One of the most important aspects of keeping the flame of international travel burning brightly is the ambition of the minds working in the industry today. Ambition and innovation need to work hand in hand to deliver new experiences to an increasingly cynical world. In that respect, the work of a developer is never done, because it gets increasingly more difficult to find an answer to the question “What can we do that has not been done already?” in those terms, as good an answer as one can imagine has been delivered by the minds behind The Pearl – Qatar. However cynical we become, the idea of creating an artificial island for freehold ownership has to be considered an incredibly bold step.
The Pearl – Qatar is nearing completion, and will be open for business and residency in 2010. What this will mean for tourism in the area is still to be borne out in figures, but it has already caught the attention of a great many people for the incredible ambition and nerve behind the concept. Once it is complete, The Pearl will be arguably the world’s first landmass with multiculturalism as a founding principle. When the residential developments are open they will reflect various national and international themes, including cultures as diverse as Arabic, Mediterranean and European ones. The fascinating aspect will be in seeing how tourism changes in the area from the introduction of an entirely new land mass.
The chosen name for the new archipelago reflects Qatar’s history as a major player in the industry for precious pearls. In tribute to this history the island chain has been designed to look like a string of pearls. When complete it will feature at least thirteen islands, eight of which will be available for freehold ownership by private owners, to do with as they see fit. This is likely to see the fairly unique situation of a genuine microcosm, with different parts of the world brought close together in a very literal sense, and with business opportunities springing from this.
Much of the tourism in the Middle East has been concentrated in and around the United Arab Emirates in recent years, although Qatar has never been too far from the forefront of commercially ambitious thinking in the region’s tourist industry. This development will make for interesting times, and it remains to be seen how this will affect tourism in places like Dubai and Abu Dhabi, as well as who will be the investors who purchase the private islands. Several high profile celebrities have been linked with possible purchases, but none have as yet been confirmed.
The five larger islands will contain a range of luxury villas and apartments, three new five star hotels and a vast range of retail and restaurant opportunities along with an entertainment sector which the developers hope will be the envy of any other place. It is also practically inevitable that there will be developments for the purpose of sport, in an area that already commands one of the richest non-Grand Slam tennis tournaments and a soccer league which has been host to the likes of Romario and Rivaldo.