Resort developers in Qatar are currently in talks with an American company to open an underwater Atlantis-style theme park here, an artificial reef developer has announced.
Los Angeles-based Reef Worlds was quoted in local media today as saying they have entered discussions with two developers in Qatar. The names of the waterfront developers were not revealed, nor was the proposed location of the park.
The company said establishing artificial reefs was one way of expanding the US$3 billion global snorkel and dive market. The Doha project would be part of a wider push by Reef Worlds to establish similar parks in the Gulf, including in Dubai.
Though no potential sites for the park were discussed, it could possibly be part of a new waterfront project outside of Doha, called the Seef Lusail development, which has been described by master planners DP Architects as an “all-seasons playground.”
That project – which has not set a completion date – is expected to include entertainment, recreational and cultural attractions in addition to shops and hotels.
Explaining the company’s interest in Qatar, Dave Taylor, Reef Worlds Director of Development, was quoted in the Peninsula as saying:
“Qatar has a unique tourism problem we address. When one considers the 350 miles of coastline surrounding Qatar, scuba diving and underwater exploration is not on the Top Ten list, and yet it is almost everywhere else in the world. We want Qatar to be on the global tourism stage.”
According to the company, the reef sites are created by a team of Hollywood designers to look like ancient Lost Cities and help to rebuild regional reef habitat.
But many details still need to be hashed out. Speaking to the Gulf Times, a company spokesman said, “We are at the Memorandum of Understanding stage and have not signed contracts – yet.”
Earlier this month, the Los Angeles-based company announced plans to build Pearl of Dubai, which it billed as the world’s largest sustainable underwater tourism site.
Set off The World development, the underwater park was apparently modeled after the mythical lost city of Atlantis and Pirates of the Caribbean.
No date was given for when this park would be open.
Qatar theme parks
Qatar’s first theme park, the Aqua Park on Salwa Road, opened in 2010 and has 15 water attractions.
The facility is popular with families, but is often compared to other, more elaborate water parks in Dubai and elsewhere in the region.
There are a number of new theme parks slated to open in Qatar in the coming years, part of Qatar’s attempt to enhance its offering to international tourists.
Last month, the developers for under-construction Mall of Qatar in Al Rayaan announced a host of family entertainment offerings, including an Angry Birds theme park for young children.
The $824 million complex, slated for completion by the end of next year, is also set to have Digital Formula One racing and a Cirque du Soleil-style acrobatic theater. A space-themed experience is also planned for older children.
Meanwhile, the upcoming Doha Festival City on Al Shamal Road is building an indoor snow park and outdoor water park inside the $6 billion facility’s entertainment complex. The entire development is due for completion in early 2016.
Its target is to increase the number of international visitors to Qatar from 1.2 million in 2012 to 7 million by 2030.