Imprudent: expert responds to Abu Dhabi’s theme park plans
When it comes to Abu Dhabi Adventure World, ITPS president Dennis Speigel tells Kippreport that the time is just not right for a project of this magnitude.
December 14, 2011 3:21 by Precious de Leon
Over the couple of months, Abu Dhabi has been a strong topic of conversation among the Kipp team. We can’t help it. The capital has been making news for some of the decisions it’s taken in the last quarter of the year.
Back in October, although it reiterated that every intention is still there to go ahead with the projects, Abu Dhabi announced its decision to delay the construction of its museum. Then in November, we talked about the job cuts experienced across the country, which most notably included the capital’s clean energy champion, Masdar.
Then early this December, we looked at these necessary steps backward that Abu Dhabi has taken, looking at its projects with a more pragmatic perspective and cutting down where it feels it can. This was then followed by the news that there were job cuts at the Ferrari World theme park. The company says the redundancies were due to a schedule change. And it’s not a long stretch to see that the schedule changes to theme park openings is due to a lower than expected visitor footfall.
So considering there’s been a general housekeeping and tightening of belts across Abu Dhabi’s projects, you can imagine our surprise to see reports that Abu Dhabi is planning to open a Dhs3.4 billion theme park. And so this Tuesday, we wrote about Abu Dhabi’s not so amusing amusement park plan, where our own Eva Fernandes discussed this head scratcher of an announcement.
And this Wednesday, we received an official letter response from the President of the International Theme Park Services, Inc (ITPS), Dennis Speigel regarding Abu Dhabi’s decision to go ahead with building Adventure World.
“In short, Ms. Fernandes was spot-on in her article. A venture of this nature at this time and at the proposed expense is not prudent. Projects such as Ferrari World, Al-Ain Wildlife Park & Resort, or the proposed Universal Studios and Sea World parks, were all ill-conceived and never had a remote possibility of happening – at least not successfully. Had the proposed projects been built, they would have been disasters of enormous proportion.”
ITPS is a US-based consulting company specialising in analysing, developing, designing and operating theme parks around the world.
What about you, dear Kipper? Do you think going ahead with building a theme park at this shaky economic times is ill-conceived or a risky move that will eventually pay off?