Dubai: Under the directives of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, Meraas has signed an agreement with Dubai Municipality to manage Dubai Safari.
Meraas has also appointed Parques Reunidos, a world-renowned operator of animal parks, to oversee the day-to-day running of the destination in line with international best practices.
The signing ceremony was also attended by Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Executive Council, and Shaikh Ahmad Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Knowledge Foundation.
The unique public-private sector partnership aligns with Dubai’s Tourism Vision for 2020 that seeks to attract 20 million visitors per year to the Emirates. It also supports Dubai’s preparations for Expo 2020 which will be held over a period of six months and is expected to attract about 25 million visitors, 70 percent of them from outside the country.
Dawood Al Hajri, Director General of Dubai Municipality, said: "The agreement with Meraas is the first partnership of its kind that Dubai Municipality is entering into with a private sector entity. It presents a valuable opportunity to train Emirati talent in new fields as per the requirements of the local market, and develop additional skills in a variety of sectors in line with Dubai’s growth."
The Arabian leopard.
"Given Meraas’s successful track record in managing ventures in diverse sectors, we are confident that this partnership will result in tangible outcomes, elevate the standards of operating tourism and leisure projects, and add value to the overall Dubai Safari experience,” said Al Hajri.
Abdulla Al Habbai, Group Chairman of Meraas, said: “Following this agreement, Dubai Safari has been included as a key value addition in Meraas’s comprehensive entertainment portfolio. Meraas is dedicated to implementing the vision of our wise leadership of reinforcing Dubai’s position as a global tourist destination."
"The agreement also aims to support wildlife conservation efforts, through developing the skills of the local community in relevant fields, including veterinary medicine, animal care and breeding” he added.
Parques Reunidos will operate Dubai Safari in accordance with international standards on animal welfare, providing a safe and healthy environment for animals. The operator will ensure that Dubai Safari offers exceptional experiences that surpass global benchmarks and is certified from concerned bodies. The company will also collaborate with schools to organise educational programmes.
Parques Reunidos was among five global players that were considered to operate Dubai Safari. It was chosen based on the positivity and adaptability it exhibited, and its team of over 300 staff members dedicated to animal care that can be mobilised to support Dubai Safari. Parques Reunidos also offers global educational programmes aimed at raising awareness about wildlife and natural ecosystems.
In addition to operating the destination, Parques Reunidos will conduct studies of Dubai’s nature reserves, and provide consultation on the conservation and breeding of local endangered animal species including the Oryx and the Arabian Leopard.