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The world’s largest indoor theme park is set to open in Dubai this month to lure more tourists and travellers, who do not prefer touring Dubai in the summer months.
In a sandy suburb beyond Dubai’s concrete jungle and pockets of artificially green spaces, IMG Worlds of Adventure’s boxy exterior belies a 140,000-square metre (1.5 million-square foot) air-conditioned cathedral of entertainment, teeming with animatronic dinosaurs, roller coasters, Marvel superheroes and Cartoon Network characters.
Zombies pop out from dark corners of a haunted house and the Velociraptor coaster throttles passengers within a misty, simulated rain forest called the Lost Valley.
As it stands now, stir-crazy families in Dubai–a tourism and financial hub which already boasts the world’s tallest building–have few places to stretch their legs beyond expensive malls while temperatures outside can approach 50 degrees Celsius.
Even an indoor ski slope, complete with real-life penguins, has not been enough to stanch the exodus that leaves roads and public spaces eerily quiet through the hot months.
“Dubai still suffers from a certain amount of seasonality during the June, July, August period,” Lennard Otto, CEO of the new $1 billion attraction, told Reuters.
“We will hopefully drive tourism in those periods to make Dubai an all-year-round destination,” he said, ahead of the theme park’s August 31 opening.
“Today there’s a gap in this market and in the region. People are actually travelling to the far east and the far west to experience theme parks,” Otto said.
Both the United Arab Emirates, which includes Dubai, and Saudi Arabia have launched initiatives this year to create more fun for their car and smartphone-obsessed people.