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Abu Dhabi unveils $27 billion island tourism project

Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA) on Monday unveiled a new public joint-stock company charged with developing a $27 billion project on Saadiyat Island, which will transform the 27-square-kilometer natural island just 500 meters offshore the United Arab Emirate's capital city into a strategic international tourism destination.

The Tourism Development & Investment Company (TDIC), which will oversee Saadiyat's mixed-use development, will operate along strictly commercial lines, selling land to private investors who will then develop their plots in accordance with the master plan.

"Saadiyat Island will be the first of many projects falling under TDIC's remit," said Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi.

"This is an important chapter in Abu Dhabi's history. The creation of TDIC ushers in a new era of economic transition for the emirate, while the development of Saadiyat, a unique natural resource, represents one of the most vibrant episodes in the capital's evolution.

"Saadiyat's development will heighten awareness of Abu Dhabi's plans for economic diversification and will reinforce the perception of the capital city as a regional, and international, business and tourism hub," Nahyan said.

"Saadiyat is a symbol of Abu Dhabi's renewed economic openness and a signal to the world that this emirate is very much open for partnerships and business on an international scale."

Half the size of the tropical island of Bermuda, Saadiyat will be the Middle East's largest single natural island development.

"Saadiyat's transformation is a key proposition in the Abu Dhabi government's strategy of increasing tourism to the emirate from its current level of almost one million to three million by 2015 - a projected growth rate of 11.3 percent a year," said Sheikh Sultan Bin Tahnoon AI Nahyan, Chairman of both ADTA and TDIC.

Saadiyat is expected to be home to 150,000 residents.

Development parcels are being offered to U.A.E. and GCC investors on a freehold basis.

"There will be a variety of freehold homes ... from elegant city-view apartments, spacious Gulf-view villas and secluded retreats overlooking nature reserves," said Sheikh Sultan.

Amman,04 24 2006
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The Daily Star
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