DUBAI - Dubai is planning to build a temperature-controlled city featuring the world's largest mall and an indoor park, as well as hotels, health resorts and theaters, the developer said.
Already home to one of the globe's biggest indoor shopping complexes, Dubai Mall, the glitzy emirate known for its love of grandiose projects said it is now planning to build the "Mall of the World".
The all-pedestrian complex would occupy a total area of 48 million square feet (4.45 million square metres), said Dubai Holding, the developer owned by Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum.
The project "will comprise the largest indoor theme park in the world" under a glass dome that would be opened during winter, it said in a statement.
The seven-kilometre (4.35 mile)-long promenades connecting the facilities would also be covered and air-conditioned during summer, it added.
"Our ambitions are higher than having seasonal tourism. Tourism is key driver of our economy and we aim to make the UAE an attractive destination all year long," said Sheikh Mohammed.
"This is why we will start working on providing pleasant temperature-controlled environments during the summer months."
The statement issued late on Saturday did not say when construction would begin, nor did it reveal the cost of the project.
Dubai hopes the "Mall of the World" can attract more than 180 million visitors each year.
United Arab Emirates is known for its numerous malls and many hotels, including the Dubai Mall, touted as the world's largest shopping, leisure and entertainment destination. It is also home to the world's tallest tower, Burj Khalifa.
Dubai has established itself as a global hub for air transport and transit trade, as well as a regional financial centre.
And it beat off opposition from Brazil, Russia and Turkey in November to win the right to host the World Expo trade fair in 2020.
The emirate's economy was hit in 2009 by the global financial crisis, but it has since made a strong comeback, thanks to growth in the trade, transport and tourism sectors.
Just how big is Mall of the World?
To compare, the Philippines' SM Mall of Asia has 407,000 square meters of total floor area, while SM MegaMall has over 500,000 square meters of total floor area.
So imagine the Mall of the World is equivalent to nine SM MegaMalls.
SM Prime, the country's largest mall operator, expects to have a network of 50 malls in the Philippines with a gross floor area of 6.6 million square meters by the end of 2014. - With Agence France-Presse