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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 September 2018

Abu Dhabi excels in global index - here's why

There are many reasons why Abu Dhabi is special

UAE flags will be hoisted high across the UAE on Flag Day on November 2.
UAE flags will be hoisted high across the UAE on Flag Day on November 2.

Once again, the capital has emerged as a front-runner in a global index. According to the Ipsos Top Cities 2017 survey, Abu Dhabi has been rated second only behind New York, as one of the most popular cities worldwide based on a survey of 18,000 people in 26 countries. The index rated 60 cities on what it was like to live, work or visit them. In the process, Abu Dhabi beat such global heavyweights as Paris, London and Sydney.

It's not hard to work out what makes the city so special, as almost any resident will tell you. Despite some concerns about rising living costs, Abu Dhabi is safe, clean, easy to get around, is blessed with well-tended public spaces, modern shopping malls, great schools, well-maintained roads, a growing range of leisure and cultural attractions. And then there is the city's stunning architecture, the quiet beauty of the Corniche and the serene majesty of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. The list, if not quite endless, is certainly extensive.

What’s more, according to a report published in The National in April, the city was named the safest on the planet by an online crime index, making safety one of its biggest selling points, especially for families. And the already low crime rate continues to decline year after year, from 120 incidents for every 100,000 in 2011 to just 84 per 100,000 in the past two years. Strict cyber and social conduct rules have successfully acted as a deterrent, which helps explain the city’s popularity among families.

The ever-broadening range of attractions and cultural assets also holds some of the key to its success. While the soon to open Louvre Abu Dhabi has been the subject of worldwide fascination for years, other developments, such as Yas Island's theme parks and F1 track, have helped further broaden our appeal. As Saif Ghobash, director-general of the city’s Tourism Culture Authority, noted, “the rise of Abu Dhabi in this global ranking is testament to the ongoing efforts to establish the Emirate as not only a tourist destination of distinction, but a location that international communities want to work, live and do business in."

But there are other intangibles that should be taken into consideration too. Abu Dhabi and the UAE at large are beacons of tolerance, where a diverse array of cultures and religions co-exist under laws of equality and accountability. As Mr Ghobash put it, global cities would do well to take note of the multilateral policies that have made this city a success story.

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