Legoland comes to Dubai
One of the world's most popular theme parks is to come to Dubai in a development that is sure to attract visitors to the emirate.
Merlin Entertainments has revealed it is on course to open a Legoland Dubai by 2016, a move which has been spurred by profits generated on the back of the hugely successful The Lego Movie.
This will be one of many theme parks the company is working on opening across the world and the fact it has chosen Dubai as a venue can be interpreted as a vote of confidence for the region.
Merlin Entertainments chief executive Nick Varney stated: 'The performance of our existing estate and successful launches of Legoland Florida and Legoland Malaysia have given us even greater confidence in the prospects for rolling out Legoland Parks.'
According to Reuters, Legoland Dubai was first proposed in 2008, only to be postponed due to the impact of the global financial crisis. Merlin Entertainments revealed the new theme park's development will be funded by third parties, but the company has the right to manage and operate the park for an initial term of 25 years once it has opened.
In 2008, Legoland Dubai was forecast to cost in the region of AED 912 million (£147.5 million) and occupy a space of three million sq ft. Whether these details remain accurate has not been revealed.
Deepak Jain, head of strategic consulting for the Middle East and North Africa at JLL, welcomed the news.
Speaking to the National, he said: 'We believe that theme parks or entertainment parks widen the tourism offering of Dubai and help increase the length of stay for tourists and attract families.'
In total, Merlin Entertainments' attractions across the world drew more than 27 million visitors in the first six months of this year.
Dubai is already renowned as a popular family destination, with attractions ranging from indoor ski slopes to the aquarium and underwater zoo.