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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 23 July 2018

Al Ahli to build 20th Century Fox theme park in Dubai

The company has signed an agreement with Twentieth Century Fox Consumer Products which amounts to a global licensing deal to roll-out.
Above, a rendering of Al Ahli Holding’s 20th Centruy Fox theme park project. Courtesy AAHG
Above, a rendering of Al Ahli Holding’s 20th Centruy Fox theme park project. Courtesy AAHG

Al Ahli Holding Group will launch a 20th Century Fox World theme park and resort in Dubai.

The company has signed an agreement with Twentieth Century Fox Consumer Products which amounts to a global licensing deal to roll out branded theme parks. This allows it to build four Fox parks anywhere outside the US. The first will be a 4 million square feet property in Dubai containing attractions based on Fox products such as The Simpsons, Ice Age, Night at the Museum, Planet of the Apes and Titanic.

It will be built on the site of Al Ahli Holding’s existing Dubai Outlet Mall, adjacent to Dubai Holding’s proposed Universal Studios Dubailand project. Mohammed Khammas, the chief executive of Al Ahli Holding, said the park would appeal “to different age groups from as young as four years old to as old as 60 and above”.

Mr Khammas declined to give details of the park’s financing or a breakdown of the built-up area, stating that these details would be released at a later date.

However, the park will contain the world’s first Fox-branded resort hotel, which he claimed is unique as it is “infused into the theme park”. “It’s not a distant element you utilise to walk to the park. You are actually in the park when you are in your room. You’re part of the show.”

Rethink Leisure & Entertainment based in Burbank, California, has created the park’s overall master plan, as well as designs for individual rides. It will also operate the completed resort.

Tenders have already been issued for some of the equipment required for the park and construction tenders are likely to be issued by mid-2016. The park is scheduled to open in 2018. Greg Lombardo, senior vice president of location-based entertainment for Twentieth Century Fox Consumer Products, said: “20th Century Fox World Dubai will provide an continuing platform for immersive brand engagement with our consumers from around the world, including key international markets of Europe, Russia and China.”

Mr Khammas said that in terms of the global roll-out, it is eyeing up East Asia, the Indian subcontinent and Latin America for future parks as Al Ahli Holding already has business interests there. The company employs 9,000 people in 20 countries.

The first 20th Century Fox World theme park in the world is already under construction in Malaysia, under an earlier deal the studio agreed with the leisure firm Genting. It is due to open next year.

Al Ahli Holding expects to attract between 4 and 5 million visitors to the Dubai project, despite competition from other proposed theme parks such as the Dh10 billion Dubai Parks and Resorts project, the Dh8bn Universal Studios and the Dh1bn-plus IMG World of Adventures.

“I think every single development in Dubai – be it Dubai Parks, IMG or us – builds infrastructure and therefore we will benefit and cross-pollinate among ourselves.

Whoever visits my park will be interested in spending time in Dubai Parks or IMG and vice versa,” Mr Khammas said.

IMG World of Adventures is a 1.5 million square feet indoor theme park being built by Ilyas & Mustafa Galadari (IMG) Group that will contain four themed zones including one based on Marvel Comics characters. It was initially due to complete in December 2013, but a spokesman has said it will open in early 2016.

Dubai Parks and Resorts will contain four theme parks – Motiongate, Bollywood Parks, Legoland and a Legoland Water Park. It is also due to open next year.

Universal Studios Dubai was initially announced in 2007 and the 7 million sq ft project broke ground in July 2008, with an initial completion date set for 2010. However, work was placed on hold in 2009. A spokesman for Dubai Holding declined to comment on its progress.

mfahy@thenational.ae

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