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DUBAI TO BUILD Pearl of Dubai

The world’s largest underwater theme park, Pearl of Dubai, is on the drawing board for The World, Dubai’s man-made archipelago.

Design firm Reef Worlds has based some of the aesthetics of the upcoming scuba and snorkelling attraction on Hollywood blockbusters such as Pirates of the Caribbean and Avatar, but the concept is closer to a submerged lost city of Atlantis.

The five-acre park is billed as the largest sustainable underwater tourism site in the world, and is hoped to bring more scuba diving tourists to the emirate. In addition, swimmers and snorkelers will also be able to enjoy the site with the addition of shallow-water attractions.

“The UAE has a unique tourism problem that we address,” said Dave Taylor, director of development for Reef Worlds.

“When one considers Dubai and the region, scuba diving and underwater exploration is not on the Top Ten list, and yet it is almost everywhere else in the world.”

The scuba and snorkelling market is worth US $3 billion and Reef Worlds are seeking further projects to enhance resort-owned waterfront spaces around the world.

The company has yet to announce an official opening date for the Pearl of Dubai, but has already expressed interest in building underwater tourism and sustainable habitat sites in both Oman and the Philippines.

Meanwhile, a host of other aquatic attractions are in the works for the emirate. Construction is due to begin on the Dubai Water Canal later this year, presenting six kilometres of new waterfront.

The Water Discus Underwater Hotel  will also allow guests to sleep in underwater rooms. The 21-room resort complex will offer accommodation above and below the surface of the Gulf. And another reclaimed land project, Bluewaters Island, will host the mammoth “Dubai Eye” Ferris wheel and is expected to be ready in time for Dubai Expo 2020.