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Sun 22 May 2011 12:34 PM

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Jordan unveils plan for $1bn theme park

Rubicon inks deal with US media giants Paramount, CBSD for entertainment resort

Jordan unveils plan for $1bn theme park
Artists impression of the Red Sea Astrarium entertainment resort in Aqaba, Jordan

Middle East entertainment firm Rubicon has signed a deal
with US media giants Paramount and CBS to launch a $1bn theme park and resort
in Jordan, the company said Sunday.

Rubicon Group Holding, creators of the Arabic children’s
television show Ben & Izzy, will design and produce the Red Sea Astrarium,
a 184-acre entertainment resort in Aqaba, Jordan.

The entertainment resort will include a Star Trek-themed
attraction inspired by the 2009 film Star Trek, which is being developed by
Paramount Recreation.

“The Red Sea Astrarium will be a destination showcase in an
extraordinary part of Jordan,” Randa Ayoubi, CEO of Rubicon Holding Group, said
in an emailed statement.

The resort will generate jobs for more than 500 skilled
workers in the local community, the company said. It did not specify how the
theme park would be funded.

Jordan, home to historical sites such as Petra, is looking
to boost its income from tourism. The Arab country saw revenues from tourism
increase 17 percent to JD2.423bn in 2010 compared to the previous year,
according to government data.  

The industry has been thrown into crisis in the wake of the
political protests sweeping the Arab world, after foreign embassies issued
travel warnings and tour groups cancelled their trips.

The country lost an estimated $70m as a result of the Middle
East unrest, according to government data.

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