Abu Dhabi has significantly expanded its eco-tourism offerings with the announcement that new marine protected sites across the emirate have now been made accessible to the public.
The newly unveiled areas will give residents and visitors a host of new options for exploring the emirate’s coastline and waterways, with the initiative also supporting the emirate’s maritime industry.
The announcement was made at the Monaco Yacht Show by the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi), in partnership with the Environmental Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD), Abu Dhabi Maritime and Abu Dhabi Ship Building.
The annual luxury trade show specialising in the maritime industry was attended by hundreds of yachting enthusiasts and professionals, including captains and crews, as well as yacht management companies, yacht agents and owners.
A new marine reserves map of the capital and its waters, which outlines the new areas open to the public, is the latest addition to the emirate’s growing portfolio of tourism offerings. Known for its pristine beaches and islands, the UAE capital used the Monaco event to demonstrate its capabilities as a superyacht destination by showcasing its offerings and plans for the marine industry.
“Abu Dhabi’s marine sites are a significant part of our tourism sector,” said Ali Hassan Al Shaiba, Executive Director of Tourism and Marketing at DCT Abu Dhabi. “Our strategy involves expanding our tourism offerings in a sustainable manner that caters to the growing demand for more activities across the destination. The newly announced marine protected sites will not only support the growth and success of yacht management companies in Abu Dhabi but will also provide their customers with a new and breath-taking way to explore the capital.”
Currently, the EAD manages six marine reserves, including the Marawah Biosphere, the region’s largest and first UNESCO-designated marine reserve.
“Despite harsh conditions, we host abundant marine life, which has the highest tolerance threshold in the world,” said Ahmed Al Hashmi, Acting Executive Director – Terrestrial and Marine Biodiversity Sector at the EAD. “We host the largest Indian Ocean humpback dolphin population and the densest dugong population, and the second-largest population for dugongs in the world. That is why we are pleased to partner with DCT Abu Dhabi on the selection of marine protected areas that will help boost eco-tourism in Abu Dhabi.”
One of DCT Abu Dhabi’s main remits is to support the development of tourism industry partners. The new marine offerings connect marine and yacht management companies with the emirate’s wider tourism strategy to ensure the continued growth of their businesses.
Abu Dhabi has additional projects in the pipeline for the marine sector and will soon be launching Yas Bay on Yas Island, the emirate’s premier entertainment district. The new bay will feature new yacht berths, surrounded by several world-class hotels and entertainment activities, including the Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.