By Andy Sambidge
Knut Frostad says emirate's Destination Village project will be a highlight of the global race
Abu Dhabi's Destination Village being built on the UAE capital's Corniche to host the Volvo Ocean Race will be a highlight of the whole event, race CEO Knut Frostad has said.
Reviewing a model of the village, Frostad said: "It's fantastic and the coolest thing is that it will leave a superb sailing legacy on land in the heart of the city."
He added: "It will be a magnificent stage for the city with Abu Dhabi's skyline in the background and is shaping up to be one of the most efficient stop-over locations."
Frostad also said the Chinese city of Sanya - also a host city for the fleet - is planning to mount its own activity pavilion within Abu Dhabi's 'Destination Village' to promote China's southernmost city.
The model of Abu Dhabi's Destination Village, which in reality will be the size of eight football pitches, will soon go on public display in the UAE capital.
The full size village, open to public from December 30 to January 14 2012, will be free-of-charge and is expected to welcome more than 100,000 visitors through its gates.
With dedicated team Wet and Dry areas, the village will be enhanced by a specialised pontoon design that allows fans to get up-close to the magnificent Volvo Open 70 racing yachts and their crews following their testing journey from Cape Town to the UAE capital.
A special area dedicated to Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (ADOR), the 11-strong race team which has made history as the first Arab entry in the race, will also be developed.
In a Volvo Ocean Race first, Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA) is building the team's shore base in the heart of the village.
The base will have see-through walls and the sail loft will be open to the public.
ADTA is also planning an entertainment programme for the two-week stop-over including concerts, a welcoming ceremony for the first arriving yacht, in-port races, pro-am races and top-class evening events taking place throughout the city.
Details of the programme will be released over the coming months.
ADTA is working with international tour operators, hotels, airlines and other stakeholders to develop compelling New Year-Volvo Ocean Race packages to the emirate.