Senior Associate, Operations and Commercials
Phil has successfully combined an early career in project management with business administration to build up a significant track record in the development and operation of some of the world’s most renowned leisure businesses.
Phil’s career includes leading roles in the development and operation of Ski Dubai, London Eye, Alton Towers Resort in the UK, Port Aventura Resort in Spain, Disneyland Paris and many more. He has also worked as a consultant to the Leisure Industry as a Director of the London office of Economics Research Associates, the world’s oldest and largest leisure consulting firm.
Focused for more than 20 years exclusively on the leisure sector, Phil was a main Board Director for The Tussauds Group, owners of a worldwide portfolio of Madame Tussauds wax museums, attractions, resorts and theme parks, for 6 years. The portfolio of attractions included a wide range of large-scale outdoor attractions, from historic properties to theme parks, including Alton Towers, Chessington World of Adventures, Warwick Castle and Thorpe Park, which Phil acquired for the Group in 1998, and indoor attractions, like Madam Tussauds and The London Eye.
Phil negotiated and led The Tussauds Group’s participation in The London Eye as a shareholder and operator throughout its development and led the full operational start-up of The London Eye.
Prior to coming to the Middle East in 2003, Phil was a Director of the London office of Economics Research Associates where he carried out a great number of feasibility and land use studies, operational reviews and concept reviews for both private and government sector clients worldwide.
In the Middle East, where Phil has been based since 2003 he is perhaps best known, for his role as CEO for Ski Dubai, the world’s first indoor real snow mountain resort. Phil managed the development, set up the full operation and successfully ran the resort for the first year giving him first-hand experience of the UAE market. This was a very similar development and operational role to the one he played for the London Eye and for other major attractions, such as the Port Aventura theme park and resort in Spain.
Phil’s record of creating innovative, commercially successful leisure concepts that combine entertainment, F&B, retail and dynamic public spaces is second to none.
In November 2006 Ski Dubai was awarded a Themed Entertainment Association award for Outstanding Innovation, its sixth major international award in less than 12 months. The longer established London Eye has to date won over 70 awards while Magic Planet at The Avenues in Kuwait, of which Phil’s company Team Leisure managed the concept development and project delivery, won the 2009 Top International Family Entertainment Centre in the World award and Little Explorers, part of the Playnation concept development managed by Team Leisure winning the Time Out Dubai Best Kids Edutainment Venue Award in 2014 and 2015.
Following the outstanding success of the launch of Ski Dubai, Phil set up Team Leisure in 2007 with a mix of direct employees and a worldwide network of Associates to bring world class development and operational expertise to the leisure industry.
Since its inception, Team Leisure has provided development and operational consulting services on a wide range of leisure businesses across the whole of the Middle East and elsewhere in the world, including Russia, Singapore, China and Korea.
In the Middle East the emphasis has very much been on bringing best operational practice and innovative, groundbreaking leisure offers to the region, such as a 75 hectare, US$ 1.2 billion theme park development in a Gulf country for which Phil recently led the masterplanning, concept and feasibility study. An exciting 5-minute animated film of the project was also produced.
At the other end of the investment scale Team Leisure has developed an extensive database and knowledge of children’s play centres and undertaken feasibility and concept studies for a wide range of small scale indoor attractions, including, for example, creating the concept for the recently opened 650 sqm Kid’s Connection play centre at Wafi Mall in Dubai.