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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 20 August 2018

Warner Bros World Abu Dhabi sells 15,000 tickets ahead of opening

The new theme park is expected to draw visitors from the UAE and abroad

Warner Brother World Abu Dhabi opens to the public on July 25. Antonie Robertson / The National
Warner Brother World Abu Dhabi opens to the public on July 25. Antonie Robertson / The National

Almost 15,000 tickets for Warner Bros World Abu Dhabi have been sold ahead of opening to the public on Wednesday.

And with this summer's tourism figures 6 per cent higher than last year, officials expect the deluge of visitors to the park to persist over at least the next month.

Mohammed Al Mubarak, chairman of the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority, said the new park will be just another attraction to the emirate for international visitors.

"We have been growing in double digits,” he said, referring to Abu Dhabi’s tourism sector.

“Last year we grew more than 10 per cent in terms of numbers. We see extremely strong markets in Abu Dhabi whether they’re from India, China, Russia, and some other European countries, we are continuing to see that growth."

He said plans to add new attractions to the park would ensure it performs well long-term.

"I think we have done a phenomenal job in the last couple of years by bringing something fresh and new to every theme park. After opening Ferrari World we brought in ‘Flying Aces,’ ‘Turbo Challenge,’ ‘Go Carting,’ and we have something extremely exciting coming before the end of the year," he said.

"At Yas WaterPark, we recently brought a new ride, ‘5-D Attraction,’ so our model is to bring a new attraction and new element to the theme parks," he said.

And the spoils will be shared across the emirate, Mr Al Mubarak said.

"Everyone else will benefit from something like this, including Etihad Airways, the infrastructure and the shopping malls.”

Mark Gsellman, general manager of Warner Bros World Abu Dhabi, said he too is confident the "immersive and unique nature in the park" will attract visitors in the long run both from within the UAE and beyond.

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Read more:

The ultimate guide to Warner Bros World Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi's $1 billion Warner Bros theme park to entertain visitors throughout summer

Your first look inside Warner Bros World Abu Dhabi — in pictures

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid and Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed open Warner Bros World

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"I think the major appeal of our park is that, even in the hot summer, it is a nice and comfortable environment. There is no sand in your face or sun blaring on you. We cannot control the temperature but we can control lighting and sound and a lot of things that gives us the ability to make the park a theatrical presentation," he said when asked if he expects foreign visitors starting this summer.

"We've had between 10,000 and 15,000 people buy a ticket or annual pass (online) so far. Our tickets are not dated but we expect that if someone if buying a ticket that they would want to go as soon as it opens."

The promising sales buck the trend of other theme parks in the country that suffered substantial losses last year.

Dubai Parks and Resorts, which is on the outskirts of the city and is largely outdoor, had a difficult 2017, posting losses of more than Dh1 billion.

It has since restructured and managed to boost visitor numbers, particularly targeting the Gulf states. More than 850,000 people passed through its gates in the first three months of this year, a 45 per cent increase on the previous year.

Mr Gsellman said he was certain Warner Bros would be a success as visitors would be attracted to the brand, best represented by the six immersive zones that include Superman's Metropolis, Batman's Gotham City and the Flintstones' Bedrock.

"The attractions that can be experienced from the zones, either in Gotham City or The Plaza, have a global reach. Warner Bros is a very powerful brand," he said.

The theme park on Yas Island cost $1 billion to build and boasts 29 rides — all of which will be open on Wednesday — over more than 148,645 square metres. It was toured by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, and Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, on Monday.

Describing what visitors can expect from the rides, Mr Gsellman said: "You're going to be touring with the Justice League, then something will happen and you will get on a spaceship that you will be called to help and fly to save the earth.

"You will save the earth a lot here," he said with a smile.

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