Abu Dhabi plans Ferrari World expansion

24 June 2014

Capacity of world’s largest indoor theme park will be increased by 40 per cent

The owner and operator of Ferrari World Abu Dhabi plans to expand the theme park and increase its capacity to support the development of Yas Island as a regional tourism destination.

The expansion plans involve adding seven new rides that will increase the capacity of the park by 40 per cent, together with new entertainment areas and expanded retail and food and beverage areas. The rides will be supplied and installed by specialist contractors. The general contracting and fit-out work will be split into smaller packages.

“We are committed to investing in the property,” says Jesse Vargas, general manager of Ferrari World Abu Dhabi. “The expansion will take three years. The rides are in design and in some cases already in production.”

The upgrade will not involve expanding the actual building, which is already the world’s largest indoor theme park and home to Formula Rossa, which is the world’s fastest collercoaster with a top speed of 240 kilometres an hour. “We are not looking at expanding the building, but we are expanding the capacity,” says Vargas.

Ferrari World opened in November 2010 and became the UAE’s first major branded theme park. The construction was completed by a joint venture of Belgium’s Besix and the local Aldar Properties. The project was developed by Aldar for the Abu Dhabi government. The theme park is managed and operated by the local Farah Leisure Parks Management.

The expansion is part of the ongoing development on Yas Island, and Abu Dhabi is aiming to develop its position as a regional tourism destination further. “Any tourism development has learned over the years that you need critical mass,” says Vargas. “In our case, there is a mall, waterpark, race circuit and us [Ferrari World]; it makes for a very compelling destination that people may come to visit for a multi-day stay and we anticipate that will happen with Yas Island as well.”

Yas Mall is scheduled to open in November 2014, in time for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, which is held on the Yas Marina Circuit. It will be the emirate’s largest mall and will have 400 retail units and a 20-screen state of the art cinema. The main contractor working on the mall is the local/Belgian Six Construct Abu Dhabi, which is part of Besix.

The upcoming opening of the mall has influenced the expansion at Ferrari World. “Yas Mall has a bearing on how we intend to move forward with our expansion plans,” says Vargas. “On our doorstep there is a projected 25 million footfall and we take that into consideration in how we want to position ourselves with the mall.”

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