Aladdin City, a recently approved development in Dubai is the latest attempt by the Dubai Municipality to increase tourism and boost the economy by the 2020 world expo.
Although the cost and completion date of Aladdin City have not yet been released, the city will be both a residential and a commercial development with three towers connected by a 450m air-conditioned walkway.
The site will include a 34-floor hotel, 25 floors of offices and 26 floors of commercial space, equipped with 900 parking spots.
The towers have been designed to resemble gold magic lamps inspired by the traditional tales of Aladdin and Sinbad the Sailor.
The project, expected to begin construction in 2016, is part of the tourism vision released by the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) in 2013.
It aims to double the number of visitors per year to Dubai and triple the annual contribution by tourism to the economy by the year 2020.
Although the plan seems ambitious, last year the emirate recorded a fifth straight year of rising numbers of visitors and a 10.6 per cent increase in tourists from 2012 to 2013.
Australia recorded the highest increased travel rate at 39 per cent year-on-year growth, with 269,000 Australian tourists visiting Dubai in 2013.
CEO of the Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing, Issam Kazim, told Travel Weekly the new approach to tourist is based on research of the needs of leisure and business travellers“Leisure travellers are increasingly seeking holiday destinations that provide a variety of distinctive, enriching and exceptional experiences,” Mr Kazim said.
Kazim also said part of the new initiative is to shift the perception of Dubai from a must-see city to a must-be-experienced city.
“It’s a subtle shift but one that supports the reality of what the destination has to offer: a breadth and depth of remarkable experiences that deliver beyond the expected.”
His Highness Shaikh Mohammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum, told the Khaleej Times that he believes in Dubai’s ability to reach a substantial tourist influx in light of the recent implementation of a wide new range of projects representing new elements of attraction.
Aladdin city is amongst several other projects by Dubai tourism designed to attract more visitors.
Construction of the Desert Rose, a $10.36 billion sustainable satellite city is planned to begin construction next year, as well as the
world’s largest Ferris Wheel, which is expected to be completed in 2018.
In addition to the tourism vision, the DTCM also proposed to add 139 new properties over the next three years and increase the 84,534 hotel rooms and apartments in the country by 29,466 new spaces to accommodate future visitors.
The Director General of DTCM, Helal Saeed Almarri said the new tourism projects are expected to drive Dubai’s tourism vision for 2020.
“Dubai has had a number of tourist projects launched. Going ahead, we will have more projects, for instance, a number of theme parks [in the works] and a larger zoo by Dubai government besides various retail projects. And then we have continuous renovation of our historic areas like Al Shindaga and Al Fahidi. I would expect over the coming years announcements on a lot more family projects,” Mr Almarri said.
The Aladdin City development will be located in the historic Dubai Creek, outside the area that is currently bidding to become a UNESCO world heritage site.
The architectural form of the project is intended to convey the historical and heritage relationship of Dubai and be a reminder of the traditional tales of Aladdin and Sinbad.
The Director of the Dubai Municipality, Hussain Nasser Lootah said the towers aim to represent icons of past legends with a touch of modern beauty.
“The symbolic content of the architectural form of the project buildings was inspired by the ancient legends from the 11th century, where vessels were sailed from Dubai Creek to the coast of East Africa, China and India,” Mr Lootah said.
Other tourism-oriented projects by the Dubai Municipality include Al Fahidi Market, Naif Souq, Dubai Frame, Dubai Safari Park and a new Crocodile park.