By Andy Sambidge
Abu Dhabi tourism chiefs announces expansion plans for Desert Islands.
Abu Dhabi tourism chiefs on Wednesday announced that it plans to add a total of 190 rooms to its hotel accommodation on Sir Baniyas island, part of the Desert Islands project off the coast of the UAE capital.
Master developer Tourism Development & Investment Company (TDIC) said its future plans include two new nature lodges to open in 2010.
The company added in a statement that two further lodges would be added in 2011, bringing a total of an additional 190 hotel rooms to Sir Baniyas.
TDIC will also be developing a conference centre, several environmentally friendly tourism initiatives, a new equestrian centre, and a youth education and outdoor camp as a non-profit adventure education programme.
Tourism Development & Investment Company (TDIC) made the announcements on the first anniversary of operations on Desert Islands.
The destination was launched as part of Abu Dhabi Government’s vision to boost employment, education and investment opportunities among UAE nationals in the Western Region.
To date, more than 25,000 guests from around the world have visited Sir Baniyas Island, out of which 17,000 stayed at Desert Islands Resort and Spa.
Desert Islands – an archipelago of eight natural islands consisting of Sir Baniyas Island, the historical Dalma Island and the previously unexplored Discovery Islands – is situated in the Arabian Gulf, approximately 8km from Abu Dhabi’s western coastline in the Al Gharbia region.
“We are proud of the great achievements of Desert Islands in just one year of operations,” said Lee Tabler, CEO of TDIC. “We have witnessed considerable progress in many aspects, particularly on an environmental, community development and tourism front.
"We have created a destination in harmony with the nature and wildlife indigenous to the region. Much more than just a tourism destination, Desert Islands aims to educate its visitors by ensuring they get a true taste of local culture and traditions that the Western Region has to offer."