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Dubai to build world's largest waterfront development

Manhattan sized project part of multi-billion dollar tourism drive

Dubai, in the throes of a construction frenzy to boost tourism and investment, on Saturday unveiled plans to build what it says will be the world's largest waterfront development.

"Dubai Waterfront," an 81-million-square-metre beachfront landmark, will be larger than Manhattan and the first phase of the ambitious "Arabian Canal", Dubai property developer Nakheel said.

The crescent-shaped development will protrude into Gulf waters alongside The Palm Jebel Ali, one of three enormous palm-tree-shaped islands rapidly being built along Dubai's coast. The Arabian Canal foresees a 75-kilometre waterway winding through the desert sands around the Jebel Ali area, south of central Dubai. "Nakheel has created Dubai Waterfront Company and will be the majority owner, offering 49 percent to select investors," a statement said.

The Waterfront project will build multiple roads and waterways, five square kilometers of coral reef and an additional 850-kilometre waterfront 12 times the length of the existing Dubai coastline. The affluent Gulf emirate, a member of the seven-strong United Arab Emirates federation, is forging ahead with a multi-billion-dollar tourism drive to meet depleting oil resources and attract 40 million visitors a year by 2015.

It is soon to boast the world's tallest habitable tower, the Burj Dubai, and an underwater hotel. Grandiose projects like "Dubailand" - the emirate's answer to Disneyland - the Middle East's largest water park and its first indoor ski resort are also in the making, as are efforts to build 300 islands that will form the shape of a world map.

Amman,01 31 2005
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