirdif Mall.
Vivekanand also recently backed his judgment at Aprilâs Dubai Entertainment, Amusement and Leisure Show by announcing a joint venture distribution and development agreement with global kart track turnkey specialists, the UK-based Fastline Group.
Simon Heap, Fastline Group's International Marketing Director and Chief Operating Officer commented that their go kart track turnkey business had traditionally focused on motor sports entertainment facilities such as Alain Raceway in the United Arab Emirates and the Erbil Speed Centre in Iraq.
However, Heap explains that "recently there has been an emerging trend for FEC and shopping mall development companies to incorporate karting centres in their facilities targeting the older teenagers and young adult market to extend the FEC appeal to a wider audience."
Heap added that traditionally FECs had incorporated kiddy ride or bumper kart style karting, but this only appealed to a narrower young children and young teenager audience, who soon tired of slow speed driving.
Heap believes that "with the excitement and interest in motor sports in the Middle East, particularly with Formula 1 racing at Bahrain and Abu Dhabi, FECs have recognised the market pull of karting components focused on a motor sports experience, generating new and greater repeat traffic."
He also emphasises the importance of providing a full motor sports experience including race suits, helmets, track side results display, race result printouts, podium presentation awards, and more, stating "after all, our clients are selling an experience not just a ride and they need to make that as close to the real experience as possible."
In talking about recent examples of FEC karting tracks, Heap explains that some FECs have not been able to deliver the full adrenalin experience. This failure to deliver the full experience potential was usually the result of a lack of understanding of track component development requirements and also poor operational standards.
He concluded "some FEC designers and operators have yet to grasp the importance of using specialist go kart turnkey track specialists in designing, fitting out and providing operational systems and training.
"Ongoing technical support, training and spares supply is also an important consideration for operating a successful and safe karting facility."
As a result a ASI and Fastline have formed a joint Arabian Gulf-based team to offer an annual operational and maintenance contract to FEC kart component operators.
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