Continuous innovation, diversified offerings, power of data and people to drive MENA’s leisure & entertainment industry forward

April 11, 2023

Continuous Innovation, diversified offerings, power of data and people to drive MENA’s leisure & entertainment industry forward

● Industry leaders congregated at MENALAC’s 6th Leisure Entertainment & Attractions Conference.
● Over 150 C-level industry insiders attended the LEA Conference, an event that brought together the world’s fastest, longest, deepest, and tallest concepts.
● For the first time vanguards of the leisure & entertainment industry – IAAPA & MENALAC – came together to share learnings, insights, and strategies to grow the industry.

[March, Dubai, UAE]: The Middle East and North Africa Leisure & Attractions Council (MENALAC) recently hosted the sixth edition of the Leisure Entertainment & Attractions (LEA) Conference on the sidelines of the DEAL 2023 show.

Being mindful of changing visitor demands, blurring of the line between physical and virtual worlds as well as the need for diversity and leveraging data to create delightful guest experience was some of the topics that were discussed at the MENALAC CEO Conclave. The conference focused on growth opportunities, current market scenarios, new and emerging trends, and how to overcome hurdles facing the MENA leisure and entertainment industry.

“In its sixth edition, our three-day MENALAC conference covered everything from innovations in theme to waterparks, the paramount importance of health & safety as well as how the power of data and people are propelling the industry forward and reshaping the landscape,” stated Silvio Liedtke, Vice President –
MENALAC and CEO – Landmark Leisure.

The LEA Conference was attended by over 150 senior industry insiders who tackled a wide range of discussions. From uplifting Saudi Arabia’s leisure and entertainment landscape to discussing the future of UAE’s hospitality & leisure segments, among several others. For perspective, $64 billion is being
invested in KSA’s leisure and amusement industry that’s forecasted to grow to touch $1.17 billion by the end of 2030.

Interestingly, for an industry driven by connections, emotions, and social interactions the conference threw light on what entertainment in the metaverse will look like. A space that has the potential to generate trillions of dollars in revenues by the turn of the decade

“Our industry is one place where deep connections are formed, where physical and emotional experiences are created by bringing people together and creating beautiful memories that can’t be replicated in the virtual realm just yet,” Liedtke observed. “Having said that virtual features activated using technology tools such as artificial intelligence, virtual reality, augmented reality, as well as Web3 and metaverse have the potential to enhance the ecosystem further.”

Besides discussing the importance of striking the right balance between strong international IP-led concepts and homegrown brands to create a dynamic and diverse industry, the LEA conference threw light on rising interest in sports-based social leisure concepts particularly appealing to the next-gen and, importantly, how it will motivate more young people, particularly GCC nationals, to consider a career in the industry.

Adding to the roster, this is the first time that vanguards of the leisure & entertainment industry – the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) & MENALAC – came together to share learnings, insights, and strategies to evolve the industry. A pivotal discussion took place on how empathetic leaders with a people-first mindset are successful in creating extraordinary experiences.

As the MENA waterpark industry is expected to reach $609 million by 2023 industry experts at the Waterpark Conference discussed how this segment has massive potential to contribute to the success of the regional leisure and entertainment ecosystem. From exciting rides to integrated design within large-scale hotels, personalised customer experience to optimum safety as well as a culture of inclusion are driving the waterpark industry forward. New features such as surf parks are also gaining momentum.

In addition, MENALAC’s Safety Day Conference was well-attended. And the Summit’s grand finale, the annual MENALAC Awards, was a venue that glittered and set the tone for what the industry is about to witness.

“Our Summit recorded the strongest attendance since inception. We are in a good place,” Liedtke concluded.