Saudi Arabia’s Al Hokair Group has officially opened its first Sparky’s family entertainment centre, or FEC, in Dubai’s Al Ghurair Centre, with more ventures into the UAE being planned in the foreseeable future, a top official of the company revealed.
Mishal Abdul Mohsen Al Hokair, third from right, with other top officials from the Al Hokair Group, Sparky’s and Al Ghurair Centre at the inauguration in Dubai. — Supplied photo
“This is our job, this is what we live for,” Mishal Abdul Mohsen Al Hokair, vice-president of business development and marketing at the Al Hokair Group, told Khaleej Times in an interview after the Press conference. “The demands, the basics are there: families need to go to malls… they want to enjoy their time and we will be there.”
The Al Hokair Group is Saudi Arabia’s largest entertainment and hospitality group founded in 1965. The multi-awarded company’s hospitality division has 33 hotels in the kingdom and the UAE, with Accor, Golden Tulip, InterContinental and Hilton under its umbrella. It also has restaurants under its wing.
At the opening, Al Hokair said the company expects a 20 per cent increase in both customer footfall and revenues this year. The group’s entertainment and hospitality divisions both welcome 15 million visitors yearly. He also gave credit to the group’s employees, whom he described as a critical part of the company’s operations and contributes to its success.
The Al Hokair Group opened the first UAE Sparky’s in Abu Dhabi in 2008, and the Al Ghurair FEC is the 63rd in the region and the seventh to open in the UAE after four in the capital and one each in Al Ain and Ras Al Khaimah. An eighth branch is set to open in Fujairah in the second quarter of 2014. Al Hokair said that the group is looking into opening more Sparky’s in Dubai and the UAE “in less than three years”.
Currently, there are 55 Sparky’s across Saudi Arabia. The FEC was also opened in the Indian city of Cochin in March 2013, and there are plans to enter the North African market in the coming years.
The flagship Sparky’s in the emirate — which cost over Dh30 million — boasts of the first indoor ice rink in a Dubai FEC. It also features 15 rides, 60 arcade games and a 5D cinema.
Al Hokair said that Dubai’s business environment is “promising”, also praising the efforts of His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, in attracting investment into the emirate.
“He has done a great job… to give investors a right and convenient environment for investment and business,” he said. “That leads us and other investors to put money in a comfortable situation.”
He also added that with lots of major events taking place in Dubai, it gives “evidence” that business will continue to flow and that there is a “very clear vision” in the emirate.
Asked on expansion plans, Al Hokair said: “For the time being, our strategy is to focus our investments and efforts in the entertainment and hotel sectors in the GCC and Mena.”
“Our vision is to leverage our experience and to provide an unrivalled service that reflects the highest standards of quality and entertainment,” group founder Shaikh Abdul Mohsen bin Abdul Aziz Al Hokair said.
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