Work is under way round the clock to build what will be one of the Middle East’s largest tourist beaches, which officials expect to give a strong boost to Abu Dhabi’s tourism sector.
Abu Dhabi Municipality launched the Dh105 million project along the Corniche two months ago. It is expected to be completed by the end of April. Bulldozers and trucks, supported by hundreds of workers, have finished burying more than three kilometres of the Gulf and work is under way to build the infrastructure.
Gulf Contractors Company is carrying out the project, which involves the beach plus restaurants, cafés, a hotel, parks and chalets. “We began work two months ago and we expect to finish it by April-end,” the company’s director-general Hatim Shaheen told Emirates Business.
“It will be one of the largest beaches in the Middle East and the authorities have high hopes on its role to attract tourists.” The beach project is the latest in an ongoing development programme at Abu Dhabi’s Corniche, where at least Dh2 billion has been spent over the past eight years to reshape the area. The new beach runs adjacent to Abu Dhabi’s western seaside and is a kilometre away from the sea front, where another massive development project has been completed.
It involved road expansions, parks, luxury villas, plantation of palm trees, and construction of one of the largest shopping malls in the UAE. The beach also extends another beach run by the Hilton Hotel.
Abu Dhabi is aiming to expand its tourism sector as part of a long-term programme to diversify its oil-reliant economy. Although it constitutes only a fraction of the gross domestic product and national income, the tourism sector has recorded high growth rates over the past decade, averaging around 10 per cent annually.
The drive also includes construction of hotels to accommodate a surge in visitors and there are plans to add nearly 17,000 hotel rooms to the existing 10,000. Officials expect at least three million visitors to come to Abu Dhabi in 2015 and five million in 2025.