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Abu Dhabi puts eco-tourism at heart of new stimulus package

The Abu Dhabi tourism sector is assessing what impact a Dh50 billion (£10 billion) stimulus package announced by sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, the crown prince, will have.

Officials have been given just 90 days to create a detailed execution plan for the package.

The money is aimed at transforming the ease of doing business in the emirate, as well as bringing lasting economic benefits to emiratis, residents and investors.

The package highlights the importance of tourism in establishing Abu Dhabi as a global destination, including not just short-term visits, but investment and longer-term residence.

As part of the plan, the crown prince has also ordered more development of eco-tourism, and programmes both on land and water.

This is likely to include establishing camping villages and a variety of areas dedicated to recreation sports.

Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, chairman of the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi, said: “Echoing the leadership’s foresight and vision, the AED50 billion stimulus announcement by sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed is highly significant given its direct impact on the government’s strategy to diversify the economy and further grow non-oil sectors.

“This recent directive reiterates the pivotal role that the tourism sector continues to play, especially in introducing Abu Dhabi to the world as a global destination for not only short-term visits, but also for investment and long-term stays.

“Given its mandate to establish Abu Dhabi’s position as a destination of distinction, the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi acknowledges the responsibility bestowed upon it to fulfil this directive and work towards bolstering the emirate’s cultural and eco-tourism offerings.

“Along with our partners, we have devised effective initiatives and programmes to build an industry that can provide impetus for economic growth and social development.

“As we move forward, we will continue our efforts to attract an increasing number of tourists to the Emirate for extended periods of time.”

Further proposals call for a comprehensive review of building regulations for both private and commercial property construction.

The move is designed to reduce costs for developers and encourage urban development and could have a significant impact on the hospitality sector.

Saif Saeed Ghobash, undersecretary of the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi, added: “We are confident that these recently announced stimulus measures will create a much more competitive environment in Abu Dhabi.

“This will effectively encourage private sector stakeholders and investors to seek out opportunities in booming sectors such as tourism.

“The sector presents promising diversification opportunities, as the need for culturally-enriching, authentic and unique experiences continue to grow exponentially across the globe.

“As highlighted in sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed’s directive, eco-tourism sits at the heart of the future of the tourism industry and it’s an area where Abu Dhabi has displayed and continues to display a pioneering role.

“We look forward to joining forces with our partners in the private and public sectors to leverage the emirate’s unique offerings and grow our eco-tourism sector, with the aim of creating a sustainable and culturally-enriching environment for both residents and visitors.”

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