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30 May 2023

Palm to have water theme parks

By Joseph George


Four water theme parks will be built on The Palm Jebel Ali by the United States-based Busch Entertainment Corporation (BEC) in a multi-million-dirham deal.

An agreement was signed last night between master developer Nakheel and BEC, the entertainment division of Anheuser-Busch, in the United States.

The project, known as the Worlds of Discovery, will include four theme parks – SeaWorld, Aquatica, Busch Gardens and Discovery Cove.

It adds to the list of attractions arranged by Nakheel to develop its islands as premier tourist destinations.

Nakheel and BEC reached an agreement earlier this month on the terms of a memorandum of understanding that calls for the phased construction of the four theme parks.

BEC President and Chief Operating Officer Jim Atchison announced the deal with Nakheel’s CEO Chris O’Donnell and The Palm Jebel Ali’s Managing Director Marwan Al Qamzi in a ceremony at SeaWorld’s headquarters in Orlando, Florida, yesterday.

The Worlds of Discovery will occupy a section of The Palm Jebel Ali known as “The Crown”, once reclamation is complete.

In addition to SeaWorld and Busch Gardens, plans include construction of Discovery Cove similar to a park adjacent to SeaWorld Orlando in central Florida.

Discovery Cove in Orlando is an all-inclusive, reservations-only park that features a variety of animal interactions and resort experiences, most notably swimming with bottlenose dolphins, rays and exotic fish.

Atchison said the partnership provides tremendous growth opportunity to both companies. “Dubai has emerged as one of the world’s great travel destinations. Thanks to the vision of companies like Nakheel, the future for this city and this region is bright. We’re thrilled to be joining the tourism community in the emirate,” he said.

Joint Ventures

Nakheel previously formed a joint venture with Kerzner International Limited to develop Atlantis The Palm, which will include a 2,000-room resort and water theme park on The Palm Jumeirah.

The hotel is due to be finished by September this year.

Nakheel and The Trump Organisation entered into an exclusive joint venture to develop extensive real estate offerings throughout the Middle East, including the $400 million (Dh1.4bn) Palm Trump International Hotel and Tower.

Last year Nakheel signed an exclusive multi-million dollar 15-year deal with Cirque du Soleil to have a permanent venue and exclusive show at The Palm Jumeirah.