Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al-Maktoum said on Saturday that the sheikhdom will build the world's first temperature-controlled city which includes the largest shopping mall in the world, state news agency WAM reported.
The 48 million-square-foot (4,458,000 square meters) city, The Mall of the World, comprises an eight-million-square-foot (743,000 square meter) shopping mall, the world's largest indoor scheme park and 100 hotels. Once completed, the city will become a year- round destination which can host around 180 million visitors annually.
The Dubai ruler said "tourism is the key driver of our economy" and the project complements the plans to transform Dubai into a cultural, tourist and economic hub for the two billion people in the region.
In 2013, Dubai hotels welcomed over 11 million tourists, an increase of 10 percent from 2012, according to the Dubai Department of tourism and Commerce Marketing. The sheikhdom aims to attract 20 million visitors by 2020 when it hosts the World Expo.