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Desert Islands Exhibition opens at Emirates Palace

A unique exhibition devoted to the Desert Islands - the multi-experience tourism destination taking shape off Abu Dhabi’s western coastline has opened at the Emirates Palace Hotel in the UAE capital city. The Desert Islands will comprise eight islands, including the Sir Bani Yas eco-resort - the former environmental showcase of the late UAE President and Ruler of Abu Dhabi, His Highness Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, and an on-shore gate.

The exhibition focuses on the significant career opportunities the destination is expected to hold out to Emiratis. It features the destination’s master plan, inspirational images and project models.

‘We anticipate the destination creating around 6,500 employment opportunities by the time it is fully operational in 2017 - a forecast which falls totally in line with our economic diversification mandate from the Abu Dhabi Government and the directions of both His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE President and Ruler of Abu Dhabi and Sheikh Mohammed. The career opportunities will cover a range of disciplines including marine conservation, renewable energy research, destination management and eco-preservation,’ explained Sheikh Sultan Bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan, Chairman, Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA) and Tourism Development & Investment Company (TDIC), which manages the ADTA’s tourism assets.

‘We hope young Emiratis will seize the opportunity of investigating the project thoroughly while, at the same time, residents and visitors will get a glimpse of our future standing on the international tourism scene,’ said Mubarak Al Muhairi, Director General, ADTA and Managing Director, TDIC.

TDIC anticipates the destination will attract around 250,000 visitors when the first phase is complete in 2010, rising to over a million a year.


The Desert Islands will provide a multitude of experiences encompassing a nature reserve, a cultural destination and a showcase for world-class environmental, conservation and ecological tourism, including the Arabian National Park.

In addition to the former Royal nature reserve of Sir Bani Yas Island, it will also comprise Dalma Island and the Discovery Islands - six nearby offshore outcrops - all of which will be linked by a ferry and hydrofoil service, water taxis, private ‘resort’ boat service and regional and sea planes.

The destination’s development will be phased at an estimated total investment from both the government and private sector of more than US $3 billion (AED 11.5 billion). When fully operational in 2017, the Desert Islands are expected to annually generate US $ 326 million in tourism revenue.

The Desert Islands exhibition is open to the public from 10am to 10pm daily.

The Emirates Palace swept the World Travel Awards regional ceremony fo the Middle East and Africa recently.

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