Dubai inaugurates iconic water canal

Sunday 06/11/2016
Unique showpiece

DUBAI - Dubai was to inaugurate a water canal Wednesday after a three-year construction project costing $735 million, in a fresh boost for tourism and commerce in the booming Gulf city state.

The Dubai Water Canal creates a 6.4-kilometre (four-mile) waterfront in the area running from the city's growing Business Bay commercial district to the Gulf.

The waterway, between 80 and 120 metres (260 and 400 feet) in width, will "add a unique tourist and commercial showpiece" to the city, said the emirate's Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) chief, Mattar al-Tayer.

RTA said three bridges were built and that the project launched in October 2013 would provide "a new residential district, tourist attractions and recreational facilities including several hotels, restaurants and entertainment".

It will add a new shopping centre, four hotels and 450 restaurants to the city, according to local media.

Dubai's ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, was to attend an official opening ceremony later on Wednesday, as the city state which attracted 14 million tourists in 2015 aims for 25 million visitors a year by 2020 when it hosts the global trade fair Expo 2020.

The emirate has also started work on a skyscraper that when completed in 2020 will stand even higher than its Burj Khalifa -- the world's tallest tower at 823 metres (2,700 feet).