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Dubai to build two artificial islands for US$1.7b in time for Expo 2020

The mega-project, dubbed Marsa Al Arab, will be built on either side of the world-famous Burj Al Arab Jumeirah hotel, and is being timed to coincide with Expo 2020 Dubai. — AFP picThe mega-project, dubbed Marsa Al Arab, will be built on either side of the world-famous Burj Al Arab Jumeirah hotel, and is being timed to coincide with Expo 2020 Dubai. — AFP picDUBAI, May 19 — Dubai is set to get two more man-made islands in 2020, which will become home to a family-oriented hotel, a new 1,700-seat theatre for Cirque du Soleil — a first for the Middle East — marine park, and an exclusive private island that will see the opening of 140 luxury villas.

The mega-project, dubbed Marsa Al Arab, will be built on either side of the world-famous Burj Al Arab Jumeirah hotel best known for its sail-like silhouette on the Dubai horizon, and is being timed to coincide with Expo 2020 Dubai.

The city is aiming to attract 20 million visitors that year, as part of their Dubai Tourism Vision 2020.

All told, the project will add 4 million square feet of artificial land to the area and 2.2km of artificial coastline at a cost of about US$1.7 billion (RM7.37 billion).

On one side will be the family-friendly island, which will see the opening of a family-oriented hotel, and the expansion of the Wild Wadi Waterpark. Along with being relocated closer to the beachfront, the waterpark will also expand to double its size.

New additions call for the opening of a Marine Park, which will showcase exotic fish and marine animals and seat 1,000 guests.

Another theatre, with a capacity of 1,700, will become home to Cirque du Soleil, marking the first time that the world-renowned show bows in the Middle East.

Overall, the Wild Wadi and Marine Parks will spread out over an area of 2.5 million square feet.

The Dubai Pearl Museum will showcase the United Arab Emirates' source of national pride with a historical collection of rare and ancient pearls and working pearl farm. A pearl-inspired boutique hotel is also in the works.

On the other side, affluent visitors will be able to book one of 140 luxury villas with waterfront views of the Arabian Gulf on the exclusive island where privacy will be given high priority. That includes a private marina for its residents.

Along with villas, a boutique hotel will also open for elite, deep-pocketed travellers. Other features include pedestrian pathways, a jogging track, swimming pool and cycling course. 

In total, the project will add 2,400 rooms to Dubai and 400 new food and beverage destinations in the city.

Marsa Al Arab is being developed by Dubai Holding and breaks ground in June. The project is estimated to be complete by late 2020. — AFP-Relaxnews

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