|By Issac John, Khaleej Times, Dubai,
United Arab EmiratesMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News
May 03, 2012--Dubai is all set to open newer horizons in the tourism and hospitality sector with a novel initiative to develop underwater hotels.
Drydocks World, the shipbuilding arm of Dubai World, said on Wednesday it has signed a deal with Big Invest Consult, a Swiss company, to develop underwater hotels and floating cities.
The deal was inked at the Annual Investment Meeting held at the Dubai International Convention Centre. "The project is based on a unique concept that aims to provide the ultimate leisure experience and opens new horizons in tourism and housing in coastal areas, adding commercial value, while aiming to preserve the marine ecosystem," Drydocks World said in a statement.
The hotel, featuring a discus-shaped residential underwater building connected to another discus above water, will be funded by BIG Invest. The project envisages "an ultimate leisure facility with a structure that is partly above water and the rest underneath -- a residential Underwater Discus with an Above Water Discus", the company said.
BIG Invest is acting as a representative of the Deep Ocean Technology, the Polish owner behind the technology and concept of Water Discus Hotel.
According to the deal, Drydocks and Maritime World are appointed the exclusive main contractor for the construction of the new concept hotels and cities floating in the Middle East. The firm said two developments with five hotels attached to them are planned in the Middle East. The Swiss firm is eyeing the coast of Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
"This project has seven different types of designs and (each will cost in) the range of around $50 million to $120 million. The amount varies based on the design. The discussions are to build these around the world, not just the UAE," said Khamis Juma Buamim, chairman of Drydocks World and Maritime World.
"The Water Discus Hotel project opens many new fields of development for hotel and tourism sector, housing and city sector in the coastal off-shore areas, as well as new opportunities for ecology support by creation of new underwater ecosystems and activities on underwater world protection. We would like to create here in the UAE the international environmental programme and centre of the Underwater World Protection -- with Water Discus Hotel as a laboratory tool for oceans and seas environment protection and research," said Bogdan Gutkowski, president of Big Invest Group.
(c)2012 the Khaleej Times (Dubai, United Arab Emirates)
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