Israel plans multi-million-dollar Dead Sea project

Credit-Moshe-Safdie-Architects-1 (1)
(Photo: Moshe-Safdie-Architects)
AMMAN — Israel has announced plans to turn the lowest place on earth, the Dead Sea, into one of the hottest tourist destinations on the planet, the Times of Israel reported on Sunday. It said Israel has been inspired by two places already drawing millions of visitors a year: the Maldives and Dubai.اضافة اعلان

The paper added that plans for a raft of new hotels along the Dead Sea will seek to revamp tourism in the region and remake the coastline with a series of manmade islands, peninsulas and inlets — plus a tropical-style property featuring guest cottages perched on stilts in the sea — to extend it and put more tourists on the water.

It said that Israeli officials see boosting Dead Sea tourism as key to reaching the goal of 10 million visitors a year by 2030. With the sea rapidly shrinking, leaving former beachside resorts kilometers from shore and turning the former coastline into a dangerous expanse of sinkholes, tourism efforts are focused on the massive evaporation ponds south of the Dead Sea, where most of the large hotels in the area are already located.

The ponds, which are filled with water from the Dead Sea and used by ICL (formerly Israel Chemicals Ltd.) for potash, bromine, and magnesium mining, are generally marketed as part of the sea, and few tourists are aware that they are actually floating in an industrial site.

The scheme aims to double tourist accommodation at the Dead Sea by adding 4,000 to 5,000 rooms along an extended promenade by 2026, filling in much of the remaining open space, the paper added.

Seven hotel tenders have been awarded, out of 17 eventual projects, and Israel’s tourism ministry has already invested more than $344 million extending the promenade along the shoreline southwards, and building the new landforms.

Promoters say three islands are being built as part of the development, but published plans only show a single landform — still technically connected to land — that might be classified as one.

The island, which is already built, will be home to a massive dome that will be used as a 5,000-person capacity exposition center with world-class amenities and 360-degree projection lighting, according to the paper.

The island is connected to a jetty jutting out into the sea, which will feature a hotel and a spa, according to published plans.

Bercleys Papo, which is also building two towers with guest accommodations and luxury condos as part of the project, says the dome is being shipped into the country nearly complete and will be up and running within six months.

Elsewhere in the project, a hotel is slated to be built that will mimic the Maldives’ famous guest cottages on stilts right over the water, connected to each other and the land by a boardwalk.

Though not included in the current project, an area master plan includes another manmade peninsula sticking into the lake where another hotel will sit, the paper added.

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