Dubai: Dubai will create the world's largest shopping area, providing 17 times more retail space than Mall of the Emirates, currently the biggest shopping mall in the city.
The planned retail zone will be part of Bawadi, the Dh100-billion hospitality and leisure zone in Dubailand, Dubai's Dh235-billion tourism project that will host a number of Las Vegas-style hotels and Disneyland-type theme parks.
"The world's largest shopping area will offer over 40 million square feet of gross leaseable area (GLA)," a Dubai Holding statement said yesterday.
Bawadi, which will have 29,000 rooms in its 31 hotels by 2016, is being developed by Dubai Holding unit Tatweer.
Dubailand aims to attract 200,000 visitors per day and 15 millions visitors each year once fully developed. "The shopping area will consist of malls, boutique malls, street shopping and an underground shopping area connecting all Bawadi's elements to become the longest shopping boulevard," the statement added.
According to the press release, His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, has instructed Bawadi to have the biggest shopping area in the world.
Dubai expects the tourism sector to play a key role in Dubai Strategic Plan, which calls for an 11 per cent annual economic growth to achieve a GDP of $108 billion by 2015.
"It will represent a significant platform in the development of tourism in the emirate and will underline Dubai's status as one of the world's premier family destinations," said Mohammad Al Gergawi, executive chairman of Dubai Holding.
It will create a jumble of outlets that appears unprecedented even by some of Dubai's already announced massive retail and leisure ventures.
Mall of Arabia, part of Ilyas and Mustafa Galadari Group's City of Arabia project in Dubailand, aims to be the world's biggest shopping mall with 10 million square feet of GLA upon completion. Its first phase is scheduled for completion in 2009 and will provide four million square feet of retail space.
Emaar Properties is also creating a massive mall within Downtown Burj Dubai, site of the world's tallest tower. Its planned Dubai Mall will offer 3.7 million square feet of retail space in a total gross building area of 5.8 million square feet.
Among Dubai's biggest existing shopping centres, Mall of the Emirates has 2.4 million square feet of retail area, Dubai Festival City has 2.1 million square feet and Ibn Battuta Mall provides 3.1 million square feet for retail and 21 cinema screens.
Saeed Al Muntafiq, executive chairman of Tatweer, said Bawadi's shopping zone will "accelerate our drive to develop a world-class hospitality and tourism project in Dubai and the region."
He told Gulf News last week that Dubai is poised to attract 15 million tourists in 2015 compared with 6.5 million last year.
Asked about Dubai's frequent launch of mega projects, Muntafiq said: "This city is built on surprises so these surprises are not going to stop."