Catalonia’s answer to EuroVegas: six new parks with global themes

"Barcelona World” will be built next to Port Aventura at a cost of 4.5bn euros

The area where the new Barcelona World complex will be built.
The area where the new Barcelona World complex will be built.EFE

Catalonia has an answer for the people at the Las Vegas Sands Corporation — if they don’t want to build EuroVegas in Barcelona, then the Catalans will build six new amusement parks of their own.

The surprise announcement on Friday for the new theme parks to be constructed next to the current Port Aventura resort comes after unofficial reports surfaced this week that Las Vegas Sands CEO Sheldon Adelson has finally decided to take his EuroVegas project to Madrid instead of Barcelona.

Spanish billionaire Enrique Banuelos and his Veremonte firm said they will construct the so-called “Barcelona World” on 1.5 million square meters of land belonging to La Caixa in Tarragona province. The 4.5-billion-euro investment is expected to create 20,000 direct jobs.

The parks will be used to recreate six areas of the world: Europe, the United States, Russia, China, Brazil and India. Six hotels, with 2,000 rooms each, will also be built at each park.

The project will be self-financed by investors from the six global areas who want to set up businesses in their respective theme parks, explained Lluís Rollán, of Mediterranean Beach and Golf, a Veremonte affiliate.

The Las Vegas Sands company said this week that no final decision has been made on where to build its massive EuroVegas casino and hotel site. But news that Madrid had already been selected was first announced earlier this week by Madrid Socialist Party (PSM) leader Tomás Gómez, who said that regional premier Esperanza Aguirre of the Popular Party (PP) had secured the bid. Gómez, who has opposed the project, said that EuroVegas will be built in the Madrid suburb of Alcorcón.

For her part, Aguirre neither denied nor confirmed the report but said that her “intuition never fails her,” and that she feels “positive” that Madrid will be selected.

Catalonia’s regional premier Artur Mas on Thursday said that his government’s offer to Aldelson had expired on August 31, and that his administration was now free to do whatever it wanted with the pre-agreement proposal, including modifying the terms or looking for “other alternatives,” which he did not specify. The following day Barcelona World was announced.

Euphoria reigned at the Palau auditorium, where the presentation was held. Representatives from the Catalan government and la Caixa also took part.

“We are not worried about EuroVegas. In fact others should be worried about what we are planning,” said Catalan land commissioner Lluís Recoder, who suggested that Barcelona World will be completed before the EuroVegas project gets off the ground in Madrid.

“Competition is competition and we want to be the first,” said economic commissioner Andreu Mas-Colell.

Adelson has told Catalan officials that the initial investment for EuroVegas would be around 17 billion euros but he also tossed around a 27-billion-euro figure in Madrid. The offer was to build the mega casino-hotel complex on 800 square meters of land near Baix Llogregat, with 250,000 direct and indirect jobs up until 2025.

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