Tropical Rainforest Planned for New Dubai Desert Spectacle

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A Dubai developer plans to recreate a tropical rainforest under a dome in the desert sheikdom, adding to a collection of spectacles that include an indoor ski slope and the world’s tallest building.

Damac Properties Dubai Co PJSC will work with Amazon rainforest experts to recreate a jungle within a dome at its Akoya Oxygen development, the company said today. Visitors will be able to “fly through the treetops on a zipwire,” according to a statement.

“The Dubai Rainforest will recreate the natural environment experienced in the heart of the deepest rainforests,” Ziad El Chaar, Damac’s managing director, said in the statement. “The Dubai Rainforest will be a tropical wonderland, which tourists, residents and school groups can immerse themselves in.”

Damac, which listed its shares in Dubai in January, is building a luxury housing development on 55 million square feet (5.1 million square meters) of land in Dubai. The development will include an 18-hole golf course designed by Tiger Woods as well as shops, restaurants and amenities.

Damac said the rainforest attraction would be ready by 2019 to coincide with Dubai’s hosting of Expo 2020. It will import many plant species and integrate them into the iconic dome structure, the company said.

“Dubai’s developers are always looking for that wow factor to help distinguish their developments and draw buyers,” said Sanyalak Manibhandu, an Abu Dhabi-based manager of research at NBAD Securities LLC. “The test is whether they make financial returns. Many such wow ideas never have, while others never made it off the drawing board.”

Dubai developers are building the world’s tallest ferris wheel and five theme parks to add to attractions in the city popular with tourists from China, Russia, India and the rest of the Middle East. Dubai boasts the tallest dancing fountain, man-made islands and a sail shaped hotel.