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The Incredible Dubai Moon Resort

Dubai Moon Resort.

Going to the moon while on earth sounds like an oxymoron, but what if we told you that you could do that in just a few years?

This is thanks to another astonishing and expensive Dubai megaproject. Soon enough, there will be an actual gigantic moon in the middle of the city for people to go inside and experience space tourism without ever leaving the earth.

But, this $5 billion project is a lot more than a tourist attraction, and it is truly a bizarre endeavor that is worth keeping an eye on. Which is why we’re going to cover everything you need to know about this massive project and the people behind it. Then, it’ll be up to you to decide if this artificial moon is worth a visit or not.

The Dubai Moon Resort

When looking at this project, the first thing that would catch your eye is its shape. It’s basically a huge sphere that looks like a moon on top of a base, ensuring that the project will stand out in the middle of the city.

The shape is also reminiscent of the Epcot Globe at Disney World. However, the difference in size between the two structures would be massive, with the Epcot Globe standing at more than 180 feet, while Dubai Moon would stand at a whopping 735 feet!

There’s also another difference between the two, and it’s that the Dubai Moon plans to be more than just a tourist attraction. In fact, the Dubai Moon will become the Dubai Moon Resort, acting as a luxurious hotel with residences for both tourists and permanent residents inside it.

Overall, the Dubai Moon Resort will have 4000 suites in order to accommodate 2.5 million tourists every year. Additionally, it’ll offer some members of an exclusive private club 300 luxurious private residences known as ‘sky villas’.

Aside from the residences, the Dubai Moon Resort will also include amenities in the base building, such as a nightclub, spa, event space, piano lounge, and retail space, all lunar themed, of course.

But, the main attraction and the most incredible one will be a simulation that allows people to experience what it’s like to stand on the moon’s surface. The simulation would replicate models of lunar colonies that were already established by NASA. But, Dubai won’t stop at this, as the outer space experience will be enhanced by low gravity that will help visitors float like they were really in outer space.

Adding to the experience, people will enter the simulation through a door that looks like that of a space shuttle, and ride around in moon buggies across moon craters, bringing space tourism down to earth.

The Dubai Moon brings the full experience of going to the moon to tourists and serves as a hotel for them as well, but the vibrant city still has more plans for it. In fact, the company behind the project also hopes to make it a training location for space agencies, where they can set up research facilities and educational programs.

Construction on the Dubai Moon already started, and it could open as early as 2025, but the date could be pushed to 2027, due to the complex nature of the project.

The People Behind It

The company that’s taking on this project is called Moon World Resorts Inc. or MWR. It is an architectural design and intellectual property licensor based in Canada.

The company was founded in 2000, around the same time that other space tourism companies like SpaceX and Blue Origin were founded.

The founders of MWR are Michael Henderson and Sandra Matthews, and they both have extremely impressive résumés and vast experiences in the hospitality sector. For instance, Henderson is mainly known for being an entrepreneur and his previous experiences include managing an international service group. His training though, is in architecture.

As for Mathews, she has 25 years of corporate development experience behind her, specifically within the hospitality, health, and wellness sectors, and like Henderson, she has a background in architecture.

The fact that both Henderson and Mathews were trained as architects, is very relevant to this project. This is because the project is, architecturally, very ambitious. Particularly, the sheer scale of the artificial moon is a troublesome challenge, but since both owners of the projects are experienced architects, the project can be realized as a reality rather than remain a pipe dream.

However, while the two of them called this project their passion project and talked about how determined they were to finish it, their company’s track record, or rather the lack of one, raises some questions over their ability to complete it.

In fact, even saying that MWR lacks some experience would be generous to the company. The truth is, this is one of the company’s first ever projects as it hasn’t undertaken any previous projects before despite being 20 years old.

It’s also important to point out that the Dubai Moon isn’t MWR’s only ambitious moon project, as the company announced plans to build four moon resorts around the world, one in North America, one in Europe, one in the Middle East, and one in the Asia-Pacific region.

We already know about the Middle East one, but as for the others, we only know about the location of the North America one, which will be in another popular tourist destination, Las Vegas.

As for the other locations in Europe and the Asia-Pacific region, it’s still unknown where the Moon Resort could be built, or who are the candidates, but we can still speculate.

MWR could be eyeing thriving metropolises that attract tourists, so we could see them announcing Moon Resorts in cities like Paris, Barcelona, Sydney, Tokyo, or Shanghai, when it comes to Europe and the Asia-Pacific region. Regardless of what cities MWR picks, the company is up for a serious challenge.

New Market Opportunity?

Even if MWR’s experience is lacking, we can’t blame the company for wanting to take a shot at the global space tourism market. The market is lucrative and is expected to grow massively. Actually, the market size was estimated to be $869.20 million in 2022 and is projected to reach more than $3,884.18 million by 2032.

Also, it could be appropriate to applaud MWR for attempting to make a market, which is currently dominated by the rich, accessible to more people, even if that meant taking space trips on earth instead.

To understand how inaccessible this market is for the average person, just look at the price of one seat on a spaceship owned by space tourism companies such as Virgin Galactic. One seat costs a massive $450,000, which is close to the average price of a house in the U.S..

Therefore, it could be a good idea for MWR to exploit the hype and love people have for space tourism, and offer something that is similar, doesn’t require people to leave earth, and at a much more affordable price at the same time.

Why is Dubai Building it?

Tourism Ambitions

This has to do with the UAE’s booming tourism industry. In fact, the UAE ranks 4th in the list of countries where tourists generate the most revenue. In Dubai alone, tourism accounts for 20% of the city’s GDP.

This boom happened thanks to the UAE’s focus on tourism in order to diversify its economy away from the non-sustainable oil sector, which is a necessary shift since the Dubai government estimates that the country will completely run out of oil in 2045.

In 2022, the contribution of the travel and tourism sector to the UAE’s GDP was nearly $45.5 billion, which is equivalent to 9% of the total GDP. Also in the same year, the total spending of international tourists amounted to $32 billion.

Along with that, the UAE government forecasts that the total contribution of the travel and tourism sector to the UAE’s GDP will rise by 4.9% per annum until 2027, and would be 12.4% of GDP in that year.

Space Ambitions

So, it’s easy to see why Dubai is building an eye-catching resort that will definitely bring in more tourists. But besides that, the Dubai Moon could also be a nod towards the UAE’s growing space ambitions.

The UAE’s own space agency was founded in 2014 through a partnership with both the French and British space agencies, and the country funded its space agency with more than $5 billion, which resulted in an unprecedented achievement for the country, being home to Sultan AlNeyadi, the first Arab man to go to space and accomplish a space walk that lasted for 7 hours.

Adding to its space ambitions, the gulf country is now developing satellite communications technology and deploying the latest space technologies in terrestrial applications.

Also recently, the country set aside $820 million to fund space plans, such as building satellites. In this context, the UAE would definitely benefit from having a space research facility, which the Dubai Moon will serve as, in addition to being a tourist resort.

The Bottom Line

In conclusion, this megaproject is an ambitious sci-fi endeavor with an architecture that can only be described as unorthodox, with nothing similar on this scale having been attempted before.

It will certainly be interesting to keep up to date with news about the project, to see whether the resort will be completed successfully, and whether space tourism will really come to earth.


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