The first LEGOLAND in the Middle East is set to open in Dubai as part of a new £1.7bn tourism complex.
The project, Dubai Parks and Resorts, will also have a theme park based on Bollywood, in celebration of the Indian film industry, along with a theme park based on Hollywood, called Motiongate Dubai.
The project is intended to increase the hotel capacity and attractions to tourists. It will be managed by Meraas Holdings, a company which has the support of Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai and UAE vice president.
The emirate has plans to reach the annual visitor target of 20 million by 2020, when it will be the host to the World Expo. This projected number would be a 100% increase on the 10 million visitors it experienced during 2012, and will place it ahead of London as the most visited city globally.
The completion date for the first phase, located in Jebel Ali, is 2016. Dubai developers previously had a Lego-themed park planned for the Emirate, but it was put on hold after the global financial crisis during 2008, which resulted in a decline in Dubai property prices. Property prices have since stabilized and in a concerted effort to reach the target set for 2020, spending on an infrastructure for tourism has been boosted.
This is not the only project in the pipeline. There are plans for an island development at a cost of $1.6bn, as well as a park devoted to the Quran, at a cost of $7.3m. The Mall of the World is expected to be at least four times as big as Metrocentre, Gateshead, which is the largest center in Europe. The biggest underwater theme park, The Pearl of Dubai, was unveiled during July.
11 SEPTEMBER 2014, United Arab Emirates