Dubailand: The World’s Most Ambitious Tourism, Leisure and Entertainment Project Ever at an Incredible $64-Billion
Dubai, United Arab Emirates, is a region on the Arabian Peninsula trying to draw in tourists from all around the world, as seen in the Sex and The City 2 movie. Known for their lavish and unique hotels with ambitious architecture including an under water hotel, Dubai has announced it will be taking on their next big project, twice the size of Disney World, Dubailand™.
Dubai is hoping their largest investment project, Dubailand, will be the number one destination for tourism and entertainment in the Middle East and even the world. With the slogan, “The Fun is Building in Dubailand,” this park, conceived by Mohammad Al Habbai, CEO of Dubailand, will be the largest destination for family-oriented tourism and entertainment in the Middle East. Dubailand will feature a number of theme parks, including what’s going to be the largest water park in the world. The drive behind the entertainment project, according to Al Habbai, is to position Dubai, “as a multicultural tourist haven” and describes the concept behind the innovative park as simply “unique.” Dubailand will be built on a 3 billion square-foot site and will include 45 giant projects and 200 sub projects. It will be twice the size of Disney World, currently the largest collection of Amusement parks in the world. Dubailand has recently made the news headlines in America with Six Flags theme parks announcing the plans to develop parks throughout the Arab world, beginning with the 5 million-square-foot Six Flags Dubailand in the new center. This is the first project development by Six Flags outside the U.S. leaving news reporters asking if a business venture such as this is even a good idea for the amusement chain.
The real question is if people will be willing to travel from all over the world, as the investors would like to assume, to go to this far off destination. Though there’s no argument, this development is going to cover an area twice the size of Manhattan and so seems guaranteed to get more than just buzz outside this Arab country. Some portions of the park are already open to the public, such as the Dubai Autodrome, the Global Village and more recently the Al Sahara Desert Resort. Only some parts of the Sports Center are currently open as of 2008 but Dubai Sports City is slated to be one of the biggest parks, which is planned to include a field hockey stadium, World Hockey Academy, a rugby training facility, a 26,909 square-feet gymnasium, an Olympic length swimming pool, 7,563 yard golf course, as well as the Bradenton Preparatory Academy and two hostels accommodating up to 524 people.
The names of each themed section are enough to get one booking a trip to this Arab land, even with many of them not yet in construction. There are going to be six zones. The attractions area will have a Paramount Studios theme park, Universal Studios Dubai, the world’s largest water park, Dubai Snow-dome, an indoor ski resort, and many more including the newly added Six flags Great Adventure Park.
Some of the titles for the parks within the attractions area will be as follows: Aqua Dubai, Astrolab Resort, Aviation World, Snowdome (Dubai Sunny Mountain Ski Dome), Great Dubai Wheel, Dubailand Theme Park, Falcon City of Wonders, Fantasia, Giants World, The Global Village, The Islamic Culture and Science World, Kids World, Legends-Dubailand, Planetarium, Space and Science World and Tourism Park (according to their Web site, www.dubailand.ae). In the works is a zone for themed hotels, another for retail, such as a giant flea market space, the sports zone as earlier mentioned and even a trendy eco-tourism zone, which will highlight the beauty of the planet with a series of nature and desert based attractions integrated with the natural surroundings. The “Downtown” section may also be worth the trip alone with a virtual game world, and the Mall of Arabia, which will be the world’s largest shopping mall.
The theme of the development is traditional Arabia folklore and the tales of 1001 nights. Sahara Kingdom, a Disneyland like world, is due to begin construction in 2013 while the entire project will continue into 2025, though different deadlines are being projected all the time. Updates on the project can be found on their main site.
Dubailand is an amazing concept and business venture by this highest per capita income country. Whether this extraordinary entertainment “city” will draw people from all around the world is yet be seen, though what I do know is that I’m saving up for the airfare as we speak.
Update 6/29/2014: The project took a major financial hit in 2008 and the building was put on hold while at the same time having major investors drop-out including Six Flags and Dreamworks. Construction, however, has resumed and there is a projected completion date of 2020 with another estimated $55 billion raised as of 2013 to finish the project.
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