Plans have been unveiled for a marine life-themed SeaWorld Abu Dhabi to open in the next decade.

The next generation SeaWorld will include the United Arab Emirates’ first dedicated marine life research, rescue, rehabilitation and return centre for the care and conservation of local marine life.

SeaWorld Abu Dhabi will be the first new SeaWorld without orcas, and will integrate “up-close animal experiences”, mega attractions and a world class aquarium.

The addition of SeaWorld Abu Dhabi will expand the portfolio of attractions on Yas Island, which is set to double visitor numbers to 48 million by 2022.

The growth plans are part of Abu Dhabi’s vision to establish the emirate as a global tourism hub with unique attractions and world-class tourism infrastructure.

The attraction is set to open by 2022 to complement four theme parks on Yas Island – venue for this year’s Abta Travel Convention – including Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, Yas Waterworld, and the recently announced Warner Bros World Abu Dhabi and Clymb.

Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, chairman of Yas Island developer Miral, said: “Abu Dhabi is becoming a first choice destination for regional and global travellers by combining culture, heritage and unique leisure experiences into one compelling proposition.

“SeaWorld Abu Dhabi further strengthens Yas Island’s position as the global tourism destination.

“This announcement reflects the emirate’s ambition to create a sustainable, diversified economy, with tourism as one of its core pillars.

“Abu Dhabi continues to build sustainable partnerships that deliver on its strategic 2030 Vision, to transform and pioneer new destinations that are recognized for world class quality, authenticity and innovation on every level.”

SeaWorld president and chief executive Joel Manby said: “We are excited to announce our first international expansion and our partnership with Miral as we design a next generation SeaWorld that engages, educates and inspires, a blueprint brought to life in Abu Dhabi.

“This new park, combined with a dedicated research, rescue, rehabilitation and return facility focused on marine life care and conservation, continues SeaWorld’s legacy of marine life rescue that spans more than 50 years.

“This project presents an opportunity for collaboration and greater understanding of how species have adapted to the region’s unique marine environment, and to inspire the next generation of visitors, conservationists and animal care experts.”