Could UAE rival Orlando as Leisure and Entertainment Destination?


Despite current prevailing recessionary sentiment and weakening economic data, the future prospects of UAE remain bright and attractive for international corporations. This thesis is advocated by PwC in its latest research note titled “UAE’s transformation into a world-class Leisure and Entertainment destination.”

Dubai Parks and Resorts

PricewaterhouseCoopers (now PwC) is an accounting firm that provides consulting on taxation amongst other audit-related services. During the past few years, it has expanded its presence in UAE as talks about the implementation of value added taxes (VAT) in the Middle East become more frequent. Naturally, PwC has the interest to convince international corporations that there is a plenty of potential in the development of a Leisure and Entertainment hub concept. However, in the same time, its latest research makes a lot of sense.

A Leisure and Entertainment ‘destination’ is a location that has multiple offerings appealing to a wide range of holidaymakers all within close proximity; for example: theme parks, beaches, resorts, nature and cultural activities.

Let’s take a closer look at the comparison between UAE and Orlando in the United States of America.

Orlando is the world’s premier theme park based leisure destination, with over 59 million visitors in 2013. Orlando provides a good ‘template’ for the UAE as both share many similar characteristics.

The UAE already rivals Orlando in the scale of its transport links, lodging and food and beverage sectors and its central global location – it is within 4 hours flight of 3 billion people which is unrivalled. Within 6 years the UAE will have developed other key ‘enablers’ to create serious competition to Orlando, and which main Asian destinations such as Singapore and Hong Kong.

A successful Leisure and Entertainment hub creates a seamless, convenient and consistent experience for its visitors. The leisure and entertainment assets themselves become the driver of foot fall and tourist growth and help increase the length of stay, rather than being isolated and independent attractions without critical mass.


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