Abu Dhabi has the proven capabilities to stage a world-class stopover when the Volvo Ocean Race arrives at its shores on January 1st 2012, according to the CEO of the ultimate round-the-world yachting event.
Speaking on the sidelines of the headline-grabbing 2010 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Knut Frostad said he had witnessed first-hand the emirate’s pedigree in hosting top-tier sporting events and believes it will live up to the challenge of being the first Middle Eastern host port in the Volvo Ocean Race’s 37-year history.
“The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix is really well organised and I think it is the best Formula 1™ event so far. I have high expectations for Abu Dhabi and I know it also has big ambitions, and by leveraging its long sea faring history, it will create a memorable stop-over,” said Frostad, a four-time veteran of the 39,000 nautical mile, extreme sporting challenge – widely regarded as the ‘Everest of Sailing’.
“The Volvo Ocean Race will be a completely different event to the Grand Prix as it arrives by sea and spans not just four days but two weeks. This means there is a much larger scope to interact with visitors.
“It is important that a stopover has local favour so you get the essence of the destination. It is also critical to get the local population fully behind it, as you want to create a long-lasting legacy.
“I believe that Abu Dhabi will embrace this challenge. We have a unique relationship with the emirate and Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority, which will help deliver a first-of-its-kind experience, both on and off the water. I know the locals will like the race and will get hooked, following their team’s progress around the world.”
With a global cumulative audience of 600 million, the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix was also leveraged to showcase the Volvo Open 70 training yacht being used by Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing – the elite sailing squad which will represent Abu Dhabi in the Volvo Ocean Race 2011/2012. Berthed in the stunning Yas Marina, adjacent to the magnificent Yas Marina Circuit, the newly-livered vessel received a number of high-profile guests.
English top-10 golfer, Paul Casey, a two-time winner of the emirate’s annual European Tour-backed golf championship, took time out of his hectic schedule to tour the yacht with Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing skipper, Ian Walker.
“They had me working on the yacht, we winched some of the guys up the mast. It was amazing to see the yacht in action, and to see the technology invested into it. It is like a race car, totally carbon fibre and built for speed. It is really hard to imagine being on-board for the amount of time the team spends there,” said the current world number seven, who is looking to clinch a hat-trick of wins at January’s Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship.
“What has happened in Abu Dhabi over the last few years; no one else could have pulled off. From the golf championship’s first event in 2006, it has grown to become one of the strongest tournaments anywhere. I believe that type of commitment will be a major factor when the Volvo Ocean Race comes to town,” added Casey.
The 2011/2012 Volvo Ocean Race will start in Alicante, Spain next October and end in Galway, Ireland, in summer 2012. Abu Dhabi will welcome teams from January 1-14th 2012 after they complete a gruelling leg from Cape Town. The Volvo Open 70 racing yacht is sailed by professional athletes, who race around the world with the prevailing winds.
Also in the Middle East this week, World Mobi has enhanced its new city guide to Abu Dhabi.
World Mobi offers the most comprehensive mobile travel guides available, with over 800 cities in 200 countries listed. Each is developed by the World Mobi team to combine into a single global travel directory.
However, each city retains its own mobile identity via a dedicated domain. Already on offer are Brussels.Mobi, London.Mobi, Sanfrancisco.Mobi and Sydney.Mobi.
Abu Dhabi.Mobi is the latest in this illustrious line up, offering click to call functionality – which means no scribbling down telephone numbers.
Most entries are also linked to websites where users can quickly access more detailed information if needed.
Other key features include information on accommodation, restaurants, attractions, entertainment, nightlife, shopping, and transport.
City.Mobi guides include user reviews and traveller utilities such as a translation guide, currency converter, news and local weather guide.