Coasters Go To Dubai

The tiny emirate of Dubai announced Tuesday it is building a $5 billion theme park that will be the Middle East’s largest tourism and entertainment complex. Named “Dubailand,” the project intends to offer an array of shops, restaurants, theme rides and sports facilities in an area of more than 2 billion sq. feet (60 million sq. meters). Surrounded by desert, the park will have an artificial rain forest under an enormous glass dome and a ski slope with snow created by machine. It is scheduled for completion in 2006. “Dubailand project is an initiative that combines bold vision, strategic perspective and horizons of success with the ability to encourage and attract investments and expertise,” said Dubai Crown Prince Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. Dubai, which has a population of about 1 million, was looking to attract some 15 million tourists a year by 2010, three times the current number, Sheik Mohammed said in a speech launching the initiative. He said the project would increase tourism’s contribution to the United Arab Emirates’ Gross Domestic Product from the current 12 percent to 20 percent. Dubai is one of the seven constituent emirates of the UAE. Funds will come from Dubai’s government as well as private investors in the UAE and abroad, an official press release said. The government will spend 2.6 billion UAE dirhams (US$712 million) on the infrastructure, according to an official press release. The park will also offer a Pharaoh’s World, a Dinosaur World, a science museum and a futuristic Space Hotel. Blessed with oil wealth, Dubai has built itself into acommercial hub of the Middle East. It often hosts world-league sports events, exhibitions and conferences.

Leave a Reply