Multiple emirates in the UAE are looking to the metaverse to boost tourism in their respective regions. Sharjah now joins Dubai in broadening its Web3 ambitions.
Artificial intelligence ecosystem Multiverse Labs has launched a new metaverse city in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), a move the emirate said could enhance the region’s tourism industry.
The new metaverse city, dubbed Sharjahverse, was described by Multiverse Labs as a “photorealistic, physics-accurate” metaverse that encompasses the emirate’s 1,000 square-mile surface area. The virtual city will support the local tourism industry and potentially create new metaverse jobs, which aligns with efforts announced by the neighboring emirate Dubai earlier this year.
The metaverse city is backed by the Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority, or SCTDA, which is the main government agency tasked with promoting the emirate’s tourism industry. Khalid Jasim Al Midfa, SCTDA’s chairman, said the new initiative is intended to transform “the mass market tourism industry towards next-generation, sustainable practices.” As such, Sharjahverse is said to provide “unprecedented access to almost any location” in the emirate.
Although not as well known as Dubai, Sharjah is the second most populous emirate in the UAE with roughly 1.8 million people. Through Sharjahverse, the entire emirate will be viewable to the public.
In addition to growing crypto and blockchain adoption at the emirate level, there are signs that UAE’s federal government is readying positive regulatory catalysts for the country. As reported by Cointelegraph in February, the UAE’s Securities and Commodities Authority is developing crypto licensing legislation that would enable digital asset firms to establish operations in the country.
Along with the UAE, several other jurisdictions worldwide have identified the metaverse as a potential economic catalyst. In August, Beijing’s municipal government announced a two-year metaverse innovation plan that would align the Web3 development efforts of all local districts. The South Korean government has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in various metaverse projects, while Japan’s prime minister has confirmed that metaverse technology will be part of the country’s digital transformation process.