Abu Dhabi will host the third 2014-15 Volvo Ocean Race stopover from mid-December 2014 until January 3 2015, it was announced on Wednesday.
Abu Dhabi will welcome the fleet from Recife, Brazil after one of the longest legs in the 40-year race history (9,707 nautical miles).
The Abu Dhabi In-Port Race, which was won by home favourites Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing in the last edition, will take place on January 2 2015, with the fleet departing for Sanya, China the following day.
"This hosting schedule will allow us, together with our stakeholders, to maximise the New Year 2015 holiday to attract a record number of race visitors to the destination," said Faisal Al Sheikh, director, Events Bureau, Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi).
TCA Abu Dhabi, which brought the event to the UAE capital for the first time in 2012, is pushing forward with plans for a fan-friendly Destination Village on the Corniche breakwater with multiple concert and entertainment offerings.
According to a TCA Abu Dhabi study, the stopover generated a total economic impact of $47m in gross output, attracted 124,000 visitors to its purpose-built Destination Village on the Corniche breakwater and resulted in 32,000 hotel nights.
"We achieved a lot with the last stopover and can do a lot more this time around. The green shoots are already seeded, it's time to grow those and again create a stopover experience that is a race highlight and continues to spur the industry locally," said Al Sheikh.
"Much of the foundation work was done last time, so with that platform already in place, we need to build on this and be out there selling Abu Dhabi as soon as possible."
Abu Dhabi made major waves in the global sailing arena when it became the first Arabian destination to host the event in January 2012.
"The leg from Recife to Abu Dhabi will be one of the most interesting, diverse and difficult ever sailed in this race," added Knut Frostad, CEO, Volvo Ocean Race.
"We had had one of the most spectacular stopovers in the history of this event in Abu Dhabi in the last edition and I'm expecting no less next time."
The race will start on October 4 2014 with the first In-Port Race in Alicante, and finish with a final In-Port Race on June 27, 2015 in Gothenburg, the Swedish home of Volvo.
The total course distance will be 39,895 nautical miles - the equivalent to 45,910 miles or 73,886 kilometres - and will see the sailors tackle an extra Southern Ocean leg between Recife and Abu Dhabi in their brand new Volvo Ocean 65 boats.
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