America’s Universal Studios will develop a £1.1bn (€1.6bn) theme park – modelled after those in Florida, California and Japan – in Dubai, a government firm has announced.
Dubai government-owned developer Tatweer said it would partner with the Hollywood-based film studio’s resorts arm to develop its fourth theme park, offering Mideast holidaymakers attractions designed by creative consultant Steven Spielberg and based on the movies King Kong and Jurassic Park.
Universal Parks & Resorts chief executive Thomas Williams unveiled a model of the Universal City Dubai park, saying the city-state’s “investor-supportive environment” led it to bring the Hollywood-themed carnival rides and TV-based attractions to the Middle East.
The 6.5 million square-foot theme park, described by Tatweer as one of the world’s largest, will be the centerpiece of a gargantuan park dubbed Dubailand that is under construction on the city’s desert outskirts.
Dubailand itself is being developed as an Orlando-style entertainment zone with several other amusement parks, offices and housing – including what is described as the world’s first apartment building that rotates on its axis.
Universal City Dubai expects to lure visitors from Asia, Europe and elsewhere in the Middle East when its first phase is completed around 2010.
Given the searing summer temperatures in Dubai – today’s high was 98 degrees Fahrenheit (36 degrees Celsius) – most of the resort will be indoors.
Tatweer also plans to develop a nearby resort hotel zone with nearly 30,000 rooms, as well as a gated community dubbed “The Tiger Woods Dubai” that features the first-ever course designed by the champion golfer.
Tatweer is owned by Dubai leader and Emirates prime minister, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, through his Dubai Holding development company.
Universal Parks & Resorts, a division of General Electric’s NBC Universal, operates similar theme parks in Hollywood, California; Orlando, Florida and Osaka, Japan. Its Dubai franchise will include 4,000 hotel rooms as well as restaurants, shops and offices, Tatweer said.