The city of skyscrapers and artificial islands is at it again. Not content to simply have the world’s tallest building, Dubai is also now gunning for the titles of world’s largest indoor theme park and world’s largest mall.
A new complex, which will include the Mall of the World, will be completely climate controlled, with more than 4 miles of enclosed walkways. The walkways would be open to the air in winter but during the scorching Dubai summer would be closed and air conditioned.
The press materials take pains to compare the new development to cultural icons from other countries, evoking theatre in Broadway and the West End, shopping on Rodeo Drive or London’s Oxford Street, and describing something called The Celebration Walk as “similar to the Ramblas Street in Barcelona.”
This climate-controlled behemoth isn’t just Epcot in disguise, though. It also will have a huge medical tourism center, which will offer wellness treatments, cosmetic surgery and other medical procedures.
There is currently no word on what the 48 million square foot complex (8 million square feet will be dedicated to the mall, and 3 million to the medical tourism center) will cost, or when it would be completed. The developers hope to bring in 180 million visitors a year, which seems a bit ambitious. For comparison, New York City brings in just over 50 million visitors per year, and the World Cup in Brazil this year was only expected to bring in 600,000 foreign tourists.