I found a full page full colored ad on the Straits Times today. It screamed:

Asia Asia Hotel and Resort, The Largest Hotel in The World… At the largest hospitality and leisure development in the world.

It then showed the picture above. If you look closely, it comprises the tallest towers in asia, Taipei 101, Petronas Twin Towers, Burj Dubai and so on. I believe that is a mockup of the Asia Asia hotel. The next picture showed a huge martian looking landscape. A lighted strip so long, it extended into the horizon with both sides of the strip surrounded by a forest of skyscrapers with twinkling lights. At first, i thought, "Hmm… is that really earth? Looks like some terraforming project on mars, or some Star Wars project." Then I read the fineprint on the ad:

Located  in Dubai, Bawadi is set to be one of the premier tourist destinations of the world, and will - Span a stretch of over 10km - House 31 themed hotels, each with its own theatre - Offer more than 1,500 restaurants - Be a cultural melting pot, that offers an amazing selection of spectacular entertainment shows   Bawadi will also be home to ASIA ASIA Hotel and Resort, which is - The largest hotel in the world with 6,500 rooms - A structure based on landmark buildings in Asia, with 5-star and 4-star accomodations - Home to the largest spa in the world - A unique attraction that offers the right mix of hospitality and entertainment when on vacation.

WOW!!! This is Dubai’s nth ambitious project. To create a Las Vegas in the Middle East, tapping the nearly 2+ billion catchment area within 7hrs of Dubai. Dubai has land and is actively terraforming and turning it into a huge future metropolis of the world. I’m utterly stunned by the ambitious nature of this project. At the same time, I look at it with envy, because I know that no, matter how hard Singapore tries with its teeny weeny mega expensive casinos/IR, we are not going to be out of this world successful like the UAE. The winner for Singapore’s IR will first and foremost be the Singapore govt because of the highly priced land. Our pruddish laws, conservatism and micro-management might eventually hinder the IR’s success. The sheer scale of Bawadi is impressive in itself. The variety of entertainment options is and will be mind boggling. How can our tiny little resorts ever hope to compete? Interestingly, Bawadi’s advertisement makes no mention of a casino at all. There may or may not be a casino. This for me could be a reflection of the confidence in the quality of entertainment that would be available. No need for gambling to bring people in. And I think they might be right. Good clean, quality entertainment might just do the trick. The scale of the project would definitely attract much international attention and lure entertainers. Imagine, if you’re a singer and were offered a show in Bawadi and Singapore at the same time, ceteris paribus, which one would u choose? I’d choose Bawadi because it sounds so much more exciting! Asia Asia Hotel. Sounds just like the New York, New York hotel in Vegas right? It does sound a little unimaginative, but oh well, this really is the Asia-Pacific century. Otherwise, why aren’t the Dubaians building replicas of Eiffel tower and NewYork and GoldenGate bridges in Bawadi? It’ll be really interesting for me to track the development of this project. Oddly enough, I’m actually rooting more for Bawadi to succeed than Singapore. Because Singapore just doesn’t have the scale. Lastly, I think with the emergence of mega-resorts like this, one company that will gain greatly is Emirates airlines as it has probably been tasked with the job of ferrying by the planeloads the millions of tourists to Dubai. Isn’t that a great growth opportunity for Emirates? In this day and age, I think being as ambitious as Dubai will pay off. I was just reading Wikipedia’s entry on Dubai. Apparently 15-25% of the world’s cranes are in Dubai. Hmm, could that also correlate to 15-25% of the world’s construction is there too? Dubai’s building a really glorious future. I think it has become the talk of the world, and the viral marketing that will rise from such chatter can and will make Dubai a success. Nothing beats low-cost buzz marketing! Good luck Dubai!