How do you attract the tourist who has seen everything? In Dubai, the answer is to build the biggest tourist attractions that any tourist has ever seen!
Since the ruler of Dubai stated his objective of making Dubai the top tourist destination in the world, a construction boom of unprecedented proportions has transformed the city. An estimated 25% of the world’s construction cranes are operating here and it is the fastest growing city in the world. Dubai is expecting to attract 15 million tourists annually by the year 2015 and, based on the attractions being built, plan to do it by offering tourists a chance to say “Oh wow, this must be the biggest in the world!!”
The list of tourist attractions in Dubai boasts some familiar names on a larger scale. There is a Universal Studios and a Disney Marvel Superheroes Theme Park as well as a Six Flags Amusement Park, all larger than the originals. When Dubailand finally opens, and construction of phase one is scheduled for completion in 2012, tourists will be able to take in the world’s largest collection of theme parks, twice the size of Walt Disney World. Visitors to Dubai will soon be able to check into the world’s largest hotel, the Asia-Asia, with 6500 culturally themed rooms such as The Wild West Wing.
Shoppers will be able to make tax free purchases at the world’s largest shopping mall, the Mall of Arabia, which will set the new world record at 930, 000 square meters when it opens in 2010. New world records can also be set by visitors to the Guiness World Records Pavilion, where records for the loudest scream, longest coin spin and fastest text message are up for contention among others.
As well as life sized replicas of the Pyramids of Egypt, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon and the Taj Mahal of India, there are undoubtedly attractions unique to Dubai to astound and delight the visitor. Those who truly want to lay claim to their own desert island can have that opportunity here. Dubai has the largest man made waterfront in the world, featuring a string of artificial islands in the shape of a stylized palm. Construction of a second series of islands in the shape of the world’s continents is well under way and another in the shape of the solar system is in the planning stages.
Each island will be topped by either a luxury resort or a private residence. When tired of the island life, a round of golf on the only Tiger Woods designed course in the world can provide a diversion. Kids who love soccer can book a session at the world’s only Manchester United soccer school. The world’s fastest water slide and the largest indoor ski slope, maintained at below freezing by burning 3000 gallons of oil a day, are all once in a lifetime experiences.
If shopping is your passion, the annual Dubai Shopping Festival offers deep discounts on high end merchandise, daily raffles on luxury cars and nightly fireworks. Modern shopping festivals are a spin on the traditional life of Dubai, always an important trading centre in the Persian Gulf. Another modern spin on a traditional passion is “dune busting” a popular sport with tourists who prefer trekking through the desert in four wheel drive SUVs instead of the traditional Bedouin camel ride.
Travelers coming to Dubai should be aware that the drug laws in Dubai are among the toughest in the world and they employ the most sophisticated detection techniques. One British tourist was recently sentenced to four years in prison for having a microscopic speck of marijuana on his shoe and there are also tough sentences applied to having trace amounts of recreational drugs in urine analysis. Whether those tough measures will deter smugglers is unquestioned, how much of a deterrent it will be to the tourist trade remains to be seen.