Developer puts Dubai 20th Century Fox World theme park on hold

The planned 20th Century Fox World theme park in Dubai has been put on hold by developer Al Ahli Holding Group following concerns about oversupply.

Mohammed Khammas, CEO of Al Ahli Holding Group (AAHG), told Arabian Businesses that the 20th Century Fox World would not be built for the foreseeable future. It was originally due to open this year.

“We’ve realised that there’s now a serious supply of theme parks in Dubai,” Khammas said.

“The developers have done an amazing job, and the existing offering is perfect, but right now people should stay away from developing another one, at least for the foreseeable future.”

AAHG and 20th Century Fox Consumer Products announced the park in November 2015 as part of a licensing deal that allows AAHG to build four Fox-branded parks anywhere outside the US. Another 20th Century Fox park is currently in development by Genting in Malaysia.

The planned Dubai park was to be 37 hectares with attractions based on 20th Century Fox properties such as The Simpsons, Ice Age, Night at the Museum, Planet of the Apes and Titanic.

The area around Dubai has seen a massive influx of theme parks over the last few years, some of which have struggled upon opening.

Dubai Parks and Resorts is a 230-hectare family entertainment destination comprising three theme parks – Motiongate Dubai, Bollywood Parks Dubai and Legoland Dubai – as well as the region’s first Legoland Water Park. Six Flags Dubai will be the destination’s fourth theme park opening in late 2019.

The resort opened in December 2016 and has struggled to attract visitors leading to big losses for owner DXB Entertainments. The company’s net loss in 2017 reached Dhs1.11bn ($302m) compared with a Dhs485m ($132m) loss a year earlier.

However, things may be looking up for Dubai Parks and Resorts as it received 851,000 visitors during the first quarter of 2018, a 45% increase on the same period the previous year.

In February, it emerged that fellow Dubai-based park operator IMG was attempting to restructure its Dhs1.2bn ($326m) syndicated loan. The company owns and operates IMG Worlds of Adventure.

IMG also wants to upsize its existing loan facility. While it denies this is down to low visitor numbers, Reuters reported that bankers believe it is at least partially linked to low attendance.

The company is also working on a second park, IMG Worlds of Legends, which will be an 18-hectare facility constructed opposite Worlds of Adventure.

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