The ferries were once the center of the city’s fair. Now they are key parts of major metropolitan lines.
But no one can surpass the heights of Ain Dubai – meaning “Dubai Eye” in Arabic – which is scheduled to open on October 21st. With a height of 820 feet, it will be the tallest observation wheel in the world, towering 270 feet above Las Vegas High Roller Watching Wheel, which will fall to second place.
The attraction is the center of Bluewaters Island, an artificial island near the Dubai Marina that was opened in 2018.
“The Ain Ain record eclipses the 165-meter Singapore Flyer and is almost twice the size of the London Eye,” said Ronald Drake, general manager of the attraction.
The structure has 48 enclosed cabins, some of which can accommodate up to 40 passengers. In total, 1,750 people can ride at the same time, depending on the attraction, however, capacity is currently limited due to the global pandemic. Now, up to 10 people can ride in each cabin, Drake said.
There are three styles of cabins in Ain Dubai – observation, social and private cabins.
Ain Dubai | Dubai Holding
Each cabin is larger than two double-decker buses lined up side by side, according to Ain Dubai. Three types of cabins are available: “observatory” cabins are for basic travel, “social experiences” include access to the living room and a bivouac, and “private” cabins can be customized for dinners, business meetings and other events.
Each trip lasts 38 minutes and gives a bird’s eye view of Dubai’s coastline and the city skyline.
The first “ferris wheel” was introduced in 1893 for the Colombian World’s Fair in Chicago, according to Smithsonian Magazine. Measuring 250 feet high, the wheel was designed by a 33-year-old American civil engineer, George Washington Gale Ferris Jr., whose goal was to create a structure that could rival the Eiffel Tower in Paris, according to the magazine.
The world’s first ferris wheel was introduced in 1893, however, there was already a smaller version of the ridable wheels at the time. The illustration here shows the “Great Wheel” introduced in London in 1895.
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Since then, ferris wheels have more than tripled in size. Now the term “observation wheel” is used to distinguish the largest and most sophisticated ferris wheels, according to the Director of Observation, a website billed as a “guide to the world’s largest ferris wheels “.
The opening of Ain Dubai continues Dubai’s efforts to position itself as a global tourist attraction.
“The focus on tourism has been one of the main diversification strategies of the UAE and Dubai in particular,” according to Usman Khalid, assistant professor of economics at the University of the United Arab Emirates. “The volatility of Covid-19-induced oil has made it clear that the UAE needs to diversify from oil and strengthen its other sectors.”
Unlike other parts of the UAE, Dubai does not produce much oil. Today, less than 1% of Dubai’s GDP comes from oil, according to the World Economic Forum. In 2018, tourism accounted for 11.5% of the emirate’s gross domestic product, according to the World Trade and Tourism Council.
Dubai is home to the world’s tallest building, the 2,716-foot Burj Khalifa, which opened in 2010.
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The emirate also stands out as an adventure tourism destination with new attractions for thrill seekers. In July 2021, he launched the 200-foot Deep Dive Dubai – the deepest immersion pool in the world. In recent years, Dubai has also hosted the world’s longest urban zipline, a XLine, is a Emirates A380 flight simulator at the Dubai Mall.
In addition to adventure and luxury tourism, Dubai has also increased cultural tourism, according to Khalid. It hosts the next one Expo 2020 Dubai, which will present art, cuisine and technology from more than 190 countries. The event starts on October 1st and ends on March 31st.