Dubai is making headlines again, announcing plans to construct an indoor city that will be 100 percent temperature-controlled.
An official statement from investment company Dubai Holding, Sheik Mohammed Bin Rashid's latest project will be called the Mall of the World. Yet with 20,000 hotel rooms in the pipeline, it's far from the average shopping complex.
Never one to shy away from records, Dubai is seeking to break multiple of them in its latest endeavor. It will be the world's largest shopping center, housing the world's largest indoor theme park, all connected by the world's largest network of temperature-controlled streets (over four miles worth, criss-crossed by an indoor tram system).
Dubai Holding predicts 180 million travelers annually to take in the mall's sites, which go well beyond traditional clothing stores. Theaters modeled after London's West End and New York's Broadway playhouses, "Celebration Walk" resembling Barcelona's Las Ramblas, and a 3 million sq. ft. wellness district for medical tourism.
The T+L Take? Hit hard by the global financial crisis in 2009, Dubai is trying very, very hard to become the world's preeminent tourism destination. It has already skyrocketed to the world's fifth-most popular city for international visitors. Time will tell whether this new megamall pays off.
Peter Schlesinger is a research assistant at Travel + Leisure and a member of the Trip Doctor news team. You can find him on Twitter at @pschles08.