Phase two construction work has begun on the specially-designed ‘Destination Village’ – as big as eight football pitches - taking shape on Abu Dhabi’s Corniche breakwater which will this New Year host the Volvo Ocean Race yachting fleet and its many thousands of fans.
With site clearance complete, the task has begun of laying a staggering 873,000 paving stones over almost half the site, which is adjacent to the Heritage Village and overlooks Abu Dhabi’s impressive city skyline. Stone laying is due for completion at the end of next month.
Work has also started on a month-long dredging programme of the surrounding waterways to allow entry of the 4.5 metre keeled state-of-the-art race yachts, as they arrive in the UAE capital after a gruelling 5,430 nautical mile race leg from Cape Town.
And a three-phase construction programme to build permanent yacht pontoons is also underway, with installation due to begin mid-August when off-site pre-fabrication is complete. The pontoons will be a key component of the site, which will serve as a sailing centre once the Volvo Ocean Race fleet sails out of the UAE capital in mid-January.
To mark the occasion, ADTA’s Nasser Al Reyami, Director of Tourism Standards; Mubarak Al Nuaimi, International Promotions Manager; and Faisal Al Sheikh, Events Manager; laid the first paving stone, which had been specially engraved with today’s date.
“This facility will be a major infrastructure addition to Abu Dhabi’s watersports, and therefore tourism, offering,” said Al Reyami. “It will significantly enhance our credentials as a world-class winter watersports destination.”
Full infrastructure work is due for completion this September. Temporary structure build will run until December when the final phase of installing more than 130 Volvo Ocean Race team gear, hospitality and equipment containers will take place.
Plans for the ‘Destination Village,’ are well progressed with a huge visitor activation programme planned around the fortnight.
The ‘Destination Village’ will open free-of-charge to the public daily from December 30 this year to January 14, next year. ADTA – which also has a team in the race, Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing - anticipates welcoming more than 100,000 visitors through its gates.
The highly interactive village, which will leverage the maritime theme, will be packed with activities and entertainment including exhibitions, shows, simulators, hospitality, game zones, food & beverage outlets and merchandise shops. ADTA is working with international tour operators, hotels, airlines and other stakeholders to develop compelling New Year-Volvo Ocean Race packages to the emirate.
The Volvo Ocean Race 2011/12 begins in Alicante, Spain, in October 2011 and ends in Galway, Ireland in summer next year. It is a race in which professional athletes, on-board the Volvo Open 70 racing yacht, sail around the world with the prevailing winds.
ADTA is working closely with a number of governmental and commercial bodies to successfully stage the Middle East’s first hosting of the Volvo Ocean Race, including Abu Dhabi Sailing & Yacht Club, the Official Host Yacht Club and key partner in the roll-out of the stopover and the junior sailing initiatives; and the Abu Dhabi International Marine Sports Club, the Technical Headquarters, which will be home to the team areas, media centre, photographer centre and the international television broadcast compound.
The St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort – the iconic luxurious brand’s first Middle East property on Saadiyat Island in Abu Dhabi opening on November 1st, 2011 – is the Volvo Ocean Race Official Hotel in the emirate.