x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

Abu Dhabi tourism chiefs expect boost from Fifa U17 World Cup

With a packed calendar of games between teams from across the globe, supporters are expected to turn out in their droves to cheer on their home nations.

Tourism chiefs believe the Fifa Under 17 World Cup will be a massive advertisement for the UAE and will encourage an increase in visitors.

With a packed calendar of games between teams from across the globe, supporters are expected to turn out in their droves to cheer on their home nations.

“There are thousands of passionate supporters expected to follow several of the larger nations, while smaller nations also receive strong support because, more often than not, the U17 World Cup is the closest these countries ever come to qualifying for a major Fifa tournament,” said Mohammed Al Dhaheri, of the Tourism and Culture Authority in Abu Dhabi.

“Major sporting events bring a plethora of benefits to all corners of the tourism sector.

“Vitally, they also increase international awareness of the destination and encourage more global travellers to come and experience the emirate for themselves.”

Each team has a squad of 22 players, as well as coaching, medical, nutritional and ancillary staff. Mr Al Dhaheri said the authority had been working closely with tournament organisers to ensure that teams were shown the highest standards of hospitality.

“I do not believe Abu Dhabi is a world-class sporting venue – I know it is,” said Mr Al Dhaheri.

“The emirate is home to numerous major sporting events, including one of the world’s most glamorous Formula One races; the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship, which is now among the top three events on the European Tour in terms of ranking points; a Volvo Ocean Race stopover; the Mubadala World Tennis Championship, which is now arguably the world’s foremost exhibition tournament, as well as countless other world-class events in sports as diverse as equestrian, sailing, wakeboarding, ju-jitsu, wrestling, polo and countless others.”

ksinclair@thenational.ae