London’s popular Madame Tussauds to open Dubai museum in autumn next year

The waxwork museum will be owned and operated by Merlin, the company working on models for Legoland Dubai.

A gallery assistant attends waxwork models of Britain’s Prince William and his wife Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, at Madame Tussauds in London. Olivia Harris / Reuters
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Dubai is set to gain from the international success of the famous Madame Tussauds museums when the company behind the waxworks brand brings the attraction to the UAE.

Merlin Entertainments, which will also manage the soon-to-open Legoland Dubai theme park under a contract with the owner DXB Entertainments, has confirmed the Dubai Madame Tussauds museum will open in autumn next year.

The plans for a Madame Tussauds in Dubai were first announced in 2008. It will be wholly owned and operated by Merlin and located next to the under-construction Dubai Eye Ferris wheel on BlueWaters ­Island off of Dubai Marina.

DXB Entertainments – a DFM listed company that was formerly named Dubai Parks and Resorts – is majority owned by Meraas, the master developer that provided the funding for Legoland Dubai, for which ­Merlin is building the model ­attractions.

The UK-based Merlin merged with Tussauds Group in 2007 and has waxworks museums in London, Amsterdam, Hong Kong, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and New York. It opened a Madame Tussads in Shanghai in 2006 and in Wuhan in central China’s Hubei Province in 2013.

Although Merlin declined to elaborate on its Dubai Tussauds, the museums’ models feature internationally recognised people such as the former football star David Beckham, Elvis Presley, Brad Pitt, Vladimir Putin and Barack Obama.

The museum’s origins date back almost 350 years. France-born Marie Tussaud’s mother worked for a doctor in Bern, Switzerland, who was skilled in wax modelling and taught the young Ms Tussaud the art.

She created her first wax sculpture in 1777 of Voltaire.

Today, Merlin, which also owns the London Eye, is the world’s second-biggest visitor attractions group behind Walt Disney, according to Reuters.

The group, which operates more than 100 attractions in 23 countries, in July reported a profit before tax of £50 million (Dh232.1) for the 26 weeks to June 25, on revenue up by 5.3 per cent on the same period last year at £573m.

Total visitor numbers rose by 1.1 per cent to 28 million.

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