Abu Dhabi Launches Ferrari World theme park

It was supposed to be fully open to the public from October 28, but currently United Arab Emirates is mourning death of the ruler of Ras al-Khaimah, one of the high ranking royalties, therefore the opening ceremony is postponed. They only gave a preview to the international press, revealing some of the features of Ferrari’s […]

Ferrari F1 cars are seen inside the "Hall of Fame" of the Ferrari theme park in the Emirati capital of Abu Dhabi on October 27th, 2010. Photo: AutoBlog.com

It was supposed to be fully open to the public from October 28, but currently United Arab Emirates is mourning death of the ruler of Ras al-Khaimah, one of the high ranking royalties, therefore the opening ceremony is postponed.

They only gave a preview to the international press, revealing some of the features of Ferrari’s first ever theme park, located in Bin Yas Island in Abu Dhabi, UAE.

From slow camel rides in the desert to owning the fastest rollercoaster in the world – the Emirati capital of Abu Dhabi is elbowing its way onto the global stage as a tourist destination and could end up outshining glitzy neighbor Dubai.

An indoor mini-circuit is seen inside the Ferrari theme park in the Emirati capital of Abu Dhabi on October 27th, 2010. Photo: AutoBlog.com

The heart-stopping ride – 149mph in 4.9 seconds – makes the occupant feel as if they are inside a Formula One car. It is part of Abu Dhabi’s new indoor Ferrari World theme park – the largest indoor theme park in the world – which opens next week.

There is also a more sedate Scalextric-style track, with replica Ferraris for visitors to drive around.

The park is expected to become a mecca for Grand Prix racing fans, particularly as the Formula One race is due to take place there next month.

The red roof of the indoor complex is modelled on the side profile of a Ferrari GT and is adorned with the largest prancing horse logo ever created.

Ferrari F1 cars are seen inside the "Hall of Fame" of the Ferrari theme park in the Emirati capital of Abu Dhabi on October 27th, 2010. Photo: AutoBlog.com

United Arab Emirates have ploughed billions into the 861,000 square foot park on Yas Island and expect 10,000 visitors a day.

‘We had only a few malls and desert safaris, we need such thrilling amusements and now we don’t have to run to Dubai on weekends,’ said Mohamed Mazroui, an Emirates’ businessman and racing buff.

Once, Abu Dhabi was know as the more sober neighbour of glitsy Dubai, which made its name with extravagant property projects, outlandish tourist attractions and luxury shopping.

While Dubai spent the past decade transforming itself into a regional hub offering a Western-style nightlife, it remained more conservative when it came to drink and dress.

But when the global financial crisis hit, bursting Dubai’s bubble and triggering debt problems that nearly sank the emirate’s economy, things began to change.

People visit the "Hall of Fame" of the Ferrari theme park in the Emirati capital of Abu Dhabi on October 27th, 2010. Photo: AutoBlog.com

As it wrangled with creditors over how its state-owned conglomerate Dubai World would restructure $26billion of debt, Abu Dhabi spent billions to diversify its economy away from oil, developing its industry, real estate, finance and tourism sectors.

Just next to Yas off the coast of Abu Dhabi sits Saadiyat Island – a $27billion art and culture project planned to house spin-offs of the Louvre museum in Paris and New York’s Guggenheim.

Abu Dhabi, which holds the bulk of the oil reserves of the UAE, the third-largest oil exporter in the world, is aiming for a 15 per cent annual increase of tourists with a target of 2.3 million by the end 2012.

Mubarak al Muhairi, director general of tourism, said: ‘The Ferrari park is a major leap forward in our leisure proposition as it has enormous appeal regionally and internationally.’

While Dubai spent the past decade transforming itself into a regional hub offering luxury shopping, beaches and a Western-style nightlife, Abu Dhabi has remained more conservative when it comes to drink and dress.

Theme park general manager Claus Frimand said: ‘It will be a lot of sensations for every age group. We have managed to turn one of the world’s most exclusive brands into an extraordinary experience for families and fans.’ [Ferrari World Abu Dhabi via AutoBlog, Motor Wand and Daily Mail (UK)]

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