US-based BEG, which operates Busch Gardens in Tampa and Seaworld in Orlando, Florida, unveiled plans to step into the United Arab Emirates with the ambitious Worlds of Discovery project just a year ago.

At the time, Busch Entertainment president Jim Atchison said the plans represented a chance to put the Busch brands on a "true global stage".

Now, however, the group, along with Dubai-based real estate partner Nakheel PJSC, cited the worsening financial climate for their decision to delay the Worlds of Discovery project in the Middle Eastern emirate.

The centrepiece of the plan was a man-made island in the Persian Gulf shaped like Shamu, SeaWorld’s killer whale mascot.