Bahrain is opening the world’s largest underwater theme park spread over an area of 10-hectares featuring a Boeing 747. This major tourist attention is set to open its gates to public next summer. It will also have other attractions such as sculptures, coral reefs and a local pearl merchant’s house’s replica.
The presence of Boeing 747 in the water is deemed as an environmentally friendly step by the Supreme Council for the Environment and the Tourism and Exhibitions Authority of Bahrain (BTEA), the major promoter of the presence of this 70 metre long, retired and specially adapted aeroplane in the theme park. The organisation highlighted that the presence of Boeing 747 on the seafloor will provide a habitat for marine animals. Furthermore, the plane will encourage the growth of coral reefs.
Bahrain is an oil producing nation present between the east coast of Saudi Arabia and Qatar peninsula that aims to attract divers from various parts of the world to visit and experience this unique theme park. Its major attraction, the Boeing 747 has sparked a debate.
Question is, will the introduction of a plane on the seafloor do any favours to the marine ecosystem?
The promoters believe that the remains of the plane will provide an excellent and unique platform for the development of coral reefs and habitat for marine animals. Some experts have concerns that the corroding parts of the plane made of alloys such as aluminium, copper, lead, steel and other pollutants will degrade the water quality.
However, the tourism representatives of the country are confident that the special preparations done before the sinking of Boeing 747 will be successful in the elimination of all types of potential pollutants such as hydraulic, pneumatic and fuel-related systems, wiring, plastics, insulation, rubber and all kinds of chemicals. These special preparations include high-pressure wash with bio-friendly detergents to remove oil, grime and post-production coatings.
The tourism industry of this region is reaching new heights due to massive investments of around 17,500 million dollars in various high-profile projects such as MGM Resorts and Warner Bros in Dubai, The Address Harbour Point and Marriot Resort Al Khaimah.
Bahrain has also developed a new terminal on its international airport to facilitate the arrival of international flights and tourists. In the next three years, they are planning to inaugurate 22 new hotels including the 250-room Shangri-La Hotel having eight beach villas, 150 suites and 21 beachfront villas which is set to open in 2022.
This project is an important part of Bahrain’s seaport development which will feature a marina. There are multiple other high-profile tourism attractions already functioning in this area including Ritz-Carlton, Le Meridian and Intercontinental.
The underwater theme park of Bahrain is a new instalment in the recent widespread trend of underwater exuberant tourist attractions. They are being developed in various forms all around the world. Major examples include the submarine hotel of Maldives and the Submarine Museum in the United States.