Plans to build a £4 billion replica of the moon in Dubai have been unveiled, with hope that it will ‘significantly impact’ the United Arab Emirates’ economy.
Canadian entrepreneur Michael Henderson is behind the ‘MOON’ project, which is set to feature a gigantic 274m replica of the moon on top of a 30m building in Dubai.
Inside will be a mega-resort including a 4,000 room hotel, a 10,000 capacity arena, nightclub and wellness centre.
There will also be a ‘lunar colony’, which promises to offer visitors the sensation of walking on the moon.
Speaking to the Associated Press (AP), Henderson, co-founder of Moon World Resorts Inc - which has funded the ambitious project – alluded to the fact that the moon itself was his brand.
“We have the biggest ‘brand’ in the world,” he said.
“Eight billion people know our brand, and we haven’t even started yet."
Estimated to cost £4.28 billion, the MOON Dubai project hopes to drawn in 2.5 million guests a year.
This, according to Henderson and co-founder Sandra G Matthews, will allow it to ‘significantly impact every aspect of the UAE’s economy, including tourism’.
The pair said in an earlier statement that they would also be targeting ‘transportation, commercial and residential real estate, infrastructure, financial services, aviation and space, energy, MICE, agriculture, technology and of course education’.
They continued: “[It] will be the largest and most successful modern-day tourism project in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, doubling annual tourism visitations to Dubai based on its global appeal, brand awareness and unique multiple integrated offerings.”
According to AP, the structure will also include space for a possible casino.
While gambling remains illegal in UAE, major brands like Caesar’s Palace already exist or hope to build in Dubai, with AP adding that Wynn Resorts plans to build a $3.9bn resort in Ras al-Khaimah north of Dubai with gambling to open in 2027 – meaning a change to the law is ‘likely to come’.
Christopher Davidson, a Middle East expert who wrote the recent book From Sheikhs to Sultanism, told the news outlet that MOON could fit well into ‘the legitimacy formula of Dubai’s ruling elite'.
“They can be seen as a non-democratic elite but nonetheless believe strongly in science and progress - and that’s ultimately very legitimizing and a megaproject like this would seem to tick all of those boxes,” Davidson said.
Featured Image Credit: Instagram/@moonworldresortsinc
Topics: World News