Tatweer unveils Dh8b theme city

DUBAI — Dubai's breathtaking all-round development boom yesterday received a major boost when Tatweer joined hands with the world's leading media and entertainment company Universal Parks & Resorts (UPR) to unveil a Dh8 billion theme park fashioned like Universal's other mega leisure cities in Orlando, Hollywood and Osaka.

By Issac John (Deputy Business Editor)

Published: Tue 1 May 2007, 8:45 AM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 10:55 PM

Universal City Dubailand, a 22 million sq ft development, will be built within Dubailand, a Disneyland-style facility being developed in Dubai by Tatweer, a member of Dubai Holdings. Three-time Academy Award winner, and super-hit film-maker Steven Spielberg, in his capacity as creative consultant of Universal Studios, also will be part of the Dubai venture.

The first phase of the magnificent entertainment facility, scheduled to come on stream by 2010, will cover an area of 6.5 million sq ft and will be among the world's largest theme parks. The park aims to attract 3.3 million visitors in its first year of operation and then up to around five million visitor per year, said Saeed Al Muntafiq, Executive Chairman of Tatweer.

"The objective is to position Dubai as one of the world's sought-after family tourism destinations," he said.

The second and third phases of the project would be planned in 12 months. The first phase, to be operational by 2010, will provide employment to 5,000 people, and will feature a host customised attractions for the region. "About 85 per cent of the theme park will have indoor activities in consideration of the climatic conditions of the region."

Universal Studios Dubailand will also include hotels, retail outlets, commercial offices and residential compounds.

Muntafiq said the new project will contribute to highlighting Dubai as a global tourist destination, providing the tourism sector — one of Dubai's most active sectors — with a strong drive to further diversify the economy. "Universal City Dubailand's unique offering is in its diverse components which will attract visitors from around the world, including the Asian sub continent, central and east Europe and South Africa."

'Universal Studios Dubailand' will blur the line between fact and fiction and be the place where visitors can relive stories once reserved for the silver screen. Scenes from the biggest names in film-making history such as 'Jurassic Park' and the motion picture 'King Kong' among many others will be transformed into adventures with the completion of the project, which will contain four zones including Hollywood zone, Metropolis zone, and Adventure zone. Universal's theme parks are known for some of most thrilling and technologically advanced "ride-the-movies," motion picture and television show-based attractions.

Thomas L. Williams, Chairman and CEO of Universal Parks & Resorts, said: "The vision of the leadership of Dubai, the investor-supportive environment and the

convenient geographic location of Dubailand, combined with other strategic and iconic offerings, all contribute in making Dubai our location of choice for our first branded theme park in this region."

Universal City Dubailand consists of more than 4000 luxurious hotel rooms, 100 restaurants, alongside a range of retail outlets. It will also include an integrated area of commercial office space as well as a distinguished residential area in the heart of the action.

Universal operates theme parks in Los Angeles, Florida, Japan and has licensing agreements with existing parks in development in Singapore. Universal Parks & Resorts, part of General Electric's NBC Universal, enjoys more than 46 million guests annually to its theme parks, hotel facilities and CityWalk entertainment centres.

Al Muntafiq added that the Universal Studios Dubailand will be one of four similar family entertainment destinations around the world. Universal Studios Dubailand will be in addition to the other 'Universal Studios' in Los Angeles, Orlando and Japan.

This is the second new theme park to be announced in the emirate in the last two months. Marvel Entertainment Inc., the publisher of Spider-Man'' comics, said in March that it plans to showcase its superhero characters at a $1 billion theme park, due to open in 2011.

More news from Business