By Andy Sambidge
Senior club officials, players to join launch event for tourism project on Thursday
A $1bn Real Madrid Resort Island planned for Ras Al Khaimah will be launched on Thursday, it has been announced.
Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, ruler of Ras Al Khaimah, will be joined by Real Madrid president Florentino Perez and Zinedine Zidane, the club's director of football at a press conference to launch the project.
The 430,000 sq m investment project will include a theme park, the first stadium open to the sea, a Real Madrid museum, numerous sports facilities, a sport port, a residential area and luxury hotels, state news agency WAM reported.
Earlier this week, Real Madrid announced plans for the resort which is scheduled to open in 2015.
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.For all the latest travel news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.