Abu Dhabi's English-language The National is reporting a planned Star Trek theme park in Aqaba, Jordan. Construction on the 74-hectare "Red Sea Astrarium" project is expected to start early next year, and MSNBC expects it to open in 2014. The project will include four hotels and 17 entertainment developments.
Amman-based Rubicon Group Holding will be designing and producing the entertainment elements of the resort, though Rubicon CEO Randa Ayoubi says the company won't be investing any of the expected US$1.5 billion the project should require. Instead, the King Abdullah II Fund for Development is expected to be the main local investor.
Ayoubi notes that total price tag is small compared to other theme parks, but says the plans are for a somewhat smaller attraction that can be profitable with a scant 480,000 annual visitors. The resort will include hotels, theatres, dining, and shopping. The entertainment will be themed around the idea of Jordan as "a crossroads of civilisations", she said.
The Star Trek-themed "space-flight adventure" will be created under license from CBS Consumer Products. It will be "creatively developed" by Paramount Recreation, part of the Paramount group.
MSNBC adds the theme park "isn't betting its future on science fiction. The site will also highlight the region's rich history, and host a pavilion where businesses, students, and others can learn about green energy, such as solar, wind, and graywater harvesting."
Development of the park is not entirely out of left field. King Abdullah II is an acknowledged Trekkie. He appeared (in a non-speaking cameo) in the 1996 Star Trek: Voyager episode "Investigations" (there's a seven-second clip of his appearance in this YouTube video).
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