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Abu Dhabi becomes important tourist destination

"The Emirate of Abu Dhabi is now one of the most important tourist destinations not only in the Gulf region but also around the world", Simon W. Stamper the Area General Manager for InterContinental Abu Dhabi and Al Ain, has said. He told Emirates News Agency (WAM) in an interview that the development in the tourism sector in Abu Dhabi is continuing due to the plans outlined by the Government of Abu Dhabi to develop more hotels, resorts, and luxurious cultural and entertainment cities. Stamper added that InterContinental Abu Dhabi and InterContinental Al Ain work very closely with Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority and Etihad Airlines to promote and attract tourism to the Emirate. "We are working doubling our efforts to market these two destinations to attract more tourists form around the world, targeting both business travellers and family tourism. As every one knows Abu Dhabi is investing US$136bn in developing business and tourism assets and intends to increase visitor numbers 3m by 2015 with more than 25 thousand hotel room". With regard to future plans at InterContinental Al Ain, he said, this is a location that is very much suitable for family tourism as the city of Al Ain offers many facilities like Al Ain Zoo, the beautiful gardens and picnic sites, different historical sites and forts. Al Ain is also attracting business travellers because of the major real estate and industrial developments taking place at the moment. "For all these reasons we will do all what we can to develop the tourism services we provide to our guests and offer attractive deals to attract families and other travellers form the UAE and form around the world. Stamper commented on the occupancy rates for the 1st half of the year by adding that InterContinental Abu Dhabi has 390 rooms and attracts mainly Business travellers and is recording high occupancy levels that have never been recorded before. The hotel is attracting more tourist groups as well as business groups. The hotel is a land mark in the tourism world of Abu Dhabi and is preferred by a number of tour operators and travel agents around the world. About the new facilities at the InterContinental Abu Dhabi, he added that the hotel has now added Chamas the Brazilian Restaurant, which is already an award winner and is about to launch The Yacht Club restaurant which is expected to open in October 2008. This of course is in addition to the Selections all day dining restaurant, Boccaccio the Italian restaurant and the award winning Fish market restaurant. When asked about the major challenges facing the hotel industry in Abu Dhabi, Stamper answered: "We at InterContinental Abu Dhabi see that by providing the best service is what makes us unique". He added, "Competition is always healthy and drives us all offer the best service to our clients and guests". He added that Etihad Airways which has played a crucial role in driving the economic growth in the UAE has a high exposure in major cities around the world. The airline’s expansion has not only led to the creation of thousands of jobs but has been key in supporting and driving tourism, business and investment in the emirate. Stamper indicated that Abu Dhabi’s long-term vision is to develop distinctive projects that work in harmony with the landscape, embrace culture, and respect nature in order to create a diverse world-class destination for tourists, business travellers and residents. Abu Dhabi competes on the international tourism stage with other renowned international resorts but also offers that little bit extra - Arabic mystique and ambience - combined with year-round sunshine and unrivalled facilities. The tradition of Arabic hospitality permeates throughout the emirate from a warm welcome to genuine local flavour in the countless cultural sites and retail outlets. A destination for the experience-hungry traveller, Abu Dhabi has something for everyone - from the dynamism of a 21st century city to pristine beachfront, the tranquillity of the desert, rugged mountain scenery and verdant oases. Stamper added "The agreement between IHG and ALDAR will support this growth by initially developing a Crown Plaza, with 430 rooms and apartments, and Abu Dhabi’s first Staybridge Suites hotel, which will have 165 suites providing superb extended stay facilities. Both hotels will be located in the heart of ALDAR’s YAS Island development, with close proximity to the F1 racetrack, links golf course and the island’s world-class theme parks, including the Ferrari Theme Park, and the Warner Brothers Theme Park. The hotels will commence development shortly and are scheduled to open in 2009.

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