Quality, innovation, diversity and harmony will be the hallmarks of Abu Dhabi’s eclectic tourism development plan over the next ten years, according to Sheikh Sultan Bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA).Reflecting on the ADTA’s “uncompromising commitment” to creating a truly world class upmarket tourism product, Sheikh Sultan highlighted the outstanding opportunities for private sector investment participation in Abu Dhabi’s tourism projects.
“Our mission is to act as the catalyst in mobilising private sector investment, entering into partnerships and putting together investors’ packages,” Sheikh Sultan said.
The ADTA are looking to raise the number of hotel rooms from 10,000 to 25,000 by 2015. “To achieve this, we are already working closely with the leading regional and international developers and hotel management groups and we expect the momentum of this cooperation to build in future,” said Sheikh Sultan.
According to Sheikh Sultan, there is a major internationalisation process taking place in the region, with investment contributions from within Abu Dhabi and other parts of the UAE and GCC.
Although the initial focus will be firmly on the 4 and 5-star end of the market, catering to a wider demand in future will not be ruled out. “Our development plans will ensure Abu Dhabi offers a diversified range of accommodation solutions, from luxury beachfront hotels, to eco-resorts, boutique properties and desert retreats,” Sheikh Sultan said.
“The diversity of Abu Dhabi’s accommodation options will also be reflected in our visitor attractions and experiences, whether it be culture or sport, business or leisure, action or relaxation,” He added.
Forthcoming projects include the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC), the Emirates Palace convention centre and specially designated zones master-planned by the ADTA’s Tourism Development and Investment Company (TDIC), notably the Saadiyat Island mega-project.
Sporting infrastructure will also be developed in preparation for the hosting of major international events, from building new golf courses to staging the Abu Dhabi Formula One Grand Prix from 2009.
“One of our goals is to promote international goodwill and understanding through the medium of culture, bringing together the best that the world has to offer. In this regard, already announced projects like the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi and Louvre Abu Dhabi, will position the city as the undisputed cultural capital of the region,” said Sheikh Sultan.
On future outlook, Sheikh Sultan revealed: “We are highly optimistic about the future. International interest in Abu Dhabi is strong and our main challenge is to meet the rapidly rising demand,” he added: “However, we will not sacrifice quality for speed. Environmental, cultural and aesthetic considerations lie at the heart of our approach to tourism development.”
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