ABU DHABI: Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority, TCA Abu Dhabi, today hosted a VIP preview tour of its purpose-built Volvo Ocean Race Destination Village on the Corniche Breakwater, which will open to the public tomorrow, Friday, December 12th.
The 35,000 square metre, waterfront village will be the hub of three weeks of sports, entertainment and leisure as part of the UAE capital’s stopover hosting of the hardy Volvo Ocean Race fleet, which is expected to arrive from the 6,125 nautical mile Leg 2 from Cape Town on Saturday, December 13th. The village is 30% bigger than in 2011/2012, when Abu Dhabi last hosted the Volvo Ocean Race.
Ahead of the tour, H.H. Sheikh Sultan Bin Tahnoon, Chairman of TCA Abu Dhabi, said he expected the UAE capital to be the “stand-out” stopover of the race, which will visit nine stopover destinations on its epic, round-the-world challenge which began in Alicante, Spain and ends in Gothenburg, Sweden, next June.
“This is a destination in its own right for our residents and the many visitors we expect in Abu Dhabi over the coming weeks and New Year,” said Sheikh Sultan. “It is active, engaging, entertaining and provides something for all nationalities and age groups.
Sailing fans from around the world, race sponsors and families of the seven teams contesting the gruelling, 38,739 nautical mile challenge are expected to descend on Abu Dhabi over the coming weeks delivering a year-end boost to the UAE capital’s tourism industry.
“Such initiatives are extremely important and give this great destination tremendous worldwide exposure. We truly believe Abu Dhabi is the ideal destination to host such events and are ready to welcome thousands of race guests to our properties,” said Rotana President and CEO, Omer Kaddouri.
The free-to-enter Destination Village has six distinctive and interactive zones covering culture and heritage, adventure, family, exhibitions, team and haul out and the environment.
“We’ve increased the village opening hours by 25% after visitor feedback from our 2011/2012 hosting,” explained Sultan Al Dhaheri. “In all, the village will be open to the public for 225 hours, which is equivalent to almost nine and a half days and it will bring a heightened dimension to festive and New Year seasonal celebrations here.” Abu Dhabi’s VOR Destination Village features 22 exhibition pavilions for visitors to tour, including five international pavilions from China, Sweden, Spain, the Netherlands and Great Britain.
“In addition, contributions from over 80 traditional artisans, musicians and chefs feature in the Destination Village programme thanks to partnerships with cultural stakeholders, such as the Khalifa Fund, Abu Dhabi Falconers Club and Soqur Al Mqbeel,” explained Al Dhaheri.
“The community has responded enthusiastically to the village with over 7,500 man hours being contributed by 220 volunteers working during the 23 day stopover.” The village opens daily from 12 noon to 9:00 p.m. Sunday – Thursday and 11:00 a.m. to midnight Fridays and Saturdays until January 3rd, when the fleet leaves on the third leg of the race to Sanya in China.
TCA Abu Dhabi, which is behind the emirate’s VOR campaign, is using the event to highlight Abu Dhabi’s swelling sailing and watersport credentials.