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27 February 2024

Dubailand on track as the region’s entertainment hub

By Joseph George


A timetable for the completion of attractions at the Dh235 billion Dubailand mega-development has been outlined by its Chief Executive Officer Mohammed Al Habbai.

And, speaking to Emirates Business, he dismissed reports that some of the projects had been delayed. The Formula 1 theme park will be ready by the third quarter of 2009 and the following year will see the launch of the first water theme park, Universal Studios and the City of Arabia, he said.

Other phase one projects due to open in 2010 include the Ernie Els Golf Course, Global Village, Dubai Outlet City, Plantation World and the Al Sahara Desert Resort.

Dubailand regarded as the Middle East’s response to Disneyland will have a wide range of attractions including theme parks, culture and art centres, science displays and planetariums, sports academies, retail facilities and resorts and hotels.

The target date for completion of all the projects is 2020, by which time more than 250,000 staff will be working at the theme parks.
Al Habbai said work on the Dh1.7bn Formula 1 park was well advanced and it was on schedule for completion next year. The design and infrastructure planning is complete and construction work is in full swing.

“The Formula 1 park is in an advanced stage of construction and the grading has already started,” he added. “Heavy construction will start within a month.”

Al Habbai said he was confident that the other attractions due to open in 2010 would be ready on time.

“These include Universal Studios and the Tiger Woods Dubai golf course. The Bawadi hotel cluster’s first phase is due for completion soon after that. We are also expecting the first water theme park and the City of Arabia to be ready by the last quarter of 2010,” he added.

He denied claims that some of the projects were delayed, on hold or had been cancelled.

“Contractors have been given a timeframe to finish the project,” he said.

“I don’t know where these rumours come from. The indoor snow centre at Dubailand, the Dubai Snowdome, is very much on our agenda. A detailed plan has just been submitted and we are working on it.”

Dubailand is being built on a three billion square foot site along Emirates Road stretching from the back of Emirates Hills almost to Dubai Creek.

The development is intended to be the largest destination for family oriented tourism and entertainment in the Middle East and will have 45 separate projects ranging from a space exploration exhibition to a full-size dinosaur enclosure and the largest waterpark in the world.

Dubailand was officially announced in October 2003 by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. He had urged investors not to keep their money in a bank account but to invest in Dubai.

The dinosaur attraction, called the Restless Planet, is being developed in co-operation with the United Kingdom’s Natural History Museum. Sports City will feature large state-of-the-art stadiums and the Great Dubai Wheel will be the world’s largest observation structure of its kind.

The development will also have an Islamic Culture and Science World, while the Mall of Arabia is set to be one of the largest shopping centres in the world.

Projects that are already operational include Global Village, Dubai Autodrome, Plantation Polo and the Equestrian Club.



Seven Categories


Dubailand’s attractions will be divided into seven types theme parks, culture and art, science and planetariums, sports and sports academies, wellbeing and health, shopping, and resorts and hotels.

Eco-tourism attractions, malls, restaurants and residential units are being developed by investors from the UAE, the GCC states and other countries. There will be a minimum of 55 hotels. Some 40,000 visitors a day are expected at Dubailand.