Aqaba's $1.5 billion theme-park resort to break ground

Development will bring to life region's past, present and future

Aqaba's $1.5 billion theme-park resort to break ground

(By Kate Carlisle) Aqaba, May 28 - The High Commissioner of the Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority (ASEZA), Dr. Kamel Mahadin, announced work on the first theme-park tourist destination in Jordan is ready to begin. A ceremony, held under the patronage of the Prime Minister of Jordan, Abdalla Ensour, presented the layout for land development, architectural and engineering plans for what Kamel says is the "first entertainment resort of its kind in the world". Details of the $1.5 billion, 184-acre themed entertainment resort were brought to life in an unconventional manner via a purpose-built cyclorama with 360-degree virtual reality projection, designed to give delegates attending the World Economic Forum in Jordan a taste of the Red Sea Astrarium experience. The showcase highlighted how the Red Sea Astrarium (TRSA) will become a diverse leisure destination that is themed around entertainment attractions drawing from the past, the present and the future of the region. The resort will also host the American Museum of Natural History's Silk Road Exhibition in its Hijazi Gardens. Kamel said that "home-grown and break-through technology" will be behind two attractions that will catapult Jordan to the forefront of interactive experiences, "including a global first for 4D inverted simulation that is different on every ride". The announcement at the ground-breaking ceremony also underlined the project's mandate for job creation, the contribution it will have towards tourism in Jordan and its use of clean energy sources. "A major goal in the design of the Red Sea Astrarium is to actively engage the local communities through training with on-site hospitality academies, job creation, encouraging tourists to stay longer and come back," Kamel enthused. The entertainment resort will transform the Aqaba region and make it a high-end tourism hub for Jordan. It will do so "while telling stories from our regional culture, integrating alternative energy sources and promoting the development of the entertainment industry in Jordan," Kamel said. Other details announced included four-world-class hotels, an expansive retail and dining district, a theatre that will bring globally renowned shows to Aqaba, a 4D cinema, an exhilarating water park and an entertainment district that includes 16 entertainment attractions, 15 designed by Rubicon Group Holding, an international group founded and head quartered in Jordan, and the 16th attraction based on Star Trek, the CBS-owned property designed by Paramount Pictures. Some of the RGH designed attractions include: Wonders! - an innovative i-Ride that enable guests to visit the various crowning achievements of ancient human ingenuity and design around the world, in the time of their prime. Cradle of Inspiration - A fantastical journey through space and time, which explores the nature of creativity and inspiration, aboard a first-of-its-kind ride system. Adventure Center - Guests can train for extreme adventures like sky diving, rock climbing, scuba diving, or even piloting a submarine. Aqaba's ASEZA, a burgeoning multi-sector development zone, is located on the Red Sea and just a stone's throw away from some of the region's most famous tourist sites.

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