Spanish league leader and European footballing giant Real Madrid Football Club has chosen Ras Al Khaimah’s Marjan Island as the site for a branded theme park worth US$1bn.
The new 50-hectare “Real Madrid Resort Island” will feature a theme park, a stadium and a museum dedicated to the Spanish football side, as well as residential and luxury hotel facilities and be a major tourist attraction for the emirate.
The resort is scheduled to be open in January 2015, according to a statement posted on the Real Madrid website this week. "When the Real Madrid Resort Island opens its gates, visitors will become part of the legend of this club, which strives to be eternal and universal,” club president Florentino Perez said at a press conference at the Bernabeu stadium.
“We adhere our name and potential to a unique location, a strategic meeting place and a project of unprecedented dimension located less than four lying hours away from 2,000 million people.”
The resort will be the first tourism complex built under the Real Madrid trademark. The branding deal is a coup for Ras Al Khaimah, which sees tourism as a vital contributor to its GDP. OPP has previously reported on a series of other high-end resorts and apartment developments that have chosen to use a high-profile consumer brand to add value and kudos to the project.
Worldwide trade marks like Aston Martin, Bulgari and Versace have all lent their names to international residential developments in the past 18 months.
In November last year, the emirate set up the Ras Al Khaimah Hospitality Group, which will aim to help achieve the target of developing at least 10,000 hotel rooms by 2016. In a separate deal, the Waldorf Astoria hotel group is also planning to open up on Al Marjan Island - the emirate’s first reclaimed island - in October 2012, and a Baba Al Bahr Beach Resort will also open this year. Hilton Worldwide is also planning to add Ras Al Khaimah’s second Doubletree resort to Al Marjan by the beginning of 2014.
The news came when Real Madrid and the Government of Ras al-Khaimah presented the Real Madrid Resort Island at the club’s legendary Santiago Bernabeu Stadium. The new UAE project announcement was also attended by President Florentino Perez and Dr. Khater Massaad, representative of the Government of Ras al-Khaimah and CEO of RAK Investment Authority. Jose Mourinho, Iker Casillas, Sergio Ramos, Karim Benzema, Football Director Miguel Pardeza, First Team Director Zinedine Zidane, Director of Institutional Relations Emilio Butragueño and former players Santamaria, Pachin and Amancio Amaro also took part.
According to Perez, “football is a fantastic tool to make different people and cultures come together. This team's fans are passionate wherever they may be and never give up. Their dreams motivate us on a daily basis." "Santiago Bernabeu gave Real Madrid the unique capacity to go beyond this country's frontiers and those of us who administer this legacy are aware of the challenge that comes with handling what gave this club a mythical and legendary status.
Real Madrid Resort Island will be a sports touristic complex of the highest level, covering 50 hectares in which tourism and sport will seduce millions of people in search of a quality leisurely activities." "This is a decisive and strategic step that will enhance the strength of this institution in the Middle East and Asia, a key region in which the passion for this club has been apparent. Our collaboration grows increasingly stronger and we are proud of it. Real Madrid and the Government of Ras Al Khaimah want to transmit the passion of Real Madrid and what it means throughout the world."