Abu Dhabi names Dh100bn tourism destination

Mohammed bin Azzan Al Mazrouei. (SUPPLIED)

Al Gharbia will be new name for the vast dry area in Abu Dhabi's Western Region under plans by the Government of Abu Dhabi to create a business and tourism destination. The area – stretching from deep inside the famous Empty Quarter to the capital outskirts and Ghuaifat and Sila'a on Saudi border – includes Sir Bani Yas, Delma and other nearby islands. Some Dh100 billion worth of projects are in the pipeline for the area, with Dh98bn already slated by the government for infrastructure, tourism and economic development projects.

The 60,000 square kilometre area covers 71 per cent of the country's landmass. Abu Dhabi itself makes up 86 per cent of the UAE.

According to the Western Region Development Council (WRDC), which was established to promote the region outside the capital city and its suburbs, a master plan will be unveiled for the development of the Western Region at Cityscape Abu Dhabi 2008 today.

Up until now, the area has been the least explored in terms of commercial activities, tourism and investment, compared to other parts of the emirate.

Mohammed bin Azzan Al Mazrouei, WRDC Director-General, said: "Al Gharbia is a unique part of the UAE, where the desert meets the sea and it is renowned for its authentic heritage, the Bedouin generosity and hospitality. The name Al Gharbia not only aligns itself with the core values of the region, but the brand also gives more credibility for future development, making it attractive for businesses, investment and tourism opportunities."