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Dubai to get Legoland theme park - first in Gulf region

Merlin Entertainments Group, the world’s second largest operator of visitor attractions, announced plans Tuesday to build a Legoland theme park in Dubai, its first outside the US and Europe.

London-based Merlin Entertainments, which counts Legoland and Madame Tussauds among its many attractions, said it had formed a “strategic alliance” with Tatweer, a member of Dubai Holdings, to create a Legoland Park in Dubai. The entertainment park is scheduled to open at the end of 2011, and will be part of a project to be known as Dubailand. It is expected to feature more than 40 interactive rides, shows and attractions geared towards families with children ages 2 to 12, the group said. The project will be similar to existing Legoland Parks in Denmark, Germany, Britain and California.

The new partners were also looking “at a number of other potential developments, including the establishment of themed Legoland hotels,” a statement said Tuesday. “Choosing this location for the new Legoland Park reflects the fact, that Dubai is becoming a major holiday destination, not only for the region, but also for visitors worldwide,” chief executive Nick Varney said. The alliance with Tatweer was the “perfect way to offer families access to the Legoland experience,” he said. Saeed Al Muntafiq, executive chairman of Tatweer, said: the group was “extremely proud” of its alliance with Merlin Entertainments Group. The partnership demonstrated the dedication “to deliver on the tourism objectives of Dubai Strategic Plan 2015”, he said. (m&