Dubai’s Majid Al Futtaim (MAF) will spend about AED1bn ($272.3 million) expanding one of the emirate’s largest malls, which houses an indoor ski slope, in a further sign of a revival in its retail and tourism market.
Dubai is seen as a safe haven amid regional unrest that began with the Arab Spring in 2010, helping the emirate attract more visitors to its luxury shopping malls.
Dubai attracted 5.5 million tourists in the first half of 2013, a 11.1 percent increase on the year, the emirate’s tourism department said in July. Its airport aims to overtake London’s Heathrow as the world’s biggest airport by passengers by 2020.
Mall of the Emirates will be redeveloped to include a new fashion district, luxury retail, and sports and leisure precinct, MAF, the operators of Carrefour stores in the Middle East, said in a statement.
The mall is one of the key attractions in Dubai as it houses the only indoor ski resort in the region.It was the largest indoor ski park in the world when it was launched in 2005 and was promoted as an attraction for tourists and residents during the hot summer months in the Gulf state.
Phase one of the expansion has already begun, which is a new 100-million-dirham district dedicated to contemporary fashion, the statement said. MAF has been on an aggressive expansion drive and bought the remaining 25 percent from Carrefour in its a Middle East joint venture in May. The company plans to raise a $1.5 billion loan to refinance its debt, sources said last week.
Earlier this year Dubai Mall, the world largest mall owned by property developer Emaar Properties, announced plans to expand the mall by another 1 million square feet in the first phase.