The first Legoland in the Middle East is to form part of a giant new entertainment complex being built in Dubai.

It will be one of three theme parks making up the Dubai Parks & Resorts project which will also include Motiongate Dubai, using technology to bring to life Hollywood films stars, and Bollywood Parks Dubai, the first attraction in the world dedicated solely to the Indian film industry

Legoland Dubai will be the seventh to be developed across the globe and will feature an interactive world specifically designed for children aged two to 12.

The development will also feature an extrance plaza called Riverpark, and Lapita, a family themed hotel.

The first phase is due for completion in 2016 with work having started on the site in February.

The project forms part of the emirate’s plans to double its annual visitor numbers to 20 million in 2020 as well as increase the economic contribution of the tourism sector.

The announcement of a planned investment of AED10 billion in the development was first made in 2012.

Dubai Parks & Resorts has been designed as a “mega leisure and entertainment destination” to serve regions that are within an eight-hour flying distance from Dubai.

Abdulla Al Habbai, chairman of development company Meraas Holding, said: “Dubai Parks & Resorts will be the first entertainment destination that will simultaneously open the gates of three theme parks.

“The project will feature leading intellectual properties from elite industry players to create leisure and entertainment concepts that are expected to draw more than five million residents and tourists annually.”