London is a global megacity that's growing at an astounding rate. In the last 10 years, London property prices have increased at an average rate of 4.3% per annum, a figure that illustrates just how attractive London is to investors. One of London's latest investors is the prominent Al Humaidi Family of Kuwait who owns Kuwaiti European Holding (KEH) Group, which plans to build London's answer to Disneyland known as The London Resort in a bid to attract some of London's 30 million tourists. It's a US$3.6 billion theme park project that the Al Humaidi Family of Kuwait hopes will put London back on the map for travelers looking to make the post of their post-COVID travel freedom.
Who is the Al Humaidi Family of Kuwait?
The Al Humaidi Family of Kuwait is a highly prominent business dynasty that runs one of the oldest and most respected merchant houses in Kuwait. Since the 1940s, the Al Humaidi Family of Kuwait has built one of the country's most successful business profiles, and they are working extensively to expand this overseas.
One of the main ways the Al Humaidi Family of Kuwait plans to expand overseas is through their international arm, KEH Group. This is a holding company for the Al Humaidi Family's international assets that was founded in 2008. It focuses on several key sectors including real estate, leisure, and financial services.
The group is known for its successful business ventures that include some of the world's most popular travel and tourism venues. By building the US$3.6 billion London Resort, the Al Humaidi Family of Kuwait hopes to cement its image further as a serious contender in the European entertainment market.
Kuwaiti European Holding Group
The Al Humaidi Family of Kuwait is an exceptional business family that owns one of the largest holding companies in Kuwait and Europe, KEH Group.
Headed by Dr Abdulla Al Humaidi of the Al Humaidi Family Kuwait, KEH Group has grown rapidly over the years since its 2008 founding. In 2016, Dr Abdulla Al Humaidi decided to appoint a UK CEO, choosing Humphrey Percy who had previously worked within the banking industry for three decades.
Since this time, KEH Group's UK portfolio and profit margins have grown exponentially. Key moves for the business include investing in Armila Capital Limited, a real estate management company, and London Resort Company Holdings, which has an extensive portfolio in the physical entertainment industry.
Both companies are based within the UK and generate a lot of profit for KEH Group and, consequently, the Al Humaidi Family of Kuwait.
In addition to KEH Group, the Al Humaidi Family of Kuwait has holdings in Ebbsfleet United Football Club, which Dr Al Humaidi is the owner of and has helped to completely turn around in recent years, and Landmarque Property Group, a developer of mixed-use properties in Ireland and the UK.
The UK's Answer to Disneyland?
One of the Al Humaidi Family of Kuwait's most recent and ambitious projects is what has been cited as the UK's version of Disneyland, the so-called 'London Resort'. Indeed, this well-established family has the business prowess and financial backing to bring such an ambitious, and in many ways unbelievable, project to life.
Expected to be one of the UK's largest single-site employers, the London Resort will contribute massively to the UK economy. Independent research estimates that the resort will generate:
- Over £50 billion over 25 years of gross economic activity.
- More than 6,000 construction jobs.
- 8,700 jobs in 2024, rising to over 17,000 by 2038.
- Up to £200 million in tax revenues by 2038.
The London Resort, which will be the jewel in the crown of the Al Humaidi Family of Kuwait's entertainment empire, is set to push the boundaries in terms of what has been seen in the UK before.
Set to be built in a 535-acre site in Kent, a short 20-minute-or-so trip away from Central London by train, the resort will cost over US$3.6 billion to build and will consist of several themed park areas, over 3,500 hotel rooms, live entertainment, shopping experiences, and more. It will operate on a scale to venues like Disneyland and Universal Studios and be the very first of its kind in the United Kingdom.
Upon completion, 465 hectares of resort space will be accessible to guests, making it over twice the size of Thorpe Park Resort, which is currently one of the UK's leading entertainment parks.
'We are creating a first-class theme park. A destination that maximizes all the new, immersive, and interactive technologies and experiences in the world," PY Gerbeau, chief executive of London Resort Company Holdings (LRCH) said in a press statement.
"But we won't just be creating a world-class leisure destination, it will also be one of the most sustainable theme parks on the planet," he added.
The Al Humaidi Family of Kuwait's London Resort will also have a heavy focus on sustainability, featuring a vast green network made up of amenity areas and parkland. These spaces will provide a place of refuge for London wildlife and help to ensure its continued co-existence with a city that's continuing to grow at a rapid pace.
While specific details for the London Resort are not yet available, it is thought that the park will be designed to cater to a broad audience and provide something for everyone. KEH Group allegedly plans to include six individual themed areas within the London Resort that will provide unique experiences for visitors. These will incorporate themed elements such as history, fantasy, and science fiction. Each of these six areas will have its own rides and attractions that will cater to its unique narrative - this essentially means the London Resort is six parks in one.
The resort will be designed in such a way that will enable visitors to travel between each of the six themed areas easily and seamlessly. This will allow visitors to experience everything that the park has to offer in one trip.
In addition to the main attractions, KEH Group has said that the resort will offer a range of consumer experiences throughout the resort, such as gift shops and boutiques. Visitors will enter the resort through the main plaza that leads visitors and hotel guests through a central high street before leading on to the park's main attractions.
A Major Milestone for the Al Humaidi Family Kuwait
The London Resort will be the first theme park of its size and scale to be built since Disneyland in the early 1990s. Construction of the resort is expected to begin in 2022 and be completed by 2024, subject to necessary development and regulatory consent.
Although The London Resort will be smaller than Disneyland Paris, there is major potential for it to have a huge economic impact. According to a report on the economic contribution of Disneyland to France, it has been estimated that €68bn was added to the French economy in the 25 years since it opened between 1992 and 2017. Given that The London Resort will also be housed in one of the world's most popular cities for tourism, it's likely that the impact to the UK economy will be just as big, if not greater.
To date, around 13,500 people and businesses have signed up for project updates, indicating that there is real interest in the project. As the jewel in the Al Humaidi Family of Kuwait's commercial crown, The London Resort has provoked real excitement among travelers all around the world.
When it's complete, estimates suggest that The London Resort will bring in 8.2 million visitors per year.
Forward Thinking and Pragmatic
The Al Humaidi family of Kuwait is known for its business prowess and its ability to apply forward-thinking and pragmatism from the inception of a real estate project. This enables the family to do whatever is necessary to ensure that a vision—no matter how big—becomes a reality. This is evidenced by previous successful projects such as the Aqueous Resort in Egypt.
While real estate investment and development is a difficult field to operate in, the Al Humaidi Family has successfully ventured into both domestic (Kuwaiti) and foreign real estate development. Indeed, much of this is down to the leadership and guidance of family patriarch Dr Abdulla Al Humaidi; he is wholly dedicated to the success of KEH Group and every business where he has a stake.