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Fri 5 Nov 2010 11:28 AM

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Aldar’s Ferrari World theme park opens in Abu Dhabi

The park, located on 2,500 hectare Yas Island, sits alongside Yas Marina Circuit

Aldar’s Ferrari World theme park opens in Abu Dhabi
Ferrari World is one of several attractions lined up by Abu Dhabi, to lure tourists with art, culture and entertainment.

Aldar Properties’ Ferrari World, the biggest indoor theme park in the world, opened for the public on Thursday in Abu Dhabi, the oil rich emirate which has earmarked $32 billion to transform into a regional tourism hub.

Ferrari World, located on the 2,500 hectare Yas Island, sits alongside the Yas Marina Circuit, which will host its second Abu Dhabi Grand Prix this month.

In an emailed response to questions, Claus Frimand, general manager of Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, said: “Our core target market will naturally be those living in and visiting the Gulf Cooperation Council, although international tourists are still a very important audience for us."

Abu Dhabi, with 1 million people, 8 percent of the world’s oil reserves and one of the largest wealth funds, is pumping money into developing tourist attractions and manufacturing to break away from its dependence on crude oil exports.

Ferrari World is one of several attractions lined up by Abu Dhabi, home to one of the world’s largest wealth funds, to lure tourists with art, culture and entertainment.

Abu Dhabi’s non-oil businesses will contribute 50 percent of its gross domestic product by 2015, adding about $167 billion a year, as stated in its 2030 plan, which involves spending $500 billion on development.

Abu Dhabi, the capital and largest member of the UAE, aims to build as many as 60 new hotels by 2015, for a target of 3 million tourists a year.

Last year, Abu Dhabi Airports Co inaugurated the $272 million Terminal 3, boosting the airport’s capacity to more than 12 million passengers a year.

The emirate faces regional competitors including its neighbor, Dubai, which is home to the world’s tallest building, an indoor ski slope and the biannual Dubai Shopping Festival.

Mubarak al Muhairi, who heads the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority said: “We watched the mistakes and successes of others and learned how to plan our own development.”