Full-size Titanic replica being built in China

A full-size replica of the Belfast-built Titanic is to become the top attraction at a Chinese theme park.

Construction of the 269m long ship, which will be docked permanently on a reservoir in a rural area of Sichuan province, began on Thursday.

The original liner, built by Harland and Wolff in Belfast, hit an iceberg and sank in the north Atlantic in 1912, killing more than 1,500 people.

It was on its maiden voyage from Southampton and bound for New York.

The ship`s story is the subject of immense fascination for many in China.

Interest became particularly intense after the 1997 film starring Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio, which was hugely popular in the country.

The film`s director, James Cameron, had a 90% scale replica vessel built for filming purposes, but no full-size replica has ever been built.

Australian billionaire Clive Palmer announced plans to create a 98% size replica in 2012, but the projected has not yet been completed.

The Chinese replica will feature an interior reflecting some of the grandeur of the original, including a ballroom, theatre, swimming pool and first-class cabins - with the addition of wi-fi - and will be the centrepiece of a theme park hundreds of kilometres (miles) from China`s coast.

The company first announced plans for the 1 billion yuan (£115m) project in 2014, AFP reports.

Domestic tourism is booming in China, promoted by the government as a way of fuelling consumer-driven growth rather than its decades-old model of investment and industry.

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