04-30-2007, 09:53 PM
Universal to build studio theme park in Dubai
Universal heading to Dubai
Scott Powers | Sentinel Staff Writer
Posted April 30, 2007, 10:42 AM EDT
Universal Parks & Resorts is going to build a new Universal Studios theme park as part of an even larger resort area development called Universal City Dubailand in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, according to an announcement made this morning in Dubai by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai.
The theme park, which is expected to cost $2.2 billion, open in 2010 and eventually draw 5 million visitors a year, will be part of a much larger development that will include hotels, retail outlets, commercial offices and residential compounds.
04-30-2007, 10:34 PM
Dubai makes me nervous.
05-01-2007, 06:58 AM
UNIVERSAL STUDIOS DUBAILAND
Universal Studios park to rise in Dubai resort
Scott Powers | Sentinel Staff Writer
Posted May 1, 2007 RELATED STORIES
A Universal Studios theme park will be a cornerstone attraction in the huge Dubailand vacation resort rapidly rising in the United Arab Emirates.
The park, to be called Universal Studios Dubailand, will be comparable in size to Universal Studios Orlando, should open by 2010 and is projected to eventually draw up to 5 million visitors a year.
Officials of Orlando-based Universal Parks & Resorts and the United Arab Emirates, including Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE vice president, prime minister and ruler of Dubai, announced Monday that a Universal park will be built in the quickly developing Arabic vacation land.
The city already features worldwide landmark hotels, a gigantic Mall of Arabia, stadiums, museums, golf courses and beaches. The master-planned tourist district caters Western-style vacations to the Middle East and draws heavily from Russia, India and much of continental Europe markets. Plans also have been discussed for a water park and other parks.
Universal Parks & Resorts won't own or run the theme park but will license the company's name, expertise, training, operational methods, products and top attractions, such as Revenge of the Mummy. That arrangement makes Universal Studios Dubailand much like what Universal Parks & Resorts has in Japan and Spain, and especially like the new Universal Studios planned in another multiattraction tourism city being built from scratch in Singapore.
The park will be developed by Tatweer, a Dubai-based company in charge of a larger, $2.2 billion leisure area of parks, hotels, shopping, offices and residential compounds within Dubailand, called "Universal City Dubailand."
"It's a healthy, growing economy. There is visionary leadership, robust commerce and a local regional population that suggests great potential and a vibrant, growing tourism industry," Universal Parks & Resorts Chairman Tom Williams said by phone from Dubai on Monday. "It's a great mutual fit for us both."
In a news release, Saeed Al Muntafiq, executive chairman of Tatweer, said, "There is no doubt that the new project will contribute to highlighting Dubai as a global tourist destination."
The Universal park would have four themed lands, including Hollywood Zone, Metropolis Zone and Adventure Zone.
Williams said it would include some attractions already successful elsewhere, such as Universal Studios Orlando's Revenge of the Mummy and Islands of Adventure's Jurassic Park River Adventure and The Eighth Voyage of Sinbad Stunt Show, along with new attractions such as a King Kong-themed roller coaster and an Aladdin-themed ride.
"This makes tremendous sense for Universal," said Peter Yesawich, chairman of Yesawich, Pepperdine, Brown and Russell, a Central Florida travel research and marketing company.
Dubai, Yesawich said, is highly Westernized. Even the billboards are in English.
And while Islamic mores generally restrict cultural behavior there, the culture is considered open compared with much of the region
He was just in Dubai a few weeks ago as a keynote speaker at a vacation investment conference and said the development scope and pace there are "overwhelming . . . the product of a remarkable vision and what I presume to be unlimited resources."
Yet there are concerns about whether there is enough local population. The population of the United Arab Emirates is only about 2.6 million, according to the United States CIA factbook.
"The park cannot count on local residents to help carry it," said Dennis Speigel, president of International Theme Park Services in Cincinnati, who also has been to Dubai recently. "It's going to have to survive and thrive on tourism."
Scott Powers can be reached at email@example.com or 407-420-5441.
05-01-2007, 07:00 AM
Wasn't there a rurmor a few weeks ago that Dubai was in talks with Disney to build a Disneyland?
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