DUBAI, United Arab Emirates - While the rest of the world was tightening its belt, Dubai threw a $ 20-million party Thursday complete with Hollywood celebrities like Robert DeNiro and a fireworks show that organizers said was visible from outer space.
The party, which was headlined by Australian pop star Kylie Minogue in her Middle East debut, was to celebrate a new $ 1.5-billion marine-themed resort built off the Gulf coast on an artificial island in the shape of a palm tree.
Minogue reportedly earned $ 4 million for her performance in front of stars like Charlize Theron and Lindsay Lohan.
Does this all seem a bit much at a time when much of the world is reeling from the global financial crisis?
Not really, according to Sol Kerzner, the chairman of Kerzner International, which owns the Atlantis hotel.
"When you consider $ 20 million, it's a lot of money (until) you consider it up against establishing a $ 1.5- billion resort," Kerzner told The Associated Press on Thursday.
Kerzner International split the $ 20-million bill with state-owned Nakheel, which built Palm island where Atlantis is located.
Kerzner acknowledged that the party was planned long before the global economy slipped into a tailspin.
"If I had it all over again and I understood that the timing was what it was, one might modify a couple of the things ... but not significantly," said Kerzner, who announced sweeping layoffs last week at the original Atlantis in the Bahamas. …