MENA leisure landscape to diversify with projects worth $41bn

Dubai, United Arab of Emirates — After a few difficult years the leisure and entertainment industry, particularly in the GCC, is now regaining the growth momentum and witnessing a renewed vibrancy.

“Looking back, I’d like to phrase 2022 as the grand reopening for the entertainment sector, the journey from the ‘new norm’ to the ‘back to norm’,” observed Fernando Medroa, VP – Entertainment & Hotels for Kuwait-based Alshaya Group. “In Kuwait we’ve noticed a shift in seeking entertainment locally therein intensifying efforts by both public and private sector entities.

Meanwhile, commenting on Bahrain’s L&E industry, Mohammed Khalifa, Manager, Seef Entertainment said, “The average revenue generated by the entertainment sector ranges between BHD6 and 8 million annually and this by a country with a population of 1.7 million.”

Having said that Bahrain attracts significant tourist numbers with a target to attract 14.1 million tourists by 2026 as part of the Kingdoms’ Economic Recovery Plan. This is expected to fuel more leisure and entertainment focused offerings.

A closer look at FECs

“Indoor entertainment centers in good locations are recording robust performance and have in most cases exceeded pre-Covid levels already,” stated Silvio Liedtke, CEO, Landmark Leisure.

“Overall, longer dwell time and rise in spending indicate growth. Disruptors like VR and AR, strong IP-led product ranges and social entertainment are changing the landscape of our industry leading to a vibrant and dynamic market with new ideas, innovations and new concepts springing up almost daily.” Liedtke explained.

Amid growth indications can supply chain related disruptions be overlooked? An area that was a massive challenge in 2021-22.

“The supply chain situation has certainly improved since the very disrupted times in 2021-22. We have seen production lead times for products reduce since December 2022. However, we are still not at the same level as the pre-Covid era.,” shared Prakash Vivekanand, Managing Director, Amusement Services International LLC.

With several new and diverse leisure and entertainment facilities coming up across the region the depth and breadth of offerings have indeed increased.

“Today’s consumer demands an enhanced journey and experience, and the focus should be on complementing cutting-edge content with enhanced customer experience making each visit memorable,” Vivekanand observed.

Against this backdrop the 6th edition of the LEA Conference is set to take place on March 13, 2023 with an aim to discuss opportunities and challenges for the industry. What’s more, the LEA Conference will be co-located with the MENALAC Waterpark Conference 2023 (March 12), Safety Day (March 14) and the annual MENALAC Awards ceremony (March 15).

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