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30 November 2023

Dubai in fray to host region's first Angry Birds theme park

By Vicky Kapur

There is massive interest from the UAE to bag the rights to construct the region’s first Angry Birds theme park, and Emirates 24|7 can reveal that Dubai is now throwing its own hat in the ring.

Capital Abu Dhabi and Al Ain have been in a three-way tug-of-war with Qatar’s Doha for the rights to host the region’s first Angry Birds theme park, but with Dubai now joining in, the battle is sure to get intense.

“We have had discussions with parties in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Al Ain and Doha,” Nigel Cann, Director of Operations & Business Development at Gebal Co, the exclusive representatives of Angry Birds play equipment manufacturer in the UAE and Qatar. The Angry Birds theme parks are manufactured by Lappset (in association with online gaming giant Rovio).

Angry Birds is one of the world’s biggest entertainment franchises, starting in 2009 with the original mobile game that remains the No. 1 paid app of all time. Angry Birds has expanded rapidly into entertainment, publishing, and licensing to become a beloved international brand.

“To date, the Angry Birds and Bad Piggies games have been downloaded more than 1.7 billion times across platforms and versions,” Rovio said in a recent media statement.

Cann believes that Dubai’s huge tourist population makes it an ideal fit for the region’s first Angry Birds theme park. “Personally I feel the tourist pull that Dubai has already would benefit mostly from an Angry Birds theme park. This destination would complement the already existing attractions,” he says.

But wherever the region’s first theme park might eventually come up, it certainly won’t be the only one in the region, and Gebal is aiming to have an Angry Birds theme park in every country in the GCC. “There is a strong possibility of an Angry Bird theme park in each [country of the] region, the question at the moment is who will be the first,” says Cann.

“The long-term plan for Gebal is have an Angry Birds theme park in each territory of the GCC,” he exclaims.

When asked how far had Dubai discussions for the theme park progressed, Cann said: “We are in advanced discussions with a private investment company in Dubai at the moment. Financial implications are being discussed as we speak.”

However, he added that “Al Ain appear[s] to be expressing a stronger interest recently,” suggesting that it might just be the first one to unveil the plans.

Cann maintains that “there are certain criteria that must be met for each theme park location, this is mainly due to the prestige of the attraction.”

There are currently three large Angry Birds theme parks globally, with the next one set to be in Malaysia and due to open in 2014. That will be the first Angry Birds Activity Park in Southeast Asia, and the indoor family entertainment centre will comprise of 2,400 sq mt.