By Keith J Fernandez www.emirates247.com
Dubai’s love of gold has reached new heights as what is likely to be the highest vending machine in the world became operational on Wednesday.
Visitors to the Burj Khalifa can now take home a souvenir of their visit in the shape of a gold bar emblazoned with the logo of the tallest building on the planet.
The first Gold To Go machines in the emirate were installed at tower’s observation deck and in the souvenir shop at the adjoining Dubai Mall on Wednesday. Each dispenses four different types of gold bars, in sizes ranging from 2.5 grams to one ounce (28.3g).
And like the very best souvenirs, these can only appreciate in value – particularly given gold’s status as a ‘safe haven’ investment. With investors increasingly seeking out safe havens in the wake of the recession, the popularity of the precious metal has propelled it to stratospheric prices in recent months. In 2010, gold prices rose 26 per cent in the face of concerns about the US dollar and other currencies.
Thomas Geissler, CEO of Ex Oriente Lux and inventor of the world first gold vending machine, indicated that the coins would provide a lasting reminder of a visit to the tower. “A visit of such an excellent establishment quite simply deserves a very special souvenir. What could be more exclusive than a gift of pure gold? And unlike the most souvenirs, your Burj Khalifa gold bar will never lose its value and give pleasure for the next few hundred years,” he said.
After the company installed the first gold vending machine at the Emirates Palace Hotel in Abu Dhabi last May, they have become relatively widely available, popping up in Spain, Italy, Germany and Japan.
Some 300 more of the machines are expected to be installed across the region over the next few years, with other UAE locations likely to be tourist hot spots such as Ski Dubai and Atlantis The Palm.