x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

$1bn resort planned for Jordan

A Middle East entertainment company has partnered with units of the US media giants CBS and Paramount to develop a $1 billion theme park and resort in Jordan.

A Middle East entertainment company has partnered with units of the US media giants CBS and Paramount to develop a US$1 billion (Dh3.67bn) theme park and resort in Jordan.

The Amman company Rubicon Group Holding, which creates animated films, said it would design and produce the Red Sea Astrarium, a 74-hectare resort in Aqaba, Jordan.

The resort will include a Star Trek-themed attraction created under licence from CBS Consumer Products, which manages the licensing of television shows including CSI.

The attraction will be "creatively developed" by Paramount Recreation, part of the Paramount group, Rubicon said.

Development of the resort would "generate employment for more than 500 high-skilled workers in the local community", Rubicon said.

The Star Trek attraction will offer a "space-flight adventure" and "23rd-century"-themed entertainment.

The Red Sea Astrarium resort will also include five-star hotels, theatres, dining and shopping. The architectural firm Callison has been engaged to design the project, Rubicon said.

The company did not specify how the development would be funded. The project was announced yesterday at the Jordanian-US Business Forum in Amman.

Rubicon said it hoped to attract some of the "350 million residents across the Middle East", as well as travellers from further afield.

Jordan's tourism industry, along with other markets such as Egypt, Oman and Syria, has been hit by the protests in the Arab world.

According to one estimate, hotel occupancy in Amman is down by 6 per cent from this time last year, partly because of the civil unrest this year.

Rubicon was founded in Jordan and also has offices in Dubai, Los Angeles and Manila.

bflanagan@thenational.ae