Qatar mulls investment in Roman theme park

Emir said to show interest in proposal by Rome mayor Gianna Alemanno

Leisure, Attractions, Qatar, Roman theme park

Qatar could invest in a new ancient Roman theme park based in the Italian capital city, it was reported on Wednesday.

Italian media reported said the Gulf state's emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani had shown interest in investing in the project after meeting with local officials in the Eternal City.

"We showed the emir several plans. The one that most caught his attention and which he said he wants his people to work on is the idea of a theme park on ancient Rome," Gianni Alemanno, Rome's mayor, was quoted as saying.

The park would be located outside of the city centre and would allow visitors to re-live some of the sights and sounds of ancient Rome, from being a spectator at the Colosseum to going for a soak at the thermal baths, it was reported.

Tourists could also watch re-enactments of Rome's most famous battles or take a stroll through the ancient city's bustling market districts, Italian media said.

A plan for the project is said to include five hotels on site and would require some 600m euros ($785m) in private investment.

The project could host eight million visitors a year and create 9,000 jobs, reports added.

"We intend to find a location for it in the next few weeks," Alemanno said.

Another project presented to the emir was that of setting up a Roman museum in Qatar, using artifacts that are currently in storage, the reports said.

Qatar Holding said on Monday it had signed an agreement to acquire Smeralda Holding, owner of luxury hotel resorts on Costa Smeralda in Sardinia, from Colony Capital, the US-based real estate investment firm.

Under the terms of the agreement, Qatar Holding will acquire a portfolio consisting of four luxury hotels with a total of 372 rooms, the Porto Cervo Marina, the Porto Cervo Shipyard, the Pevero Golf Club, a 51 percent interest in 2,290 hectares of adjacent undeveloped land and various other real estate assets in Costa Smeralda.

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