Tourism rolls out the red carpet for celebrities

Swank is the latest celebrity who will endorse projects in Dubai

As the world rushes to get even more of their favourite celebrity, the next big tourist draw here in Dubai could well be celebrity spotting.

Word has just broken that Hollywood actress Hillary Swank and Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan are the latest celebrities to attach their names to prestigious developments in the region, joining a long list of celebrities endorsing or investing in projects in this city of gold and the UAE. These include actors Brad Pitt and Anglina Jolie, singer Rod Stewart, tycoons Donald Trump and Richard Branson, sportsmen Tiger Woods and Boris Becker and Bollywood star couple Abhishek Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai, who have invested in Dubai.

While some are turning up at launch parties – Orlando Bloom and Christina Aguilera are set to launch Donald Trump’s new Dubai luxury hotel and residences on The Palm – others are collaborating on shaping the city and making their mark in new ways.

Oscar winner Swank has been signed to represent the Aquitania development on Nakheel’s The World archipelago, off the coast of Dubai. She is to visit Dubai to launch the $1.49 billion development this month, Rahail Aslam, CEO of developers Select Group, told media.

The one-million-square foot development is inspired by France and Spain.

Shah Rukh Khan, who already owns a villa on The Palm Deira, is collaborating on a property in Ras Al Khaimah with TSA International Investments. The project is a cluster of buildings on Al Dana Island.

Both will be in Dubai this month at the annual property expo Cityscape.

Earlier this year, news broke that red-carpet favourite Brad Pitt, who has reportedly invested in property in Dubai with partner Angelina Jolie, has teamed up with Los Angeles based architecture firm Graft to help design and construct an environmentally friendly 800-room five star hotel in Dubai.

Meanwhile, another company making waves is ACI Real Estate, whose Trilogy Project is backed by Formula One kings Niki Lauda and Michael Schumacher, and tennis legend Boris Becker. And on the golf course, while Colin Montgomerie’s Montgomerie Golf Course has been a crowd puller since 2002, Tiger Woods’s $1.1-billion The Tiger Woods Dubai project is now hitting the headlines. The 2.3 million sqm development features a golf course and resort at Dubailand.


By Clark Kelly