The owner of Dubai Parks and Resorts has announced a deal with Dubai's airport to promote the theme park resort to the airport's nearly 90 million annual visitors.
Dubai Parks and Resorts — which includes Motiongate Dubai, Bollywood Parks Dubai, Legoland Dubai, the Lapita Hotel, and the Riverland shopping and dining district — has been struggling to attract visitors and turn investor-pleasing profits since its opening in late 2016. Not having the centerpiece Dreamworks Animation pavilion or its Hunger Games land open for Motiongate's big press debut no doubt calmed the PR splash that the park could have enjoyed had they been ready with the rest of the resort. But the resort's relative lack of visibility in the rest of the Emirate isn't helping its popularity, either.
Having Dubai Parks and Resorts branding, characters, and retail prominent throughout Dubai International should help a lot of potential visitors discover the resort. With its location miles away from downtown (almost to Abu Dhabi, in fact), the resort isn't something that visitors are just going to happen across on their way from the airport to Dubai's Mall of the Emirates.
From the press release:
"The agreement will see Dubai Parks and Resorts promoted at all DXB concourses with access to over 65 airlines flying to and from over 240 destinations in 170 countries around the globe. Dubai Parks and Resorts will engage airport passengers by providing branded family zones and dedicated retail locations selling Dubai Parks and Resorts products while enticing them to experience the full offer by conducting direct marketing and immersive advertising."
While it would have been nice to have the airport deal in place with the resort's opening, since this is the first calendar year in which Dubai Parks and Resorts is fully operational, holding off until now to promote the resort at what for just about everyone is the entrance to Dubai might make some business sense. At least now, Dubai International visitors who might be curious to visit the resort can enjoy the full experience.
Dubai is preparing to host a world's fair in 2020, to be built on a site 15 miles away from Dubai Parks and Resorts. That should bring millions more visitors to the Emirate, though the resort will have to find a way to convince those visitors to extend their stay to include a visit to the resort. Having a strong marketing presence in the world's third-most-popular airport should only help.
Meanwhile, the CEO of Miral Asset Management, which develops the Yas Island resort in neighboring Abu Dhabi, posted to his LinkedIn story today noting that Yas Island has had a similar marketing deal with Abu Dhabi's Etihad Airways for the past three years.
I'm not a frequent visitor to the United Arab Emirates, so I can't speak knowledgeably as to any sibling-style rivalry between Dubai and Abu Dhabi and their associated businesses, but with nine theme parks open or under development* in the 80-some miles between the Abu Dhabi and Dubai international airports, the UAE has a definite opportunity to promote itself to the world's theme park fans.
*For the curious, the nine parks are:
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The airport and the parks are owned by the same person - namely the state.