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April 17, 2008

ADTA future plans

Destination development

A dramatic transformation is underway in Abu Dhabi. New economic policies and priorities have launched a series of massive investment projects that will propel the emirate into one of the world's top centres for tourism, culture and business over the next decade

The Abu Dhabi government has prioritised tourism in its drive to diversify the emirate's economy and has set a target of three million annual visitors in 2015. This will call for the number of hotel rooms to be increased by about 16,000 to some 25,000 rooms by 2015. As a result, hotel construction - as well other tourism-related development - is taking centre stage in many of the major projects planned or already in the pipeline.

Masterminding much of the expansion is the Tourism Development & Investment Company (TDIC). Environmental considerations and sustainability are key to the planning process and TDIC's portfolio of projects is planned to ensure the harmonious integration of hotels, residential and commercial development, leisure facilities and infrastructure.

Saadiyat Island
Saadiyat Island, lies 500 metres offshore from Abu Dhabi city. At 27 square kilometres, or half the size of Bermuda, Saadiyat Island is the Middle East's largest single natural island development. Master planned in seven themed districts, the island will be developed in three phases up to 2018.

Saadiyat will be home to world's largest single cluster of cultural assets, including the Sheikh Zayed National Museum, the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi contemporary arts museum, the Louvre Abu Dhabi universal museum, a maritime museum, performing arts centre and arts pavilions.

The island will also include two golf courses, 29 hotels, three marinas and more than 8,000 private villas.

Hotel developments
The Lagoon Club on the Corniche Road will be home to the five-star, 350-room Conrad Abu Dhabi Hotel, 475 serviced apartments, and a 2,500 square metre beach club. Furthermore, the 255-metre, 66-storey Stellar Tower on Al Ittihad Square in the city centre will house a 300-bed hotel, as well as shops and offices.

The Rezidor Hotel Group will bring its Regent Hotels & Resorts brand to the UAE capital through the Regent Emirates Pearl, Abu Dhabi. The 47-storey property will have 365 rooms and 70 furnished apartments and is due to open in 2010.

Jumeirah Etihad Towers, a new US$800 million beachfront development, will feature a 60-storey luxury hotel tower with 400 rooms and suites, as well as 200 serviced apartments. The development will include extensive conference and banquet facilities, a spa, sports and recreation facilities and a private beach.

The Khalidiya Palace is being redeveloped as the Khalidiya Palace Rotana Hotel and Resort. Located opposite the Emirates Palace, it will offer 400 rooms and is scheduled to open this year.

Located on the Breakwater overlooking the Corniche, The Fairmont Abu Dhabi Resort & Villas will be a 265-room, five-star resort hotel, opening in 2009.

The Desert Islands
A unique destination from TDIC's portfolio, The Desert Islands will encompass eight islands off Abu Dhabi's western coastline, as well as an onshore gate. At the core of the destination is Sir Bani Yas Island, set to become home to the Arabian National Park - the world's largest island nature reserve.

The Desert Islands will comprise Dalma Island and the Discovery Islands, six nearby offshore outcrops. A total of 4,000 hotel rooms will be created. The first hotel, the 64-room, five-star Desert Islands Resort & Spa is to be managed by Thailand's Anantara and is due to open in the second quarter of 2008.

Two islands will provide a 'wild camp' experience delivering the authenticity of untouched, isolated and deserted islands, offering unique incentives option for groups.

Desert developments
TDIC is to build a new Arabian retreat in the Liwa desert - the Qasr Al Sarab. The retreat will comprise a five-star hotel with 150 rooms and 50 one-bedroom and 10 two-bedroom villas, a health spa, conference centre, adjoining desert excursion centre, tented villages, playground and observatory. Completion is set for 2009.

TDIC has also planned a number of hotels and rest houses in the small towns and villages of the emirate. These will be in Liwa, Al Kazna, Al Maiyr, Ramah, Zayed City, Sweihan, Al Gayathi, Al Wagan and Ain Al Faydah.

Central Market
Central Market is a prestigious mixed-use development in the heart of downtown Abu Dhabi, being developed by Aldar. As the former souk area, the site has been the centre of trade and a focal point for both citizens and tourists for over 40 years.

A world-class centre for retail, shoppers will be able to browse chic boutiques, international brands and convenience outlets. A traditional Arabian souk area will sell artefacts typifying the region's rich cultural heritage. The complex will encompass parks, cinemas, a gym and swimming pool, as well as a food court, restaurants and nightlife venues.

Crowning the development will be three ultra-modern towers. The 88-storey residential tower will be 382 metres high and will be the tallest tower on Abu Dhabi's skyline. It will house 489 luxury apartments. The five-star hotel tower will be 55-storeys high, with 279 rooms and 132 serviced apartments. The office tower will offer 58 storeys of office space while the smallest tower, of 16 storeys, will be a four-star hotel with 212 rooms.

Al Raha Beach
Al Raha Beach stretches over 11 kilometres set off the main highway leading from Abu Dhabi to Dubai. Within this master-planned mixed-use development will be eight hotels, five beaches, four marinas and numerous leisure facilities.

Accessibility has been a very important factor in the Al Raha scheme. Its infrastructure has been designed to allow the free flow of vehicle and foot traffic throughout the city, and a light rail system along with 'jet cats' and water taxis are planned for the project. A water taxi service is intended to serve all parts of Abu Dhabi Island as well as outlying islands and the international airport.

Yas Island
Yas Island is just across the waterway from Al Raha Beach, on the northeast side of Abu Dhabi's main island. The island has three main areas. In the centre will be the unique Ferrari theme park, and the Yas Island Water Park. Stretching away from the Ferrari park is the Yas Island Circuit, set to host the Formula One Abu Dhabi Grand Prix from 2009. Yas Island will also be home to a Warner Bros theme park and hotel.

Several hotels are planned to cater to demand, including a 500- room Movenpick, scheduled to open in 2010. There will be an Aldar signature hotel located above one of the racetrack grandstands and The Oberoi - Al Yas, scheduled to open in 2013 and comprising 120 villas. Aldar has also signed an agreement with Accor for the Novotel Yas Island and Ibis Yas Island.

Al Ain
On the northern fringe of Al Ain's central business district, the Al Mudheef development will comprise a mid-tier hotel, as well as retail, residential and office components.

Aldar Properties has started construction of its Noor Al Ain project. This will treble the size of the existing Al Jimi Mall and incorporate a 300-room business hotel, offices and leisure facilities.

Sultan Bin Rashed Group's $190 million development in the Hili district to the north of the city centre will incorporate Hili Rotana Suites as well as the Wahat Hili Mall.

At the Ain Al Faydah public park some 15 kilometres from Al Ain city centre, TDIC is planning a hotel with 22 rooms and 55 chalets, as well as restaurants and leisure facilities.

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