As a new season for leisure attractions approaches, the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) reports that the 2017 season will bring a record number of new experiences for the leisure industry in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.
The development of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) as a family destination with investment by governments in local tourism, increased investment in intellectual properties, and the continued development of local attractions into multi-day destinations with accommodations are a few factors behind the growing number of rides and attractions. Middle Eastern investment for the period 2015-2020 accounts for over €10bn including brand new theme parks, attractions and resorts recently opened and still under construction. The average annual investment of more than €500m on new rides in Europe (CAPEX) will be exceeded in 2017 says the industry body.
According to a recent study by IAAPA the Middle East and North Africa area is expected to become the fastest-growing region globally with a projected attendance to 12.4 million in 2020 from 2.9 million in 2015. The visitor spending at UAE theme parks is expected to grow six-fold from €97.2m in 2016 to €560m by 2020. In Europe, market growth is expected to be six per cent of overall.
Trends identified for this season include flying theatres, augmented reality in dark rides, virtual reality (VR) combining with roller coasters, themed accommodations, intellectual properties implemented in children areas, digitalisation and more.