European footballing giant Real Madrid has chosen Ras Al Khaimah’s Marjan Island as the site for a branded theme park worth US$1bn.
The 50-hectare ‘Real Madrid Resort Island’ will feature a theme park, a stadium and a museum dedicated to the Spanish side, as well as sports facilities and a ‘sport port’, alongside residential and luxury hotel facilities.
The resort is scheduled to be open in January 2015, according to a statement posted on the Real Madrid website.
"When the Real Madrid Resort Island opens its gates, visitors will become part of the legend of this club, which strives to be eternal and universal,” club president Florentino Perez said.
“We adhere our name and potential to a unique location, a strategic meeting place and a project of unprecedented dimension located less than four hours away by flight of 2,000m people.”
The resort will be the first tourism complex built under the Real Madrid trademark.
The news is a coup for Ras Al Khaimah, which sees tourism as a vital contributor to its GDP. In November last year, the emirate set up the Ras Al Khaimah Hospitality Group, which will aim to help achieve the target of having 10,000 hotel rooms by 2016.
Waldorf Astoria will open a location on Al Marjan Island - the emirate’s first reclaimed island - in October 2012, while the Baba Al Bahr Beach Resort will also open this year.
Hilton Worldwide will add Ras Al Khaimah’s second Doubletree resort to Al Marjan by the beginning of 2014.
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