SeaWorld will be opening its first park not inside the U.S. The new park will also not have killer whales.
SeaWorld entered into a deal to open a new park in Abu Dhabi with the group Miral Asset Management. Abu Dhabi is the capital of the UAE or United Arab Emirates. The park is scheduled to open during 2022.
The reputation of SeaWorld has been hit hard since the release of the documentary “BlackFish,” that CNN distributed. This film, which saw its release in 2013, highlights the dangers of keeping a killer whale captive, focusing on an orca at SeaWorld that had killed three people.
The points the film raised have been disputed by SeaWorld, but this year announced it would be phasing out its shows with killer whales and stop keeping the animals captive.
The Abu Dhabi park is going to have a marine wildlife research and rehab center, which will be a first anywhere in the UAE.
The most recent addition to the portfolio of the parks operated by the company will be on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi. The island is home to a yearly race of Formula One, a Ferrari World park, Yas Waterworld as well as beginning in 2018, a theme park by Warner Bros.
The Miral chairman Mohamed Al Mubarak said that the announcement of the park reflects the ambition of the emirate to create a diversified, sustainable economy, where tourism is one of the economies core pillars.
Miral is a company that is government-back that manages operation of Yas Island.
Abu Dhabi, rich in oil, has looked at new ways of diversifying its economy and to boosting its number of tourists as one part of his new strategic plan that looks as far ahead as 2030.
However, the emirate must compete with Dubai, which is close by which has its own plans that are very ambitious to attract more than 20 million tourists or visitors each year starting in 2020.
Already, Dubai is the home to the largest theme park indoors anywhere in the world known as IMG Worlds of Adventure. Last week, an announcement was made that even a larger park is to be built.
It officially will open next week Dubai Parks and Resorts. That park, which was built for a price of over $3 billion, includes a Bollywood zone, LegoLand and a huge water park.