Abu Dhabi hopes the opening of a $1 billion Warner Bros theme park in July will help it in its bid to nearly double the number of tourists visiting the emirate over the next few years.
Oil-rich Abu Dhabi is investing billions of dollars in tourism, industry and infrastructure to diversify its economy away from oil.
It is already home to the Louvre Abu Dhabi, Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Ferrari World and the Yas Water Park. Two more museums – the Guggenheim and the Zayed National Museum – are being built as well as a SeaWorld theme park.
The Warner Bros park will be an added attraction, but with neighbouring Dubai already a leading tourist destination and given the huge investment in the theme park, returns may not be immediate.
“The theme park is a long-term play, we have a sustainable business plan,” Mohamed Khalifa al Mubarak, chairman of Miral, the developer, told reporters on Wednesday, adding that Abu Dhabi and Dubai were complimentary destinations with different theme parks.
Abu Dhabi attracted 4.8 million tourists in 2017 and targets 8.5 million visitors by 2021, according to the emirate’s department of culture & tourism.
Features of the 1.65 million-square-foot Warner Bros park on Yas island will include a DC Metropolis, Gotham City, Cartoon Junction, Dynamite Gulch and a Warner Bros Plaza.
“We have worked with Miral to faithfully bring iconic franchises such as DC Entertainment, Looney Tunes and Hanna-Barbera to life in a truly immersive and authentic environment,” said Pam Lifford, president, Warner Bros Consumer Products.