Dubai Raises the Tourism Stakes – Again

You have to hand it to Dubai’s ruler Sheikh Mohammed. When he does things, he does them big.

No shilly shallying or  ‘let’s dip our toes in the water first’ for him. His people have just announced the launch of Marsa Al Arab, Dubai Holding’s latest tourist destination development in the emirate.

And it’ll be a whopper.

For a start it will be spread over 4 million square feet. It will include two brand new islands that will together create an extra 2.2 kilometers of beach frontage.

Oh, and did we tell you the whole thing is going to cost $1.7 billion?

One of the new islands (Dubai builds islands like we open coffee shops) will be dedicated to entertainment and providing family tourism while the other will comprise an exclusive luxury resort.

To ‘boost the guest experience’, the owners of the Wild Wadi Waterpark have kindly agreed to relocate it from its current road-side location – and to double its size. This island will also play host to a new dedicated theatre with a seating capacity of 1,700 seats and which will become the first home in the Middle East for the world-renowned show Cirque du Soleil.

To be built to the left of the Burj Al Arab Jumeirah, the second island to be built will be an exclusive private island that will include 140 luxury villas, a marina for its residents and a boutique hotel. (Presumably in case the neighbouring seven star Burj Al Arab is not considered luxurious enough?)

Other features tossed in to the mix include a new 20,000 square meter shopping center, a convention centre, a ‘Marine Park’ (a first-of-its-kind marine life edutainment centre), a new Dubai Pearl Museum, 2,400 extra hotel rooms and 10,000 extra parking spaces.

Whew. Mind blowing or what?

Marsa (Arabic for marina) Al Arab is expected to be completed by 2020. By which time your local adventure park might just have added a new ride.



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