Can Dubailand meet deadline?

Speculation is rife that Dubailand will struggle to meet its opening deadline of 2010.

Dubailand is scheduled for its phase one opening in less than three years.
Dubailand is scheduled for its phase one opening in less than three years.

Speculation is rife that Dubailand, the company behind the mega entertainment complex of the same name under development in Dubai, will have difficulties in meeting its projected opening deadline of 2010.

Phase one of Dubailand, which includes the Universal Studios theme park, is scheduled to open in 2010, the company behind the development has stated.

Speaking at last month's Dubai Entertainment Amusement and Leisure show, John Cussen, general manager of themed construction firm Amusement White Water, said: "They won't be finished on time.

There's so much there but there are not enough investors and they're all waiting for the first one to make a move." Horst Ruhe, managing director of ride manufacturer Maurer Soehne suggested a 2011 date was more likely. "You need more time for design, planning permission and construction in this region," he said.

Their views were echoed by Bill Coan, president of theme park designers ITEC, in a recent interview with Commercial Outdoor Design.

"I'm guessing there are in the range of six to eight US$1 billion plus parks being developed right now, and the industry supply of the talent and materials is to be really taxed in the next two to three years to support all that," he said.

Mohammed Alhabbai, CEO of Dubailand, has affirmed that the project is on track, however.

Dubailand is comparable with Singapore in size and, of course, a project of this scope will present challenges, but six projects are already up and running," he said.

"Big projects like Motor City will be fully operational next year, and City of Arabia by 2010."

Attractions that are already open include Dubai's first permanent outdoor show, Jumana - Secret of the Desert, part of the Al Sahra Desert Resort.

Many of the planned 22 themed based projects will be ready by 2010, Alhabbai said.

Theme park specialist Jack Rouse Associates, the company behind the dinosaur-themed Restless Planet theme park, earlier this year admitted experiencing delays due to infrastructure issues, according to a report in ITP publication Leisure Manager.

Launched in October 2003 by Tatweer, Dubailand is planned to cover an area of 278 million m2 and will be twice the size of Walt Disney World on completion.

Total investment in the project is estimated to be a jaw dropping US$63.9 billion.

The development will have multiple entertainment projects including Dubai Sports City, Motor City, Aqua Dunya, Dreamworks Theme Park and the City of Arabia.

The project is expected to have a significant outdoor component with a mix of indoor and outdoor entertainment areas, and numerous green spaces planned including the Al Barari botanical gardens and Dubai Golf City.

Dubailand is expected to attract 15 million tourists to Dubai by 2015, with visitors coming from both inside and outside of the region.

The development will be served by the metro, as well as buses, a tram and a monorail.

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