Visit Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi is a city morphing into a global destination competing with some of the elite centres of culture and tourism to become a modern city state, inviting the world to sit up and take notice. Yes, Abu Dhabi, the capital of the UAE, is slowly shrugging off its capital city shackles and becoming a real destination that prides itself on being truly Arabian for a modern era. One need only to look back fifty years to see the transformation from coastal village to skyscraper metropolis – and now a new era is emerging, one that will draw a new crowd, and new fans to its futuristic view of the world tomorrow. Abu Dhabi is on round three of a city rejuvenation that has catapulted it onto the world tourist stage. Having previously been a consortium of Bedouin sand huts, Abu Dhabi emerged from the desert as a Middle East skyscraper haven for Oil execs. Now, Abu Dhabi is on a transformation that has started to cement itself onto the global stage.
Think back twenty years ago and many had never heard of Abu Dhabi. Even ten years ago, Abu Dhabi was piggybacking on Dubai’s fame. But while the world marvelled in the rise of Dubai, the oil money was doing all the talking in the background. With roughly 9% of the world’s oil reserves Abu Dhabi has amassed one of the largest sovereign wealth funds in the world. And, it has done this almost in stealth mode, investing in some of the most lucrative companies around the globe – without the need to scream and shout.
And now, the plans are coming to fruition.
The ideology for modern day Abu Dhabi had been a long time coming and when they arrived they certainly put Abu Dhabi on the map. Buying Manchester City Football Club and launching the Formula 1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix were great marketing for a city starting to redefine itself for a new era. But with Dubai so close by, there was great need to place a flag in the Abu Dhabi sand. “Abu Dhabi has arrived – and we are different.”
And while Dubai has created its own modern city in the sand, Abu Dhabi hasn’t sat on its laurels. There have been plans to redefine green energy with ground breaking initatives such as Masdar, the world’s first carbon neutral city. Whole islands have been transformed from desert nothingness to infrastructural marvels. Yas Island proudly boasts possibly the best ever Formula 1 track ever created along with amazing marinas and golf courses to compare with a playboy’s paradise. And with another fell swoop Saadiyat Island is being transformed to a cultural island like no other – there will be local versions of the Guggenheim as well as the world’s first Louvre outside Paris – along with wetland reserves and uber exclusive beach resorts. And that is just a snapshot.
The grand master plan of transformation has only just begun. However, ask a layman about Abu Dhabi and you will receive a peppering of responses from the mundane to the ignorant. Here are a selection:
- The place where Garfield sent Nermal
- “That place close to Dubai”
- The owner of Manchester City Football Club
- Where the Emirates Palace, the most expensive hotel in the world is
- Where the final F1 Grand Prix of the season is held
- The instigators of the world submission wrestling championships
- Those who bailed out Dubai
- Oil Money
- Desert, sand, and Bedouin
- Where Sex and the City 2 was based but not filmed.
Aside from any xenophobic reaction, the perception of Abu Dhabi essentially revolves around the unknown and the glamour. And while Abu Dhabi has about a hundred years until the oil runs out, expect big things over the coming ten. Many people are unsure just what Abu Dhabi will offer. Well, the offer is this – a city rich in Arabic heritage, in Bedouin hospitality and modern day marvels. Abu Dhabi is a city that welcomes visitors and its people, both the UAE Nationals and the transitioning expatriates to watch the steady growth of a brand new world.
This is just the beginning of a new era of Abu Dhabi, and it’s already taking shape with world beating events, amazing hotels, beaches and a futuristic vision. Yes, it’s really happening – and no doubt you are reading this because you are helping to paint that new metropolis, or you want to get a piece of the action before everyone else finds out. Well, the genie is out of the Abu Dhabi bottle – enjoy your stay!
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