Dubai plans to develop a 6.3 billion dirham (€1.5 billion) tourist resort on two man-made islands it will build either side of the Burj Al Arab, its luxury sail-shaped hotel.
It is the latest development planned by the emirate as it aims to attract 20 million visitors a year by 2020 when Dubai will host the World Expo 2020 exhibition.
Marsa Al Arab will be made up of two islands, one dedicated to entertainment and family tourism and the other featuring luxury villas and a private marina.
Dubai is one of the world’s most visited cities around the world. This year 4.6 million tourists visited Dubai during the first quarter, up by 11 per cent compared to the same period of last year, according to Dubai Tourism data.
Marsa Al Arab will feature 140 villas, a marine and water park and a theatre with capacity for 1,700 people to host Cirque du Soleil, local media reported. Work on the project will start in June and be completed by late 2020.
Dubai is working on several big projects due for completion in the next few years and being funded by debt. It is building the World Expo 2020 exhibition site, an extension to Dubai’s Metro system and Al Maktoum International Airport, a new airport being developed on the edge of Dubai, which will serve up to 146 million passengers by 2025.
Marsa Al Arab will add 2.2km of beach to the emirate’s coastline.
The much-anticipated project launch was announced recently by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.
The new tourist destination will be built across four million square feet with an aim to elevate the family tourism proposition in Dubai; the new destination will provide supporting foundations to host Expo 2020 Dubai, as well as reinforce Jumeirah Group’s leading position locally and globally.
What the project will also do is boost job creation and provide a range of opportunities for UAE Nationals in the tourism and hospitality sector.