By Andy Sambidge
UAE capital's Corniche receives world-recognised clean beach prize after meeting strict criteria
Abu Dhabi Corniche has become the first in the Gulf region to win the world-recognised Blue Flag award for beaches and marinas, officials announced on Sunday.
The Blue Flag is only awarded to beaches which meet all of stringent international standards including environmental management, water quality, public safety and services.
Abu Dhabi is the first Arab capital to win the certification which was awarded by the Emirates Wildlife Society - World Wildlife Fund (EWS-WWF) acting as the national coordinator in the UAE for the Blue Flag Programme.
Launched in 1987, the Blue Flag Programme is a voluntary eco-label acknowledged by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and is implemented in more than 3,550 beaches and marinas in around 40 countries worldwide.
The Blue Flag is granted for one season at a time and aims to encourage sustainable development at beaches and marinas through the compliance with its rigorous criteria.
Khalifa Al Mazroui, general manager of the Municipality of Abu Dhabi, said: "This global achievement highlights Abu Dhabi's track record of accomplishments towards promoting aesthetic and environmental values in alignment with the 2030 strategy and plans of the government of Abu Dhabi."
Abu Dhabi saw a 10 percent rise in hotel guests in the first quarter of this year, with increases also recorded for guest nights, occupancy levels, revenue and length of stay.
According to the latest figures from the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA), some 510,114 guests stayed in Abu Dhabi's hotels in the first three months of this year producing 1.56 million guest nights - up by a quarter on the same period in 2010.
ADTA has set a target of attracting a total of two million tourists to Abu Dhabi this year.
Congratulations ! Well done Abu Dhabi