Dubai Municipality has named an operator for its 119ha Dubai Safari, the pilot phase of which was launched in December 2017.
Meraas signed an agreement to manage Dubai Safari, and also appointed Parques Reunidos – an international operator of animal parks – to oversee the facility's day-to-day operations.
The public-private partnership (PPP) model being rolled out for Dubai Safari is said to support the emirate's preparations for Expo 2020, which will attract around 25 million visitors.
Parques Reunidos will operate Dubai Safari in accordance with international animal welfare standards.
The Madrid-based company was among the five firms that were considered to operate Dubai Safari.
As part of the agreement, Meraas will represent Dubai Municipality in its operator liaisons, and will also be in charge of general supervision and performance management work for Dubai Safari, in addition to driving its marketing programme.
Additionally, Meraas will develop plans to attract greater visitors to the facility over the next two years.
The agreement was signed under the directives of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, in the presence of HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of The Executive Council of Dubai.
Commenting on the partnership, HE 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.
Fernando Eiroa, chief executive officer of Parques Reunidos said: "We are delighted to have been entrusted by Meraas with the operation of a project as remarkable as Dubai Safari.
"This agreement aligns with our continued international expansion efforts and offers us a valuable opportunity to leverage the expertise we have accumulated through the management of leading wildlife parks and reserves around the world," Eiroa added, according to Dubai Media Office.