TEA Connect Blog

29 April 2016

Watching Dubai's themed entertainment landscape develop

A benefit of membership in the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) is the unique opportunities to visit not only existing attractions within a particular region, but ones that have not even opened to the public yet. 

On a bright (but not too hot) April 20 morning in Dubai, a group of some 20 TEA members who were in town attending the DEAL trade show April 19-21 (where TEA had an exhibit booth) set out to visit two local attractions: Global Village, which has been in operation for two decades, and IMG Worlds of Adventure, on the brink of opening for the very first time. 

TEA backstage discovery in Dubai

Report by TEA Europe & Middle East Division Board member

Viviane Mazot, COO of Global Village

 Jonathan Bonner, Development Manager – Leisure, of Paragon Creative Ltd. 

Once badges were handed out and war-stories swapped, we loaded up onto a small bus and headed down Sheikh Zayed Road to our first stop, the famous Global Village. It is said to be Dubai’s oldest themed attraction, and had just finished an extremely successful 20th season (a season that generally runs from November to April – and they are often asked by visitors to extend it further) and reporting an impressive attendance figure of 5.3 million visits annually.

We were warmly welcomed by the Global Village team at the ‘Gate of the World’ VIP entrance. Our tour guide for the day, Chief Operating Officer Viviane Paturel-Mazot gave us some facts about the entrance, the very reasonable AED 15 ticket price as well as the attraction itself before we headed in.    

Global Village VIP Entrance

We headed down World Avenue, which acts almost as a main street with

TEA mixer! (April 21, Ruth's Chris Steak House, Dubai Marina)

themed representations of London, Paris, Dubai (including a mini Burj Khalifa) and other cities from around the world. We were told that this street is in fact the most photographed place in Dubai!

The Global Village itself is a wide-open space surrounded by 32 themed pavilions that represent some 75 countries from around the world. Each pavilion is filled with local merchandise and food sold mostly by locals from that country. (In fact, up to 10,000 visas are arranged for team members each year!) Global Village makes sure that each pavilion is authentic and the merchandise

TEA COO Jennie Nevin with
TEA Europe & Middle East Division President,
Paul Kent of Electrosonic,
at the TEA booth at the DEAL Dubai trade show

unique to the country being represented. Bartering is also welcomed which adds to the authenticity of the attraction. Other aspects of the Global Village include the pay-per-ride Fantasy Island funfair (complete with 33 rides) that is operated on a revenue share model, a number of motion simulator experiences as well as a very impressive performance stage, which stands before a space that can hold 25,000 people.

After the tour we headed inside one of the administration buildings for coffee, snacks and a presentation from the management team where we were given some fascinating facts and figures about the Global Village. Some that stood

See many more photos! Click to browse photo gallery.
Thanks to Martin Palicki, photographer.

out for me are:

  • On the last day of the most recent season, the park welcomed 90,000 visitors.
  • Guests are very much encouraged to bring their own picnics, giving the entire attraction a very welcoming feeling of a community public space.
  • Throughout the season more than 13,000 cultural and entertainment shows take place throughout the Global Village in various forms.
  • The parking lot has more than 18,000 parking spaces.
  • The general mix of visitors is around 25% tourists and 75% locals.
  • The extensive range of guest services the park offers includes: Free prayer rooms, mother rooms, shopping carts and complimentary phone charging.


TEA EME Board Member
Jonathan Bonner
of Paragon Creative
wrote this report

This was once again another unique TEA event that proved to be both a fascinating learning opportunity as well as a fun day with fellow industry peers. Plus, living in England meant that a bit of sunshine was greatly welcomed as well!

After getting back on the bus we headed towards our second destination of the day, the upcoming (opening August 15) and eagerly anticipated IMG Worlds of Adventure. It is described as the world's largest indoor theme park. As we entered the premises to begin the tour, we were all asked to sign a Non Disclosure Agreement. So other than telling you that we were there, I cannot say a single sentence about what we saw inside. One thing I will say however, on behalf of my fellow TEA members is a big thanks to the team at IMG, who were extremely accommodating and gave a fascinating tour of the facility.

See many more photos - click here for gallery

Thank you

to our generous

TEA Dubai

Mixer Sponsors: 

Paragon Creative

Oasis Enterprises













































Posted by Judith Rubin



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