Plans for a new entertainment complex in Dubai, including a giant 210-metre Ferris wheel, have been approved by the prime minister of Dubai.
The $1.6bn Bluewaters Island project will be built just off the coastline of Jumeirah beach, and will aim to draw in 3 million visitors every year. In addition to the Dubai Eye attraction, the complex will include restaurants, a hotel and a family entertainment centre, all themed around a Middle Eastern 'souk' marketplace.
"The destination will feature a bespoke souq encircled by a promenade that will boast alfresco dining outlets serving a wide variety of cuisine," developers said in a statement.
The Ferris wheel itself is expected to cost $1bn, and will take the crown of 'world's largest' from the 165-metre Singapore Flyer wheel which opened in 2008. Dubai has a history of upstaging other destinations with record-breaking structures, including the world's largest mall and the world's highest skyscraper. The Dubai Eye will offer visitors panoramic views across the coastline, taking in the iconic Burj Khalifa, Palm Jumeirah and Burj Al Arab.
"We have a clear mission and vision to strengthen Dubai’s global position in the tourism sector," said Abdullah Al Habbai, chairman of Meraas Holding, the company constructing the new complex. "This project will continue to build on the emirate’s reputation as leaders in the global entertainment and retail landscape," he added.
Dubai also recently approved the construction of five new theme parks in Jebel Ali, as well as a Universal Studios park and a new shopping mall even bigger than the current record-holder for size, the Dubai Mall.