Gulf region's first Madame Tussauds to open in Dubai in 2021 with wax figures of Nancy Ajram and Maya Diab

The attraction will open next to Ain Dubai and feature 16 statues new to the Middle East

A Madame Tussauds is opening in Dubai in 2021, it has been announced. Merlin Entertainments will open a UAE branch of the world-famous wax museum at Bluewaters Island.

Rumours of the attraction coming to the Emirates had been circulating since 2008. These were confirmed in 2016, with an opening date set for 2017, which was then delayed until 2020.

Now, it will open before the end of this year, next to Ain Dubai, spanning 21,528 square feet and spread across two floors.

The attraction, which first opened its doors in London in 1835, is famous for its lifelike wax statues of prominent figures.

In Dubai, there will be replicas of 60 global celebrities, including Shah Rukh Khan, Katrina Kaif, Kylie Jenner, Cara Delevingne, Will Smith and Cristiano Ronaldo. There will even be some world leaders, such as former US president Donald Trump, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

There will also be 16 wax statues that are new to the Middle East region, including Arab singers Nancy Ajram and Maya Diab, with more names to be announced soon.

The museum will be divided into six zones: leaders, fashion, film and media, Bollywood, sports and music party. Within each area there are experiences for visitors to enjoy, such as an Air Force One presidential photo opportunity, riding a rickshaw with Salman Khan, a football penalty shoot-out and a projected interactive dance floor.

Each figure at Madame Tussauds is made by expert sculptors using the same artistry techniques as founder Marie Tussaud. It can take an artist up to 12 weeks to create one statue. They have to document about 500 precise body measurements and even insert real hair strand by strand to create the model, which can cost up to Dh700,000, depending on the detail required.

“We are delighted to be launching the first ever Madame Tussauds in the GCC,” said Meike Lippert, senior divisional director midway Europe and global new openings at Merlin Entertainments. “The new attraction will provide an immersive and exhilarating experience for visitors to enjoy the famous world of renowned celebrities and personalities.”

Sanaz Kollsrud, general manager of Madame Tussauds Dubai, said: “We intend to bring a whole new entertainment experience to the exciting portfolio of attractions in Dubai and cement Bluewaters’ position as a global tourist destination.”

This will be the 25th Madame Tussauds globally, with others based across Europe, Asia, Australia and America.