Abu Dhabi has started work to construct a beach for women to replace the old ladies beach that had been a landmark facility for 20 years before it was demolished within re-development plans at Ras Al Akhdar area near the massive Emirates Palace Hotel.
The new ladies beach in the capital’s western flank of Al Bateen will be around 250 metres long and will be confined to women and female guards and rescuers.
The Abu Dhabi Municipality is undertaking the project which will have a playfield, a restaurant, bathrooms and other facilities.
“It will be restricted to women and will be manned only by women,” said Nahla Al Muhairi, acting director of the beaches division at the Municipality.
“We decided to carry out this project following an opinion poll which showed more than 95 of the women surveyed said they preferred to have a private beach confined for ladies,” she told the semi official Arabic language daily Alittihad.
She said the beach will stretch around 30 metres into the water and that it will be inaugurated in mid 2013, adding that it will complement the nearby massive Corniche beach which was launched three years ago.
The first ladies beach, which was the most popular outdoor destination for women, was located on Ras Al Akhdar, an Arabic for “Green Head”.
The ladies beach and the adjoining open beach on Ras Al khaimah have both been shut and sealed off to give way for one of the largest government palaces and facilities in the UAE.
The facilities are located just opposite the Dh1.5-billion sprawling Emirates Palace.
It will be a massive complex that consists of a huge marble guest palace and other buildings spread over an area of more than one million square metres.
Once like a beehive during the scorching summer days, Ras Al Akhdar now looks a gloomy and deserted area except for the sound of the waves washing its sandy edge and felled palm trees and debris spawned by construction work.
Dubbed the Malibu of Abu Dhabi, Ras Al Akhdar and the Ladies Beach had lured thousands of Abu Dhabi residents seeking free swimming and basking under the sizzling sun before the new massive beach was constructed along the Corniche.
The new beach on the Corniche was the latest in an ongoing massive development programme at Abu Dhabi’s western seaside area, where at least Dhtwo billion had been spent over the past eight years to develop and reshape the road and the entire area.
According to Muhairi, around 837,000 people visited the Corniche beach in 2012, 25 per cent more than in 2011. About 245,000 people also visited Al Bateen beach, bringing the total beach goers in the capital to nearly 1.1 million.
Abu Dhabi has been locked in a drive to expand its tourism sector as part of a long-term programme to diversify its oil-reliant economy.
Although it still constitutes a fraction of the gross domestic product and the 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 new hotels to accommodate a surge in visitors and there are plans to add nearly 17,000 hotel rooms to the existing 10,000 rooms.
Officials expect a t least three million visitors to come to Abu Dhabi in 2015 and five million in 2025.
Follow Emirates 24|7 on Google News.