7 Artificial Cities for Tourists
Dubai, Las Vegas, Cancún – these are all well-known cities regularly visited by tourists. Not long ago, however, they were nothing but barren lands and sand piles. Here, Travel on Spot presents you with a few of the most exceptional cities, built with the purpose of attracting tourists and their money.
Cities adapted for urban dwellers, or those built in the Middle Ages, are not especially convenient for tourists. That’s why the narrow streets of Venice are constantly blocked by large crowds of sightseers, and why the first thing you have to do upon arrival in London, Berlin or Paris is study the underground map. With this in mind, several countries have decided to bypass these inconveniences and build brand new, comfortable cities, filled with entertainment, and designed specifically for visitors.
Bosnia and Herzegovina is also planning to build such a city near Sarajevo. The new building complex with shops, residential houses, entertainment complexes, hospitals and other infrastructure will be built by former builders of Dubai for 4.5 million EUR.
And while the new artificial cities designed for tourists are still being built, here we present you with six that already exist, and one that’s been lost to the sands of time.
Atlantic City, USA
Even though it now looks like most cities in the US, Atlantic City was actually built in 1854 as a holiday destination for wealthy New Yorkers. And it worked – by 1874, the city was attracting around half a million visitors every year, and in the mid-20th century, it a true holiday destination for them. They would come here to play in casinos and spend time on the beach, something like Las Vegas today.
Las Vegas, USA
Although Las Vegas was built in a desert in Nevada more than a hundred years ago, it was not until the 1930s that it became the gambling capital. At first, it wasn’t easy to convince investors to contribute to its development, but now these investments have paid off hundreds of times over. The city became the entertainment capital of not just the US, but also the entire world. Apart from all the casinos, the city also has family entertainment venues, and a number of excellent restaurants and hotels.
Five decades ago, Cancún was nothing but a series of wind-swept sand dunes. It’s still hard to believe the city is now considered to be among the most fashionable and attractive holiday destinations in the world. It was a big risk for the government of Mexico at the time, though – a lot of money was invested, new hotels were built, and everyone hoped it will eventually become an international tourist centre. Thanks to the city’s pleasant climate, warm sea and some other factors, that’s exactly what happened. Now it’s one of the country’s largest resorts, designed not only for tourists, but also for serious international events and conferences.
Thames Town, China
Thames Town is located around 30 km from central Shanghai. Finished in 2006, this block, which cost £500 million to build, is a copy of a British town. The place is quite bizarre – many tourists feel ambivalent about the town’s British architecture, cobbled streets and English pubs. And yet, it attracts plenty of visitors and locals who like to get photographed here on their wedding day. The bronze statues of James Bond and Winston Churchill only serve to enhance the strange atmosphere of this brand new town.
Thames Town is a part of Shanghai’s One City, Nine Towns project. A few more smaller, towns are now being built around the giant Shanghai.
In the mid-20th century, Benidorm, a small fishing village on the Mediterranean coast, turned into a major tourism centre. Once the fishing business began to stagnate, the Spanish government decided to turn it into a holiday mecca. This became one of the most successful Spanish tourist projects in many decades, resulting in a plethora of new high-rise buildings on the coastline. There were seasons when the beaches became so overcrowded no more people could get in.
Cities built specifically for tourists aren’t only characteristic of our times – Baiae was built 2,000 years ago in the former Roman Empire, near Naples, and it was designed to suit the needs of wealthy Romans on vacation. The city’s history is not that cheerful, though. Around the 16th century AD, Baiae was abandoned due to an outbreak of malaria, and was later submerged in water due to volcanic activity. Now, only a small part of ruins can be seen – much more lies under the sea.
There’s no need to write much about Dubai. Just one fact will suffice – 30 years ago, Dubai was a small town, located in an inhospitable desert. Now, it’s one of the ten most popular cities in the world.