Abu Dhabi’s ‘Destination Village’

Abu Dhabi’s ‘Destination Village’ being built on the UAE capital’s stunning Corniche to host the Volvo Ocean Race fleet on a two-week stop-over this coming New Year is set to be a highlight of the event, according to Knut Frostad, CEO of the ‘Everest of Sailing.’ Reviewing a model of the village, which went on show at the UK’s Cowes regatta earlier this month, 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. “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. From the Corniche, the sight of the race village with the boats lit up on the water at night will make for a very stimulating picture.” Frostad also revealed 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 30th December 2011 – 14th January 2012, will be free-of-charge and is expected to welcome more than 100,000 visitors through its gates. The highly interactive village, which will leverage Abu Dhabi’s rich maritime heritage, will be packed with activities and entertainment, including exhibitions, shows, simulators, hospitality, game zones, food & beverage outlets and merchandise outlets.

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 ADTA’s 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, ADTA is erecting 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. An interactive experience centre is being developed so that the public can fully engage with the team and the Volvo Ocean Race.

ADOR’s record-breaking training yacht will be displayed next to the sail loft – another stopover ‘first.’ It will be flanked by a scaffolding cradle so spectators can take a behind-the-scenes guided tour with an ADOR shore team member and see the inner-workings and the testing conditions of life onboard. ADTA is also planning a stunning 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.

The authority is progressing a full-scale stopover sailing programme in conjunction with local stakeholders, which will draw on the near 40 years experience of the Volvo Ocean Race. It will boast entry-level sailing academies for those looking to attempt their first tack and jibe all the way through to traditional dhow racing demonstrations. ADTA is working with international tour operators, hotels, airlines and other stakeholders to develop compelling New Year-Volvo Ocean Race packages to the emirate.

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