Meraas appoints Spanish firm to grow Dubai Safari

By Rajive Singh

DUBAI 10 April 2018: Meraas has signed an agreement with Dubai Municipality to manage Dubai Safari, the region’s latest landmark leisure and entertainment attraction.

Meraas has also appointed Parques Reunidos, a world-renowned operator of animal parks, to oversee the day-to-day running of the destination in line with international best practices.

The public-private sector partnership aligns with Dubai’s Tourism Vision for 2020 that seeks to attract 20 million visitors per year to the Emirates. It also supports Dubai’s preparations for Expo 2020 which will be held over a period of six months and is expected to attract about 25 million visitors, 70 percent of them from outside the country.

Valuable Partnerships

The collaboration is aligned with Dubai Municipality’s efforts to forge productive synergies that contribute to the achievement of its strategic goals and the development of a happy, sustainable city. Meraas’s extensive capabilities and in-depth expertise in the leisure and entertainment sector across its wide variety of projects led to the decision to appoint the company as the representative in dealing with Parques Reunidos.

Dawood Al Hajri, Director General of Dubai Municipality, said: “The agreement with Meraas is the first partnership of its kind that Dubai Municipality is entering into with a private sector entity. It presents a valuable opportunity to train Emirati talent in new fields as per the requirements of the local market, and develop additional skills in a variety of sectors in line with Dubai’s growth.”

Support and Expertise

The agreement appoints Meraas to represent Dubai Municipality in liaising with the operator, and entrusts the company with the responsibility for general supervision and performance management of Dubai Safari, in addition to leading its marketing efforts.

Meraas will also develop plans, to be implemented over the next two years, aimed at creating unique experiences and establishing the destination as one of the premier wildlife parks in the world, expected to attract two million visitors annually. The company seeks to promote Dubai Safari and its other destinations through one preferentially priced entry ticket to encourage residents and visitors to benefit from the city’s rich leisure offering.

Over the past five years, Meraas has expanded its business in the leisure and entertainment industry and invested in an innovative portfolio valued at Dh18 billion. The portfolio includes unique destinations and attractions such as Dubai Parks and Resorts, Roxy Cinemas, Hub Zero, Mattel Play! Town, The Green Planet, Dubai Arena at City Walk, Ain Dubai at Bluewaters and the upcoming Laguna Waterpark at La Mer.

The agreement highlights Meraas’s role in augmenting the variety of attractions available to Dubai’s residents and visitors, and creating a vibrant environment where people can explore, learn, innovate and enjoy themselves. Moreover, it reflects the company’s commitment to reinforcing the City’s status as a global tourism hub.

International Standards

Parques Reunidos will operate Dubai Safari in accordance with international standards on animal welfare, providing a safe and healthy environment for animals. The operator will ensure that Dubai Safari offers exceptional experiences that surpass global benchmarks and is certified from concerned bodies. The company will also collaborate with schools to organise educational programmes.

In addition to operating the destination, Parques Reunidos will conduct studies of Dubai’s nature reserves, and provide consultation on the conservation and breeding of local endangered animal species including the Oryx and the Arabian Leopard.

Based in Madrid, Parques Reunidos manages over 60 leisure destinations, including waterparks, zoos and marine parks, in 14 countries across the Americas, Europe, the Middle East and Asia, receiving approximately 20 million visitors per year. Meraas appointed the company in 2014 to operate Motiongate Dubai and Bollywood Parks Dubai at Dubai Parks and Resorts, part of the DXB Entertainments’ portfolio.

Dubai Safari

In December 2017, Dubai Municipality launched the pilot phase of Dubai Safari, a 12.8 million sq ft area of land that is home to more than 2,500 animals from around the world. Dubai Safari offers an open safari experience, giving visitors the opportunity to see animals in an environment that recreates their habitat. The destination includes a Kids’ Farm that enables youngsters to closely interact with animals in a safe outdoor setting, and the Wadi Area, where guests can enjoy a relaxing picnic by the waterfall.

In addition to serving as a leisure attraction, Dubai Safari aims to help protect the environment through wildlife conservation. To support these efforts, the destination plans to promote wildlife education through knowledge exchange, awareness programmes, sustainability initiatives and research studies.