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Middle East & Africa www.parkworld-online.com


our committees have aggregated from the many sources worldwide. These will be also posted on our website for members as reference material for them to be informed and apply as they deem fit. “Since our industry is part of the leisure entertainment


attractions activities where people come to participate in amusement activities, we need to ensure that the health and safety aspects as well as minimum distance between participants are maintained. “There will be new technology upgrades in facilities


that include reduced human contacts across facilities, theatres, etc. to ensure that the customers face minimum touchpoints.” The leisure and attractions industry has amassed


losses to the tune of millions of dollars while they remain shut down. MENALAC estimates that the leisure tourism industry in the Middle East is losing US$220.76 million (Dh810.21 million) every day or US$6.71 billion (Dh24.64 billion) per month in due to the shutdown of business since the second week of March caused by COVID-19.


International visitor


impact in the Middle East is estimated at US$102 billion (Dh375 billion) in 2019, of which 79 percent, or US$80.58 (Dh295.7 billion) is in the leisure industry, according to the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC).


Straight from the operators As entertainment operations across the world start opening - from Shanghai to America - all amusement operations will be working on reduced capacities, with increased signage, sanitisation and checks to ensure public safety. MENALAC members have begun implementing new


Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) that ensure health and safety of employees, customers and all stakeholders, the council has reported. These include training staff to meet new requirements, as well as implementing regular cleaning and the availability of hand sanitiser and personal protective equipment (PPE) within facilities to ensure customers remain healthy and free from virus infection as they return to amusement facilities. Sheikha Monira Al Sabah, a board member of


MENALAC, CEO of Kuwait-based Play Enterprises and co-founder of Trampo Extreme, commented: “We will have to increase our cleaning procedure even though it has always been our priority pre-Covid-19 crisis. Hand sanitisers will be placed all over our centres, staff will be wearing masks and gloves. We will also be disinfecting our playground around the hour with limiting guest capacity. She continued: “We have provided our employees with


training on guest health safety and entrance guidelines. We will offer special packages for people in the frontline and their families as rewards for their hard work. We will


JUNE 2020


also have competitive prices to attract our customers.” Andre PA van der Byl, director operations at Saudi


Arabia-based Al Hokair Group (Entertainment), meanwhile, revealed that the company has selected 12 parks for a phase 1 opening. “Currently we are doing all works under a strict curfew. As we are unable to travel between regions and countries our dependence on regional management is critical. The support from head office is key to empowerment and provision of services required. We are investing in the team that include subsistence and strong well-being practice. We are stripping everything down to clean and re-build from scratch to meet the new health and safety requirements.” Mike Rigby,vice-president for business development,


Whitewater West Industries, believes the industry can make processes more automated in order to reduce contact. “Suppliers will need to think about reducing touch or cleaning items, designs that allow for more social distancing and solutions to reduce operational and human interaction before re-opening. Density and capacities of venues will come under scrutiny. It will require smarter design; greater tracking of return on investment of assets. You may have less in your venue so you need to know what performs.” Jean Habre, chief executive officer of Al Othaim


Leisure, said: “We have updated our standard operating procedures in line with the new hazard analysis and World Health Organisation and the UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention guidelines to ensure maximum physical distancing to create a safe playing / working atmosphere. We have prepared physical distancing advisories to be printed and placed in every section of the units. Also strict instructions to staff members not to accept more than scheduled [prepared in line with the official guidelines] number of clients at any circumstances. “We have updated precautionary measures and crisis


management to ensure staffs are well prepared for any possible circumstances in coming days. We will decrease the price from reopening stage to a limited period.” With offices and business activities including shopping


malls, retail outlets and cinema halls now opening, leisure operators will need to be armed with a new set of health and social distancing procedures, capacity management, adequate spacing on rides and theatre seating to ensure the safety of all visitors.


53


MENALAC


Middle East and North Africa Leisure and Attractions Council (MENALAC) is a regional trade council for the leisure entertainment attractions industry in the Middle East and North Africa, providing a platform for the industry to represent itself. It improves operating standards via educational forums and represents the industry to authorities and regulatory bodies in the MENA region. The Council was


established as a platform to promote safe operations, regional development, professional growth and commercial success of the amusement industry and to be an indispensable resource for the Council’s members and an international authority for the attraction industry.


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