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Snow Village planned for Saudi Arabia

February 2, 2011
A remarkable 'Snow Village' is set to open at the Mall of Arabia in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia in the middle of the year.
The 5,000 metre2 attraction will mark the realisation of a decade-long dream for Dutchman Kees Albers. When complete the facility will feature 10 attractions aimed at families with children including snow tubing, snow mobiles, snow diggers, a snow ball zone, curling, a high ropes course and bumper cars on ice.
The Mall of Arabia already boasts attractions including an ice rink and a small FEC, but its owners, the Al Hokair Group, hope Snow Village will help drive footfall to a forgotten corner. Developer Unlimited Snow is projecting an annual attendance of around 300,000.
Albers, owner of Unlimited Snow, first sought of creating an indoor snow park around 10 years ago, and twice came close to realising the project, first in The Netherlands and then in India. Since them, several other developers have created similar projects, giving Albers time to watch and learn.
Albers recently told Park World magazine "I always thought the market for this would be theme parks but now there is a lot of demand from shopping malls, where rival operators want something to make them stand out.
"However, if you look at Ski Dubai (at the Mall of the Emirates), 90% of the money went into sport, whereas 85% of revenue comes from play. That's because people in Europe like to go skiing to practice for their holidays, but that is not the case in the Middle East."
Unlimited Snow's core competency is snow-making, but the company is working with up to 50 other firms to realise the park's facilities, in many cases adapting existing products and technologies for the ice-cold environment.
Albers is now exploring other opportunities for 'snow villages' around the world.

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