How to build a world-class theme park in Dubai

20 million lego bricks will construct Dubai's iconic skyline at Legoland Dubai – one of three world class theme parks set to make the Middle East a thrill seeker's destination, says Raed Kajour Al Nuaimi, CEO of Dubai Parks and Resorts

What qualities make UAE a global theme park destination and why?

A recent report by PwC on the global theme park industry states that within six years the UAE could rival Orlando as a world-class leisure and entertainment destination, and forecasts that the UAE can achieve 18 million theme park visits by 2021. We believe that the UAE has the attributes to be a leading global leisure and entertainment destination, and with the upcoming Expo 2020 and planned future investments in the city, tourist numbers will only increase and the future of the UAE looks even brighter.

How are you planning to attract thrill seekers from around the world?

We will fill a significant gap in the market as the only world-class multi-theme park destination within a seven-hour flight time of Dubai. In addition to our location and scale, I believe the breadth of diverse attractions we offer in one location will appeal to families across the GCC region and worldwide. Our slogan is ‘Experience Amazing” and that is what we promise to deliver for every single guest. Our three theme parks are based on globally-loved brands; Hollywood-themed Motiongate Dubai, Bollywood Parks Dubai, and Legoland Dubai.

We have recently broken ground on the second phase of Dubai Parks and Resorts, which will see the destination expand to include Six Flags Dubai, the first Six Flags theme park in the Middle East. Six Flags Dubai will complement our existing three theme parks; appealing to thrill-seekers of all ages, it will feature at least three world record-breaking rides and six rollercoasters.

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What makes the three interlinked parks extra special to other theme parks?

Dubai Parks and Resort will feature three remarkable theme parks and one water park all linked by Riverland Dubai, a themed dining, retail and entertainment destination, and Lapita™ Hotel, a Polynesian themed family hotel part of the Autograph Collection by Marriott. There will be over 100 impressive attractions and rides; many are exclusive to the Middle East region and some are world firsts.

Will Legoland DUBAI have scale models of iconic UAE landmarks?

Legoland Dubai will feature six themed lands, each unique in their experience, entertainment and educational offering. Miniland is a must-visit for every family with an incredible 20 million lego bricks constructing Dubai iconic skyline, as well as famous buildings from around the world including a replica of the Taj Mahal.

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What do you think is key to effective leadership?

I believe good communication is key; ensuring that everyone within the organisation understands our collective goals and what is required to achieve them is imperative for success. Working on a large-scale, long-term project like Dubai Parks and Resorts, it is important to celebrate successes along the journey, to take time to look back at what we have achieved, and to use this to inspire us onto greater accomplishments.

As CEO you need to surround yourself with the best team. At Dubai Parks and Resorts, people are at the heart of our business, and our employees are integral to our success. It is important to listen to those around you, to respect the point of view of others and to be decisive. 

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What is the most important thing to remember when under pressure to deliver an ambitious project such as this?

Creating a 30.6 million square-foot entertainment destination in the desert is a challenging journey – this is the first time three theme parks have been launched simultaneously so we have certainly set ourselves an ambitious target. I am very proud of the way our teams have worked together on this vast project; due to the scale and complexity of the construction we are engaging leading experts from all over the world and at times we have upwards of 42 contractors and 16,500 workers on site.

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Do you like the adrenaline rush of a rollercoaster yourself?

Of course! I have tried almost all the famous rollercoasters around the world and this means have selected some good ones for our destination.