The leisure and attractions industry across the Middle East and North African (MENA) region has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), an average of US$6.71 billion per month in business has been lost in the industry in the region. WTTC estimates put $80 billion of the $102 billion generated by people visiting MENA from overseas is in leisure tourism, including visits to theme parks and entertainment centres.

Of the region’s gross domestic product, 8.7% is made up by the travel and tourism industry. The WTTC states that theme parks and FECs contribute to MENA’s GPP above all other segments of tourism, with families spending more on entrance fees, food and drink, and hotels, compared to any other type of tourism.

Restrictions are starting to be lifted in the region, with shopping malls, the location of many FECs, beginning to reopen. Strict safety measures are however in place, including temperature checks on visitors at the entrance and the mandatory wearing of face masks.

Yuhanis Nawasreh, sales and development manager of Dubai-based distributor Warehouse of Games, spoke about the reopening of the industry: “We have started to move again. But there are many precautions, social distancing and capacity rules. FECs, cinemas and all other attraction and entertainment venues remain closed until further notice.”

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